Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Bolger boats under construction at once

Here are a couple of photos showing three Phil Bolger-designed boats under construction in our old shed, all at the one time (there were three other boats being built as well!) To paraphrase somebody else, "I can remember doing it, but I can't remember how!"

The boats in the photo are two of Phil's Hope design (see last posting) and a Harbinger. Phil Bolger has often been associated with what some people call "Bolger Boxes". Well, the boxes are works of art in their own right, and demonstrate a rare understanding of hydrodynamics, allied with the application of common sense - but none of the three boats shown here could be called boxy!

Two examples of Hope (foreground and upper-left) and one example of Harbinger (upper right)
Here you can see the wooden pattern I made to allow for the casting of a bronze "Y" shaped propeller strut.
The shapely bow of one of the Hope designs in slings. The cuddy-cabin design was mine, as was the clinker construction plan - but Phil Bolger was consulted in writing and approved of the alterations.


  1. Love the Bolger designs, I think they are rarely receive the attention they deserve. I believe the Harbinger was the forerunner to another of his designs, the Chebacco.

    The Chebacco was available in three variants; a cold molded version, a lapstrake version, and a stitch and glue version. All are very different looking and have a unique personality, although I have read that they sail very similarly. I think I like the stitch and glue version best, something about the all those angles and its trademark "boxiness".

    thanks again


  2. Graham, I agree with you entirely. Phil Bolger seems to be best known for the less than 10% of his work which could be bundled under the heading, "Box Boats". The thing is that there was a need for such designs, and very few people could have answered the need with boats which not only work and are easy to build, but which in some cases work BETTER than the more traditional designs. Phil was able to do it.

    However, it is in his traditional work that the true genuis shows through, because the lateral thinking was still there, and yet the designs have a purity of line which few others could consistently achieve. For breath-taking beauty, have a look at "Monhegan" which was published in his book, "Small Boats" back in 1973. She is an 18' x 7' x 3' 6" Friendship Sloop of unusual beauty.

    Yes, "Harbinger" was the boat from which the original, cold-molded "Chebacco" was developed. Like you, I find that the angular taped-seam "Chebacco 20" is the most sensible and appealing of the series - conter-intuitive, but that is how I feel.