Great reminders of several things. I had forgotten that Featherwind was
Bolger's attempt to correct what he "ought to have done" when he
designed that dory with the steel centerboard for which he quoted the
customers... "were all ignorant of sailing dories except as a myth". I
think he carried that opinion about sailing dories to his grave.
About Surf, as you know he wrote:
"Having remarked that the cost of the Elegant Punt's rig seemed to be
out of proportion to the cost of the hull, I suggested to Harold
(Payson) that he add (to his plans catalog) an equally simple, but
stretched hull for the same spars and sail, since he had a set on hand.
In effect he just took the punt and stuck 4 feet of taper on each end,
plus the affectation of the ornamental false head for the fun of it.
Result: an improvement in looks and capability out of all proportion to
the added cost and weight; also space for some really effective positive
buoyancy, so much that it ought to be an easy business to get her dried
out after a misadventure."
I think Bolger was also positively influenced by the test review it got
by National Fisherman as noted below. Particularly since it out-sailed
the Thomaston Galley - a favorite design of both Bolger and Payson, and
a much more complicated build.
If you expand the plan sheet, it is easy to see the influence of
Bolger's work on Jim Michalak's with one major exception for the most
part. Bolger thought his customers should learn to row and Jim felt his
weren't really going to - and were probably beginner sailors as well -
so a small OB was the safest thing for them for the most part, from his
point of view. Except for ones designed for rowing or paddling in the
first place of course.
The other difference was the rudder and leeboard design. Surf probably
intended to be launched and boarded from off a dock and where Jim lived
it was mostly aluminum fishing skiff launch sites with no docks. Plus
Jim's foils were a bit more complicated to build, not quite in keeping
with the "instant boat" label given to these Bolger offerings.
Which brings us back to Woobo. It is simply a stretched version of
Piccup Pram (Jim's 1st design) with 2 feet added on each end. This is an
interesting write-up as well. I think Bolger entered that contest and
his didn't win either. And his comment was much the same as what Jim
"The usual result is that the winning boat is the slickest looking boat
but not the best functionally. The winning design in this case was quite
good but I'd still bet that Woobo is superior functionally in every
Woobo was intended to be a good performer, both sailing and rowing with
the option of adding an OB. But with the usual caveat - once you add an
OB you need extra buoyancy in the stern and a good chance the transom
corners will drag when sailing and the hull heels. So Jim chopped of the
corners. And you need and tiller extension as well if motoring.
And on and on...there's no end to it!
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