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[bolger] Kind words, 'ruckus', and office mngt.

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  • Phil Bolger and Friends
    Thanks for the raging debate. - Ditto on various remarks on design-evolution. - No need to feel sorry, Peter Lenihan. - The mess though can easily be
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 16, 2000
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      Thanks for the 'raging' debate.
      - Ditto on various remarks on design-evolution.
      - No need to feel sorry, Peter Lenihan.
      - 'The mess' though can easily be avoided by immediately stating that a
      given design effort that looks so very much like a very distinctive
      preceding one, is indeed 'derivative' mentioning then and there design-
      and designer's name. The 'great minds think alike'-school of defensive
      reasoning of 'similar' outcome for similar wish-list does not plausibly
      hold all the way to bookshelf- placement - particularly if the 'clone'
      appears seemingly without any evolutionary context. If the relationship
      has to be coaxed out through personal contact, rather than posted up
      front - as on a web-page next to the drawing -, the underlying attitude
      gives pause for thought. This lack of foot-noting/ documenting of
      relevant sources while formulating a serious 'original' argument for
      public/peer-review will usually end your career as either a freshman or
      a tenured professor. This degree of proximity to one of the least
      mistakable designs ever must come with proper references - NOT
      necessarily deferences. A few unambiguos words is all that's usually
      needed. Risk of 'ruckus' can thus be reduced to minimal potential.

      Recently WOODENBOAT featured RED HEAD, a beautiful Canoe-yawl with
      clear roots in HERRESHOFF's ROZINANTE's 'gene-pool'.
      - If the name HERRESHOFF is implicitly and explicitly linked with RED
      HEAD without immediate and distinct statement of differences/derivation
      al character of RED HEAD, there is an immediate risk of 'coat-tailing'
      problems.
      - If the name HERRESHOFF and ROZINANTE are held in high esteem why
      consider 'improving' ROZINANTE? She either is a 'classic' design with
      pedigree and good feelings of 'truth' etc. associated with it, which is
      only 'true' if it is 100% ROZINANTE - no ifs, buts or high-tech
      improvements. Or the exercise is like putting radials and gas-shocks
      on a DUESENBERG, slimming the body down to contemporary weights,
      bumping up compression for 95 Octane use and then selling it as a
      DUESENBERG - only 'better' and "handling like a true classic car...".
      - Since the RED HEAD creators and builders - a beautiful boat - pointed
      out early that this is an updated ROZINATE, the basic formal homework
      has been done - with just a trace of 'coat-tailing' remaining. Why one
      could not live with the characteristic stengths and short-comings the
      'classic' has is another question.

      Our Design #225 ROSE is based, and has always been stated as such, on
      Admiralty plans. But, and this is a big but,
      - a major and very experienced builder of large wooden vessels could
      not build from these plans (!!);
      - the owner needed to enhance the hull with additional enclosed volume
      to get the bank to loan the funds with a worst-case scenario 'way-out'
      as a floating restaurant;
      - the original ROSE would likely not have passed COAST GUARD muster for
      stability etc.;
      - and once you are removed from exact trunnel-counting of the original,
      there was a good opportunity to make her bow faster, resulting in a
      distinct alteration of her hull-lines.
      Ergo, we call her contemporary representation, a 'more-or-less-look-ali
      ke' to the historic ROSE. The current owners have had a hard time to
      state this publicly, preferring the 'patina of originality' over
      clearly stating her more recent origin with all the amenities and
      safety for all aboard. Only recently did they publicly associate Phil
      Bolger with their vessel. Their long-standing policy of insisting upon
      'originality' has interesting consequences for a 'foundation'
      interested in representing itself to a sympathetic public. When She
      came to Gloucester MA a few years ago, we came out in SHIVAREE,
      requested permission to board, were invited as curious locals
      presumably, only to find NO ONE aboard who knew the name Phil Bolger...
      (Not another grievance please...) Only the Capt. was not aboard.

      - Finally, Chuck M's flattering remarks notwithstanding, we can't
      afford 'office-help', and thus are fully involved in every aspect of
      this small design firm. Since Phil made an offer in '93 Susanne could
      not refuse, and Susanne saved Phil's life in '94 (really!!), the bond
      has been strong, the work increasingly shared and everything private
      and business a 'two-some'. Clearly not everybody's cup of tea...
    • Samson family
      Dear Phil and Susanne, Many thanks for the well-thought-out summary. I m sure it helped dispel several misconceptions regarding the many-faceted question of
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 16, 2000
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        Dear Phil and Susanne,

        Many thanks for the well-thought-out summary. I'm sure it helped dispel
        several misconceptions regarding the many-faceted question of attribution.

        Interesting, too, about the question of Phil's re-design of "Rose". I
        pointed this out to a naval historian friend, who has actually sailed on
        'Rose'; drawing attention to the fact that the same guy designed my beloved
        June Bug and Chebacco. His look spoke louder than words! - ("fool",
        "liar", "pull the other one". . . come to mind).

        Best wishes,

        Bill
      • C. O'Donnell
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 16, 2000
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          <<
          Our Design #225 ROSE is based, and has always been stated as such, on
          Admiralty plans. But, and this is a big but,
          - a major and very experienced builder of large wooden vessels could
          not build from these plans (!!);
          >>

          I have seen a copy of the admiralty 'draught' for SULTANA - you can see
          Chapelle's rendering in his American Sailing Craft (I think it is, I'm
          sorry, I have a hard time remembering which is which with HIC) and I
          know from having seen a rough draft in the file of Chapelle drawings at
          Ches Bay Maritime Museum that he traced the original and 'worked with
          that' t arrive at the drawing in his book.

          The original drawing shows practically nothing of the vessel's
          construction, only the 'outer envelope' and dimensions of things like
          the keel timbers and the very basics. If there were ever actual offsets
          taken by the Royal Navy, the table has long since vanished. There's
          nothing on the ballasting, per se (which would have been stone) or on
          the spars, per se, which were either assumed to follow conventional
          rules or were on a second sheet which was not preserved. Prob the
          former.

          Apparently it was simply assumed that a shipbuilder would build to
          certain conventional standards given such a plan regrading frames,
          planking, and all the other bits and pieces that made up a ship of that
          day and age.

          Given that, it's not a terrible stretch to grant 'recreators' a certain
          amount of latitude to suit today's 'conventional standards' for USCG
          and bankers' druthers <chuckle>.
        • Belenky, Peter
          Phil Bolger and Friends wrote: ===================================================== Recently WOODENBOAT featured RED HEAD, a beautiful Canoe-yawl with clear
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 18, 2000
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            Phil Bolger and Friends wrote:
            =====================================================
            Recently WOODENBOAT featured RED HEAD, a beautiful Canoe-yawl with
            clear roots in HERRESHOFF's ROZINANTE's 'gene-pool'.
            - If the name HERRESHOFF is implicitly and explicitly linked with RED
            HEAD without immediate and distinct statement of differences/derivation
            al character of RED HEAD, there is an immediate risk of 'coat-tailing'
            problems.
            - If the name HERRESHOFF and ROZINANTE are held in high esteem why
            consider 'improving' ROZINANTE? She either is a 'classic' design with
            pedigree and good feelings of 'truth' etc. associated with it, which is
            only 'true' if it is 100% ROZINANTE - no ifs, buts or high-tech
            improvements. Or the exercise is like putting radials and gas-shocks
            on a DUESENBERG, slimming the body down to contemporary weights,
            bumping up compression for 95 Octane use and then selling it as a
            DUESENBERG - only 'better' and "handling like a true classic car...".
            - Since the RED HEAD creators and builders - a beautiful boat - pointed
            out early that this is an updated ROZINATE, the basic formal homework
            has been done - with just a trace of 'coat-tailing' remaining. Why one
            could not live with the characteristic stengths and short-comings the
            'classic' has is another question.
            ===================================================
            This rigid approach to "classic" designs causes me some concern, since it
            easily exceeds the intentions of the designer. LFH created at least three
            versions of Rozinante. The first, sketched in "The Compleat Cruiser," had
            short gaffs, which LFH extolled. The second, the lines of which are
            published in "Sensible Cruising Designs," also originally had short gaffs,
            but it had a motor, a short keel and spade rudder, and diagonal planking
            over web frames and stringers. The third, "classic" version, published in
            "Rudder" and also in "SCD," was more like the original, but it had a Marconi
            rig and deeper keel. Clearly, LFH modified his ideas over time and adapted
            his designs to suit different clients. The fact that he is no longer
            present to carry out further modifications does not impose a moral
            obligation on successive designers and owners to adhere to existing designs
            without change or else to create new designs that are distinctively unlike
            Rozinante. There is a legitimate place for close but not exact copies, such
            as Joel White's Haven 12 1/2 a beamier K/CB version of the Herreshoff 12
            1/2.
            Phil Bolger and Friends are right to emphasize the obligation to give credit
            where credit is due. It is also true that unannounced modification of a
            designer's work by less skilled hands can damage his reputation for
            aesthetic, engineering, or nautical skill. Nor should a modern development
            of a design be passed off as a "museum-grade" re-creation. Nevertheless,
            changes in economics, technology, and purpose offer opportunities for
            creative adaptations of classic designs that might have been seen as
            improvements by their originators and that we can respect as sincere acts of
            homage.
            -Peter Belenky
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