Bolger Boats -- On Parade
- Hi All,
Here where the Willamette River meets the Might Columbia, there is a
Wooden Boat Show in progress. It is put on each year by a local group,
RiversWest. They do a lovely job. I attended yesterday - and saw a
number of very nice boats. There was a Monk cabin cruiser, running on
biodiesel. I drooled over the gorgeous, vintage 47' commuter boat from
the 30's (an Elco? I forget). A restored 26' Columbia River Gillnetter
sat happily at the far end of the dock. Garwood was represented by a
pristine mahogany runabout. There was a sweet, restored trawler - just
returned from 3+ months in Alaska. Last year it was there - in Very
Rough form. An impressive amount of very fine work was done in the
next 8 months. And there were lots & lots of very nifty smaller boats,
canoes, kayaks, etc. It was a lovely day.
There were several Bolger boats. A Nymph - built by a local youth
program - was being auctioned off. A locally build Light Schooner was
on the hard. And in the water was perhaps my favorite boat of the day.
I met the builder - Richard Stover, of RiversWest - who recently
completed his Jochem's Schooner. Very interesting. Richard did a very
nice job of building, and he built it almost exactly to plan. For
those of you who aren't familiar with this gaff schooner - check it out.
I don't know a ton about Bolger designs, but I've come to have a great
respect for his work. It seems to be very well informed by boating &
design history without being constrained by useless convention. He
seems to be willing to try new approaches and combinations of
features. Groundbreaking work is not always successful, but it seems
like a remarkable number of his are. It's nice that he continues to
refine the ones that merit development. I've always had mixed feelings
about the aesthetics, but I had an insight this weekend.
I had seen the Jochem's Schooner drawings several times. IIRC, it was
the subject of a Bolger article in Messing About In Boats. The design
never caught my eye nor tickled my fancy. On paper, it seemed odd, and
a little awkward. However... Seeing it in person left quite a
different impression. I loved it. The well-considered rationality was
obvious. The look was unconventional but quite attractive. I'm
beginning to suspect that Bolger's boats - even more than most - must
be observed in person in order to be appreciated. What do y'all think?
Has anyone else had the same surmise?
"You are what you do, not what you say you'll do" - Carl Jung