Recently, I have had an interesting e-mail conversation with Ross Lillistone, about Phil Bolger's Black Skimmer.He bought the plans many years ago, and is now contemplating building one, with his son and a friend. So I dug up this old article from "Nautical Quarterly". It's part of a major article on Phil, but that's the Black Skimmer I built.It's issue # 21, Spring 1983. Those photos are on pages 68-9.

Bolger Down Under
Here's a link to Australian boat builder and designer Ross Lillistone's blog. In this post he describes building 2 of Phil's 16' lobsterboat design called Hope. Some nice comments about Phil, also.

A visit with Susanne
Phil and Susanne at my shop,3/14/09
Yesterday I made a trip to Gloucester to Visit with Susanne Altenburger, Phil's wife. We had a great visit- I got to see the SAC-PAS Navy project, which is a very interesting concept, and we talked about a great variety of things including using more local New England wood for boats. She brought up the idea of making marine plywood in New England from local species such as white pine... A very novel idea.

Phil and Susanne at my shop,3/14/09

Bolger's 18' Lapstrake Lobster Skiff
Here's the text , and some drawings of the 18' Lobster Skiff. Thanks to Mike O'Brien for permission to publish these comments. Lines are on the Designs page.

Spur II
Here is the text Phil wrote about Spur II, from "Boats With An Open Mind". Thanks, Phil and Susanne, for permission to use this.Drawings are in the Design section. Also below is the article Mike O'Brien wrote about Spur II in Boat Design Quarterly, #11. Thanks to Mike for permission to post this article, BDQ is a great little quarterly magazine on boat design.

RIP, Dynamite
Here's a photo of Dynamite Payson, in his shop, October 2007

Sad News
It is my sad duty to report that Harold "Dynamite" Payson died yesterday. He was a great friend of Phil's, and did a great job of promoting his boats, developing and selling plans. He built a lot of prototypes for Phil, refining designs and coming up with new ideas for boats. I only met him once, he was a true gentleman.

Dakini under sail
Dakini is a combination sharpie dory, or "Shory", designed by Phil Bolger for Mait Edey. I guess Mait had a lot of input on this design, there is some thrashing around on this design over on the Yahoo /Bolger discussion group. I built it in 1985, fir marine ply and South American Mahogany framing, solid Sitka Spruce spars. There was about 1,000 pounds of lead ballast inside, cast in bars and bolted in place. The bottom was double 1/2" fir marine ply- Mait thought it was pretty rugged, as he came down on pointed rocks and other assorted underwater debris several times, with no real damage.Displacement was about 6,000 pounds, as I recall. The boat has twin centerboards, and outboard power. The cabin was simple but roomy. The rig is a gaff yawl, the mizzen is sprit rigged. Mait sailed the boat for about 20 years, then sold it due to health problems. It is again for sale by the second owner.

LOA- 34'6"

Beam - 7'11"

Draft - 1'2"

Sail area - 384 Sq. Ft.


Dakini under sail

Looking forward

Looking aft

Ticket to Heaven
The Gloucester Gull, aka the Light Dory, was Phil's ticket. Hundreds, if not thousands of this design have been built. I have built only 5. This is the last one I built, in 2005. It was built for a beach club in Rhode Island. Seems they have a dory racing series down there, with the only rules being no foot braces, and tholepins. they wanted a light dory, so I built them this stitch and glue version. It weighed 90 lbs. finished, and won the series the next year.

Check out the lines on the Design Page.


Black Skimmer
Well, I guess I will just try to keep going with some more Bolger stuff. Here's the first photo of the Black Skimmer I built in 1978 or so. I'll try to post a few more, plus the lines, soon.

Update - lines have been been posted on the Design page


Going the other way