Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Phil Bolger

When I first heard the news, I needed a bit of time to process both my feeling about Phil's passing and the fact that I'd most likely never see a new design from Phil. I've actually lost track of how many boats I've built that Phil Bolger designed. We go back a fair bit and numerous smaller designs I've built and our "Loose Moose" and "Loose Moose 2" were designed by Phil as well. When a man designs two of the boats/homes you built yourself there is something of a connection...

Unlike a lot of NA's Phil knew how to design a boat that was simple to put together (and I'm not talking about just his "Box" boats either as the more complex boats all went together like a dream) and for want of a better phrase his designs always made sense... If he drew something in, it was needful.

Over the years I have been pretty vocal in the Bolger builder groups on the fact that madness lies trying to make one of Phil's designs better as any "improvement" would cause untold problems elsewhere in the design as both his simple and more complex designs were in such a state of balance that changing any one thing would throw it all off, much like one of those domino chain reactions!

Of course Phil, had his share of foibles... If there was ever an Olympic event for selective amnesia Phil would have owned the Gold medal! If he did not want to do something on a design it simply went into the memory hole and as much as you may have brought it up back in the memory hole it would go!

One of the best parts of having Bolger design a boat for you was the ongoing correspondence... Notes on everything from the rig and how you wanted your galley to notes on writing fiction and questions about film making. Fun stuff... Really brillant people are a lot of fun to get letters from!

Fact is one of the reasons we waited so long to begin the next Loose Moose was hoping that the stars would align and Phil's epic work load would allow a window for him to design it... Sadly that did not happen. It's too bad as he was the one guy who would have understood exactly what I want, saw the challenge and would have taken it to a whole higher level of performance and livability. He was that kind of guy.

So it goes...