RIP World Renowned Boat Designer, Phil Bolger

Tuesday, 26 May 2009
HMS Rose - Designed by Phil Bolger

The body of renowned boat designer, Phil Bolger was found on last Sunday morning by his wife and business partner, Susanne Altenburger. Bolger had taken his own life. He was 81 years old.

Phil Bolger was a prolific designer working on boats of all sizes including giant schooners, kayaks and the worlds smallest dingy, "The Folding Schooner". In total, he designed 680 boats including the HMS Rose which was the boat used in the 2003 movie, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World".

"He was perhaps the best and most diverse small boat designer in the world," said his friend, the Gloucester, MA resident and naval historian Joe Garland.

Up until his death, Bloger was actively involved in the boat designing-business. He recently participated at the annual meeting in Gloucester of the U.S. Commercial Fishermen's Association where he gave a talk about his latest design innovation, a light, narrow, shallow draft, fuel-efficient commercial fishing boat.

Along with being a prolific designer he was a writer with several books and countless magazine articles to his name. One of his more popular books is called, "Boats with an Open Mind: 75 Unconventional Designs and Concepts".

Bolger Kayak Design - Photo Credit: BruceHallman (Flickr)Along with sailboats, Bolger also designed several kayaks and sailing canoes. You can view a huge collection of design photos here.

One of the key motivating factors in his life was to make boating more available to them masses. He often said, "The best boats are either small enough to carry home or big enough to live on."

More info:

Kayak photo credit: BruceHallman

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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