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March 15, 1998 Issue

April 1, 1998 Issue

March 15, 1998 Issue

Bolger On Design

Orquidea was designed in 1963 for a Columbian yachtsman to use around the Balearic Islands and possibly to sail up to the Riviera ports occasionally. She was primarily for daysailing, but had to be capable of dealing with bad weather if caught out. The client had in mind a modified 6 meter boat, but he enthusiastically adopted our suggestion that a 30 square meter would make a better starting point. The outcome was about the dimensions of a 30 square, but slightly bulkier and deeper-bodied to have better overnight accommodations, and a little higher-sided to be drier in a steep sea.

Since she would sometimes be sailed single-handed, she was given a self-trimming jib and a luff spar on the jib to support the mast without having to handle running backstays. We suggested a rig with the luff spar stepped through the deck, no standing rigging at all, and both sails rolling around the (revolving) masts. It would have looked about the same to a casual glance, but was a lot quicker to get under way and put to bed, and to reef and unreef, but the idea was too far out for the owner. I think he did not believe that the mast would stand up without shrouds, though we showed him photos of Swedish Ljungstrom-rigged boats on which the rig was based. He did not object to flouting "The Rule" by making the spinnaker pole longer than the base of the tore triangle.

Cost was apparently no object. She was to be finished and detailed to a high yacht standard to cut a dash at Monaco or St. Tropez as well as in her home port of Palma. Even then we would have preferred to design a simplified model, like Ray Hunt's 510 design which would have had the same, or better, performance for half the money. For most people it would probably have been just as impressive to look at, though the sweet underbody of a boat like Orquidea certainly is an art object of a high order, if you ever get to see it.

It would now be possible to design a boat that did not need such deep water to sail, while being as good-looking, at least equally seaworthy, and not much, if any, slower or less weatherly. The conventional wisdom is that Mediterranean coasts are all steep to, so deep draft is harmless, but that is simply not true (there are few, if any, places in the world where it is). The cruising backyard of Orquidea's builder faced a huge area of shallow flats, completely empty while the boats all crowded together in a dredged basin. At any rate, the client did not get her built after all.

As a matter of curiosity, this design is one of a few instances in the Bolger body of work where a "draftsman" took some of the drafting load. The drawing of the sail plan and the inboard arrangement plan were traced and detailed by Peter Collette, who would later pursue design on his own in England.

New Museum Coming Up

A long-time dream of the North Carolina Maritime Museum became a reality on Thursday, July 31, 1997. On that date, the Friends of the Museum signed an agreement to purchase 36 acres of waterfront on Beaufort's Gallants Channel.

Purchase price for the Gallants Channel property, which lies just north of the Beaufort drawbridge, was $3.2 million. Private donations, grants, and state moneys funded all but $1.7 million. Buoyed by statewide support, the Friends of the Museum, in a bold move, agreed to take responsibility for the remaining debt.

A ten-year development plan for this property is in place that will make the North Carolina Maritime Museum one of the largest maritime complexes in the Southeast. Included in that plan are proposals for a conservation laboratory, headquarters for the Junior Sailing Program, a small craft storage and exhibition shop, a foundry, windmill, ship chandlery, and sail loft.

The property adjoins the Newport River estuary, which is important as a wildlife habitat and nursery area for fish and shellfish. The site's potential for environmental education is significant in itself, and it also provides public access to a variety of coastal habitats. Opportunities to observe rare and endangered species would be available. Among the wildlife sighted regularly in this area are bottlenose dolphin, bald eagle, brown pelican, peregrine falcon, numerous shorebirds, and wintering waterfowl.

The additional acreage will provide much needed parking space and open areas for demonstrations and exhibitions. The 1,852 feet of deepwater frontage will afford dockage for visiting vessels, tall ships, and the museum's small craft collection. Docks will serve as a departure area for field programs and will be used for dockside oceanography programs.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is an education facility with a mission to research, teach, and exhibit the maritime history and coastal natural history of the State of North Carolina. Expansion of the North Carolina Maritime Museum complex is an historic step for the museum, for Carteret County, and for eastern North Carolina, which has a tremendously rich maritime heritage. During the next ten years, the impact of the expanded museum complex on the economy will be significant.

In the year 2000, the North Carolina Maritime Museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The museum will forever be indebted to the Friends of the Museum for their vision in providing the museum with the means to accomplish its mission to preserve North Carolina's maritime heritage.

North Carolina Maritime Museum, 315 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516, 919-728-7317.

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April 1, 1998 Issue

Bolger On Design

The wish list was for an easily trailerable low powered outboard cruiser that would he fit and pleasant to cruise in northern water (the Gulf of St. Lawrence was mentioned) in late fall and early spring.

We proposed a glass cabin launch (this was the genesis of such craft that we developed later, Champlain and others). The client decided that he did not need such comfortable accommodations and preferred something more modern-looking. This design was the result. It was supposed to cruise at 7 or 8 mph with a 15 hp motor, a two-stroke at the time, it would certainly be a four-stroke now. The hull shape was optimized for such speed, much faster than a sailboat ordinarily makes, but well below full planing. The streamlined effect was justified as minimizing resistance in strong, cold winds. We would do the control "blister" differently now, hoods like the one shown tend to have a fogging problem from the trapped breathing air.

Bolger Design

It amuses us to look at this design as a machine age canoe yawl. Most of the 19th century Humber Yawls had smaller and less comfortable cuddles on similar overall dimensions. They made less than half the speed the l5 hp motor would produce and, in constant money, their sailing rigs cost more than this motor. With a four-stroke operated at its most efficient torque, fuel cost might not be much more than depreciation on sails and running rigging.

For open water use, this boat compares favorably with a low sided, half-decked canoe yawl. Albert Strange's close call on the Blakeney Bar on the North Sea (a nasty place indeed, we've been there) would have been less strenuous and probably less scary in this boat. As for the romance, there would at any rate be more leisure to look at the scenery and wildlife than in the sailing cruiser. Anywhere the sailing boat can go this one can go beyond, fuel supply permitting, admittedly.

Our feeling about this design is that it's unnecessarily austere. Higher freeboard to allow more comfortable sitting would not cost much (the idea, as designed, was that the offwatch crewman would recline on the port side, feet up and facing forward to see out diagonally through the side windows). We've sketched her with a higher house for more all-around comfort and a better view. If this house was built reasonably watertight, it would also give her more reserve buoyancy and stability. The layout has been left about as it was, except that the added headroom allowed bringing the portable toilet inside, certainly an amenity!

Construction was to have been relatively heavy, 3/4" glued strip planking on the bottom to stand skim sea ice and rough beaching. The rest of her was sheet plywood for reasonably economical one-off construction in a small shop. Nowadays, client's prejudice allowing, we could make it still cheaper and quicker to build with little or no performance or behavioral sacrifice.

Small Boat Safety

By Tom Shaw, U.S.C.G.A

Did You Ever Take a Course?

As a retired clergyman, I am all too familiar with "preaching to the converted," and I suspect that writing to urge readers of MAIB, most of whom are experienced boaters, about boating safety courses is exactly that.

Nevertheless, the statistics are impressive. Eighty percent (four out of every five) of recreational boating accidents involve boaters who have had no formal boating instruction. Surely that conveys a message.

When I joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary some eight years ago, the first requirement was that I take the Boating Skills and Seamanship Course. I was, initially, pretty casual about this as I have been messing about in boats since my preteens. The first discovery was how much the course covered that I had forgotten over the years. The second discovery was how much the course covered that I had never known!

The moral is clear.

The third (and happy) discovery was that my boat insurance was reduced because I could show a certificate that I had passed "BS & S." Ten percent a year over nine years made that series of classes a profitable investment above and beyond the knowledge and fellowship I shared.

Granted all boating courses, those offered by the Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron, and commercial boating/sailing schools, will cover some basic information that all of us who have messed about for a time already know, the fact remains that things have changed over the years and, while we may hate to admit it, our information may be out of date.

If you have recently passed the Coast Guard's Captain's License exam, forget this but otherwise, I urge you all to take either the Auxiliary or the Power Squadron's boating skills course.

I promise you it will be time well spent.

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