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Boats with an Open Mind: Seventy-Five Unconventional Designs and Concepts Paperback – September 22, 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Boat lovers who are used to designers who conceive the same boat over and over, camouflaged with a face-lifting here and there, will be amazed at Phil Bolger's diversity--Here are novel and wonderful boats.''

Bolger has a way of seducing even the lay reader into thinking about and beginning to understand boat design.''

. . .entertains, informs, and makes you think about boats in ways you probably thought weren't possible--Boats with an Open Mind is wonderful, its author priceless.

From the Back Cover

Here are 75 novel and wonderful boats--some strange, some beautiful, all of them paragons of Philip Bolger's form-follows-function design philosophy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (September 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070063761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070063761
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. ONEILL on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Congratulations! You have arrived! If you dream practical dreams--if you dream of building a boat--and if you haven't discovered Bolger, prepare yourself, for you are about to be set free! Bolger THINKS. He thinks of what you need in your boat, and he designs them in. The details are all there. He considers engines, ground tackle, comforts. He considers place. Where is the boat going to be used. Where will it be stored. Will it need to fit under low bridges. He considers limitations, specifically those of the home builder. No fancy custom bronze castings here; his fittings you can build from stock items, and they work. Bolger is one of a kind. He is the Master. His boats can be beautiful (Nord Koster) practical (Diablo) extraordinary (Steel Singlehander) and all of the above (Sainte Valery). This book is aptly titled; it WILL open your mind. Welcome fellow boat dreamer and builder, to the world of Phil Bolger & Friends. You're gonna like it here.....
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Format: Paperback
Phil Bolger has a direct approach to designing boats which is reflected in an easy writing style.

Radical designers have often called for advanced techniques of construction, expensive materials and sophisticated tools, with exotic results - but Bolger's boats are for anyone with a yen to be afloat, and so is this book.

Even if I never build a Bolger boat (unlikely, since three sheets of plywood are now on order) I will have gained an extra appreciation of boats and boating that will stand me in good stead.

His writing skill is to make clear what is needful without bombast or technical obscurity. Despite this, there is a technical daring in some of his simplest designs that can be breathtaking. At times he waxes poetic, within the context of how one might use and enjoy his designs. Check out "Birdwatcher" and see if you don't agree.
There is also a refreshing frankness about the ones that didn't pan out - not all designers will admit to errors, but Bolger is happy to expose his learning processes for our benefit. This is an unusual book, and I recommend it.
Ben Mullet
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Format: Paperback
Phil Bolger is the only boat architect I know who readily admits mistakes. This makes this book the best book about boats one can read. Only mistakes lead to experience. It is incredible how much you learn and how it changes ones opinion about how a boat should look. Especially those designing themselves will greatly appreciate all the ideas, ranging from novel to strange. This is one of the few books on boat-design which I have actually read from start till end.
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Format: Paperback
Open mind - you bet. A broad range of boats here. I wanted to build a light displacement, shallow draft, plus open ocean cruiser, 6 out of eight builders said it can't be done. Bolger gives you three designes from 30 to 90 feet, timber or steel plus a lot more smaller boats. I took the plans, which I enlarger on a photocopier from A5 book page, to A3, to the Tasmanian Wooden Boat festival in Tasmania Australia and had a wonderful response fron two 70+ year old ship wrights who thought the designs were very usefull, practical and seaworthy. I guess the best review you could get is a "build it" from a veteran ship wright who understands everone wants something unique or has a special need in their design. This book will give you ideas and solutions, if not exact plans, to overcome many unique problems you may have. I have a shallow bay to tie up in but I wanted to let the boat sit on the beach at low tide and I also have a thirty foot bridge between me and the sea and I want to sail to New Zealand, a tough design brief. I got all the answeres from Boats with an open mind. Only problem with this book is, "is your mind open enough?" If not, go buy a white plastic boat and miss the charm of a personal, warm, wonderful boat that meets your every requirement.
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Format: Paperback
If you have even caught a hint of what Bolger does and enjoy reading about boats then you will love this book. I have never sailed on a Bolger boat, never seen a Bolger boat nor even spoken to a Bolger boat owner, but one day, when I see a Bolger boat (which may wind up being my own boat, a pirogue which I should build this coming winter and for which I have plans) I know that there will be a weird thrill -- square boats work and they look good.
He is a clear writer and there are some fun and gentle stories. I think what makes it so darn good is that each boat is not too far from reach, and if it is then you just know you could throw the boat on the next page together over a few weekends. Or, you know, a few months at the most.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to agree with the reviewers that find Bolger refreshing and candid as well as knowledgeable to a fault. This book is eminently readable and rereadable. There is no doubt that there are many thought provoking ideas here. There are some handsome boats here as well but frankly many are aesthetic eyesores. I have an interest in a build-it-yourself cruising sailboat in the 25-35' range and the most attractive boats here from a practical usable/buildable sense are really pretty hard to look at. On one hand Bolger complains about concessions to style suggesting that to make them you admit that you are ashamed of the boat - on another page he suggests painting a mural on the slab side of one of the larger sharpies - a concession to their huge billboard bland shape. This book is practically an icon of good sense/ideas but as a guide to a boat building/aquisition it leaves one a bit frustrated. As for the plans they are of course hard to read - like every designer the author is entitled to sell his designs (not that that is the point of the book). A failing is that the book does not give any guidance to where plans could be purchased. Even it they don't please this readers eye the bigger sharpies have to be considered!
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