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Old 26-05-2009, 13:32   #1

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Phil Bolger R.I.P.

Sunday morning Phil Bolger shot himself in the head. Here is the full story I lifted from the Trailer Sailer site. This bothers and sadddens me a lot.
I can't say Phil and I were friends but we had chatted numerous times over the years and I always liked him and I loved his design work.

* * *

"The saddest of news

"In the early morning hours of Sunday May 24th 2009 Philip Cunningham Bolger of 66 Atlantic Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts took his own life, out of his own free will, shooting himself in the head with his Colt 45. I awoke later to his absence and found his body on our property out of public sight. The matter is under routine investigate by the Massachusetts State Police and Gloucester Police Department."

* * *

[Edit: The above is the opening of a long post composed and posted to the "bolger: Phil Bolger's Boats" group at Yahoo Groups by Susanne Altenburger.]

To read the statement in its entirety, go to:

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Old 26-05-2009, 14:23   #2
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From yesterday's Gloucester Daily Times:

"Phil Bolger was a renowned and prolific boat designer, author and eccentric ó with a playful creative streak and a penchant to make boating easy."

To read the entire article, go to:

Boat creator 'leaves on own terms' -, Gloucester, MA


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Old 26-05-2009, 14:25   #3
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The world needs more Open Minds like his. RIP.

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Old 26-05-2009, 14:46   #4
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There was something in his wife's eulogy which I didn't like. But the guy was worried about reduced productivity at work -- at 81. That's good stuff. Why shouldn't he have chosen his own moment of death. RIP.
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Old 26-05-2009, 14:48   #5
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Well, I found the letter to be slightly cold and odd, but I loved Bolger's work. The man had brains and apparently balls. I believe he would have liked that description. I hope he's off gunkholing somewhere...

Great minds, Dockhead...

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Old 26-05-2009, 16:32   #6
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Of what I know of his designs I like allot - reflecting the simple pleasures of messing about in boats. I'm sad to read of his passing.
We can't change the wind - but we can adjust our sails.
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Old 26-05-2009, 16:34   #7
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He lead a full life, doing what he wanted to do. And did it very well. I remember looking at some of his designs when I first got into sailing back in the 70s.

I'm glad he took matters into his own hands, rather than leave it to others. Too many times people end up warehoused with an ever decreasing quality of life. He did what I intend to do when my time comes. Enjoy life, and then take a walk in the woods. I'd rather end up worm food than living as a cabbage.

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Old 26-05-2009, 19:49   #8
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He showed the courage and conviction to stand by his own ideas to the end
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Old 26-05-2009, 21:54   #9
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Wow. I'm frankly stunned.

Then I'm saddened, and then, remembering his contributions and anecdotes about the man, I'm comforted. The drawing I remember best is his plans for Wenda. I only have a few of his books, a few plans...

A line of his has always stuck with me though: that the Gloucester Light Dory would be enough to get him into heaven.

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog anchored in a coral atoll.
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Old 27-05-2009, 05:30   #10
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Practical and confident in his designs & his exit.
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Old 27-05-2009, 07:26   #11
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"The best boats are either small enough to carry home or big enough to live on." ~ Phillip C. Bolger

Phil Bolger was a prolific designer of boats, often with somewhat slab sides and unconventional looks.

Phil’s personal life and body of work were an expression of independence from deeply-entrenched conventions. He designed that way, lived that way, and decided to leave us that way.

Joseph Gribbens’ 1983 Duckworks article caught the essence & spirit of Bolger:
Phillip C. Bolger

Bolger Boats on the Web - a tiny fraction of Bolger's 700-odd designs:
Bolger Boats on the Net

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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