Phil Bolger's Advanced Sharpies
knows a number built or part-built of the ultimate Bolger Boxes,
the Advanced Sharpies. Guaranteed to raise a storm of controversy
where'ere they sail...the boats are not beautiful, but remarkably handsome
in a pugnacious way.
19'6" Trailerable camp cruiser
AS29 29'6" Ocean-capable shoal draft real cruiser (1 still for sale in Australia--at least, we haven't been told it's sold yet....)
AS39 37'8" Permanent live-aboard, ocean-crossing cruiser
Ancestors! Jessie Cooper sails the web.
AS19 - Bay and lake leeboard camp cruiser.
19'6" x 5'6" Trailerable leeboarder.
8" draft with boards up. Phil Bolger was happy technically with this
design, but is reputed to have found it "uninspiring". In photos
and on the water, it looks better than one might have thought from the
plans. in fact all of the AS boxes have real style in the wood, pugnacious
and very individual.
|EW Williams' AS19, subsequently sailed by Mike Stockstill. (photo (c) EW Williams). The Williams website is still up; follow this link for construction photos.|
|Sailing photos and words of Mike Stockstill's sailing exploits. Also, links to additional photos|
AS29 - Coastal cruising with ocean capability
29'6" x 7'10" Real cruising
on 1'1" draught. Make no mistake, this is out of the messing-about
class. A big boat with lots of room, more than most 30-footer supposed
liveaboards. A major commitment to build one: the boats are designed
for home building, the individual building steps are straightforward, but
the boat is intricate. Ocean capability, but all existing
boats are used as coastal cruisers, and Cape Horn in an AS29 is simply
|Tim & Deborah Fatchen's Lady Kate, ex Geoff Billings and Duck Flat Wooden Boats. Murray Lakes, South Australia. Mobile holiday house. She'd be sailing more if we didn't have to work.... ACTUALLY REALLY SAILING SHOTS, pub crawls, cruising vignettes, or magnums at the local winery...|
|Dan Farmer's boat Woodwind, the prototype. Sailed on the Chesapeake. Sold to Paul Newton by Dan and his wife after an extended cruise to Florida, and now in North Carolina awaiting refitting.|
Nash's boat Leyenda, the second AS29: a live-aboard functioning
as a mobile small boat building workshop. NSW lakes area, Australia.
Matt's boat (the grapevine tells us) is FOR SALE at $45K Australian ($US 23K approx). He's building a Micro Navigator. See his website
|One from Florida about which we know almost nothing, except came up for sale for health reasons: lived aboard and cruised for three years. More photos on their web page.|
|Dave Zeiger's and Anke Wagner's Luna launching into the cold, cold Alaskan waters at Juneau. AS29-derived with major cabin modification, intended as a permanent liveaboard.|
||Leo Foltz & Iris Ousen-Foltz's "Twilight". Building on the banks of the Rhine, Germany. Some modifications to rig and other aspects in this boat.|
|Herb Taylor's "Alisa" (now sold) with Shoebox tender in the foreground - Russell, Ontario (Canada). Photo via Leo Foltz from an old Common Sense News. Masts folded in tabernacle.|
|Also from an old Common Sense News: Judge Gary Trawick's boat in 1992, hull completed.|
||And if you can't build or buy one, you can always sit and simulate! This AS29 is out of Virtual Sailor.|
The AS29 design was very carefully thought out, with everything based on use scenarios. Builders alter the carefully thought out design at their peril. Even so, most of the AS29s in existence have at least minor changes to the design. The first three were built and rigged largely to plan - cat-yawl rig and twin swing-keels (actually enclosed leeboards) - with changes largely interior. We've found with our own Lady Kate that some interior changes didn't work and had to be built back to plan: the changes degraded the function of the boat.
Luna is a distinct design, based on the AS29 hull but heavily modified for the builder's own desires. There are cabin modifications to cope with what might lightly be termed the climate (not to mention threatening cruise ships) and will be a leeboarder to cope with ice. The Foltz's boat is also modified. It's been through several design cycles, currently being built as a junk-rigged yawl. Both of these boats are best regarded as derivations from the AS29, not as AS29 variants.
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AS39 - Transatlantic-voyaging home
37'8" x 7'10" x 12"
If the AS29 is a big boat, the AS39 (in high heels) is heading toward the
affordable mansion class. The design was commissioned by the Wises
after living three years in the Jessie Cooper they built on a riverbank
in France. Living and working space in abundance.
||Bob Archibald's Wizard, Florida-based cruiser set up for live-aboard. Lots of interior shots in this link.|
and Sheila Wise's Loose Moose II, built in Europe, ran a fast and
safe Atlantic crossing, and subsequently resident in the Virgin Isles.
Sadly, lost in September 1999 through a lightning strike at St Thomas.
Photos on their three web pages.
Mark Zeiger (Dave Zeiger's brother) is in the throes of building another - must be the Alaskan climate or a highly competitive family or something...
boats do have ancestors!
|Bolger's Advanced Sharpies have their ancestor in Jessie Cooper, a 25'6" cruising sharpiedesigned as a single-person live-aboard to fit a long "wish list" in a minimal package (or, "one more attempt to build new low-cost housing"). Read the reasoning behind the design in his book "30-Odd Boats". Jessie Cooper. Chuck Merrel has now put up a major essay, discussion and photo presentation of this seminal design, the ancestor of the Advanced Sharpies. Chuck lived and cruised aboard his Tomboy, who you can see beached on the cover of "Boats with an Open Mind".|
The AS29, the archetypal Bolger Box, appeared nearly a decade later. The AS29 is Jessie Cooper stretched another 4', allowing full-size saloon berths, with more space saved by the use of a bow transom rather than a point. Users of one would feel quite at home in the other as regards accommodation. The rig, though is a different story.
The daysailer AS19 and then the SuperBox AS39 followed. The AS29 and AS39 ("Loose Moose") both have a chapter in "Boats with an Open Mind", and have been the subject of a lot of controversy in the sharpie world: read Mike O'Brien's "Shoal-Draft Sharpies" in WoodenBoat No. 114.
Together with the 23'6" Martha Jane (different ancestry), they form a fleet of incredibly roomy shoal-draft, cat-yawl or cat rigged, sharpie-dimensioned square boats. Straight sides, vertical blunt bows and transoms, pronounced rocker, impeccable handling, and confusion to the incognoscenti. They all share one drawback, though: you really need to know which end is the bow, 'cos there's no point!
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