Susanne Altenburger, a Gloucester-based boat designer, reports that their sustainable vessel design finally hit the water. In 2006, Ecotrust Canada brought Susanne, whose husband is legendary designer Phil Bolger, to BC to research the development of a low-cost, energy-efficient vessel that could replace BC’s aging fishing fleet.
Their design studio, Phil Bolger & Friends, developed a prototype that uses a plywood-epoxy-foam composite for the hull that is cheaper than steel and aluminum. Its simple design significantly reduces shipwright labour costs. Bolger has proven, through the operation of several working vessels, that their slender hull design allows vessels to reach speeds of twenty knots with about half the horsepower of conventional vessels of the same size. That cuts fuel use, which is good for the planet and fishermen’s wallets.
Bolger designed a prototype workboat for Ecotrust Canada. Suzanne reports that a vessel with a similar design has recently been built and launched in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Below is a Flickr slide show of both the working vessel and the designs that Bolger created for Ecotrust Canada.