Prolific craftsman shot himself

The American boat designer Phil Bolger has died. He killed himself with a handgun at his home in West Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA, on Sunday.

His wife and business partner, Susanne Altenburger, said that his decision to take his own life was a long-contemplated, reasoned and principled act ? though Bolger gave her no advance warning or hints in recent behaviour.

‘How he died is part of his narrative,’ Altenburger told her local newspaper, the Gloucester Times. ‘He died an extraordinarily violent, purposeful and soberly considered death.’

Bolger designed 680 boats, including the world’s smallest dinghy, ‘the folding schooner’, andHMS Rose, which featured in the 2003 blockbuster film,Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, alongside the actor Russell Crowe.

In addition to his work as a boat designer, Bolger was a prolific writer. He published numerous books on boats and a science fiction novel about apartheid in South Africa, written and published before the racial separation system ended, along with countless magazine articles.