Differences between PDRacer and Bolger Brick

Box boats have been around for hundreds of years. So far the earliest set of plans that we can find is from the Scientific American Supplement published in June 17, 1876. For more info see: Craig O'Donnell Cheap Pages.

Some of the box boat designs I have heard of are: 1876 Three Dollar Scow, Breakdown Punt, Brick, Super Brick, Campaboat, Chugger, Cove, Crawdad, Crumpton Barge, Dockbox, Fastbrick, Fat Little Pram, Flying Cloud, Gordon Tank, Illusion, Ka-Pau, LilJon, Nabisco, Paddle Pusher, Plank Rat, Pogo, Queequeg's Coffin, Shitter, Shoebox, Skimmer, Sleeper, Squeeze Box, Tortoise, Big Tortoise, Wheelie Willie, Wing Box, Wren.

Phil Bolger created an interpretation of the box boat and called his boat design the Brick. I am not sure when the design was released, but it appeared in Messing About In Boats in the early 1980's. The goal of the Brick design was to be an exercise to use every square inch possible of 3 sheets of plywood to construct a boat. A further explanation of this and usable plans for the Brick are in Bolger's book: Boats With An Open Mind (BWAOM)

After cutting out the pieces, the only usable leftover piece is 8" x 32". Because she was designed as an exercise (and not as a practical boat), if built exactly per her plans, the design has numerous problems which Bolger readily conveyed. None the less, the Brick is widely adored by boat builders everywhere, and some of them have been built.

There are many differences between the Bolger Brick (and other box boat designs) and the duck class, most importantly is a key conceptual difference. The Brick is a design that is built by following a specific set of plans that you purchase from Phil Bolger and Friends company. The PDRacer class does not have specified plans, instead we all design our own box boats, and build them to suit our individual needs. What makes a box boat qualify to use the Puddle Duck name, is the boat must fit within the definition of our class rules, which also grants that boat the ability to use our handicap rating for mixed class racing with other boats. Having looked at every single duck ever registered, I can tell you that no two of them are exactly alike.

For more information about why I felt a box boat would be a good hull type for the Puddle Duck Class, see: Designing The PDRacer. There are many factors that inspired me to create the Puddle Duck class, for more information about those factors, see: history of the pdracer.

Below are some of the numerous differences between the Puddle Duck and the Brick.

Brick PDRacer
Rocker 8" max depth 6" max depth which will carry 630 lbs at the point where the bow and stern transom touch the water.
Rocker Shape Very round shape that is easy to make by fairing a single batten. Because of the very round shape, it feels like a rocking horse when moving about inside the cockpit. Also because of the round shape, the Brick is unable to get up on a plane. The harder you drive the hull shape, the deeper it pushes into it's bow wave. We have a hybrid shaped rocker that is created by combining the bends of 2 battens. The rocker shape is less pronounced, and just aft of the mid section it is almost flat. This creates a shape that is more tolerant of the crew moving around, and also allows the hull to plane when driven hard. Also makes a good spot to lay down incase want you to spend night on the boat.
Deck The Brick does not have decks, it has small corner braces. If you drive the hull hard, those braces do not provide enough strength to properly support the hull, and many Bricks have self destructed from strong use. The PDRacer has an open design that allows you to build any decks and internal structure that you want. Most builders place a deck across the bow, and add significant structure to the mast sleeve so they are very durable, and able to withstand extreme use.
Bulkheads & Internal Structure The Brick does not have bulkheads or any other internal bracing, making it a fairly flimsy box. The PDRacer has an open design that allows you to build any type of internal structure that you want. The more structure you have, the stiffer the boat will be.
Emergency Flotation The Brick does not have emergency flotation, if you swamp it in deep water, you can NOT self recover it, you must wait for another boat to rescue you, or you need to swim back to shore. The PDRacer has mandatory emergency flotation. At most puddle duck gatherings, people intentionally swamp their boats to test the flotation, and practice recovering their hull.