A few people have been asking about the closure of Bob Oram’s website. I am now in a position to provide some answers, and with Bob’s permission, will attempt to clarify a few things with this post.
Bob has decided to retire from boat design. He will no longer sell boat plans or do any design work. Of course, he will follow through with current projects, including ours. He has told us that he is still available at any time for advice and “chin-wagging” about our build, and hopes to visit us again sometime.
Those who have been following our progress for a while will know that Bob’s visits have been a regular event. I have actually lost count of them, but a quick look back through this blog indicates at least four or five separate occasions. We did not know Bob prior to contacting him via the internet in 2003. The $6600 design fee we paid bought us much more than a set of plans. At his own expense, Bob drove to Darwin (a 7000km round trip from Hervey Bay) to supervise the first week of our build, organised a Z-press for joining the panels, and then towed the Z-press back from Darwin. He spent a week supervising the start of another 44C project in Albany, Western Australia – a round trip of 9000km. I know he provides this type of support to all his owner builders. Bob’s commitment to his designs continues throughout the build project, beyond launch of the boat, and even to subsequent owners of his boats. That is Bob’s nature; he is generous to a fault.
There are now 41 Bob Oram Designs built or being completed. So, it is not hard to imagine that, like a responsible father of many children, he now feels he has enough boats to care for and worry about. Bob plans to commence building his own 40′ Slim very soon. In a couple of years, he and his wife hope to follow in the footsteps of those whose dreams he helped fulfill, and become, in his words, “genteel poverty stricken wanderers”.