May 13, 2006

Wooden Boat Fair

Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
The Water Rat, Wind in the Willows
I spent a couple of hours on Percival Landing at the Wooden Boat Fair this afternoon. For several reasons, I don’t get down there very often, so I was glad to have the chance this weekend – and that the weather was as nice as it was. (It isn’t always nice at all, this time of year.)

I have to admit a weakness for small boats, though I’ve managed to avoid getting sucked into owning one very often. For a long time, I was able to mooch a boat fix off of friends and acquaintances, but that hasn’t worked well at all for a long time. It’s a big step, in terms of time commitment, to go from an occasional day-sail to being responsible for a boat.

Most of the boats on display at the Fair are medicine far too powerful for the paltry boat-weakness that I’m infected with. Still, they are often very beautiful and the people who keep them looking that way are candidates for a certain kind of sainthood in my book.

There were two highlights for me. The first is the Sand Man, which just gets to looking better and better. The last time I saw it was on blocks over at Swantown Marina, with its deckhouse sitting on the pavement. Now, it’s floating and looking pretty. They had the engine running while I was on it and it sounded very good: smooth, relaxed, and powerful. The Sand Man Foundation has done a wonderful job with this relic of an older Olympia.

The other is that the Grapeview Point Boat Works had an array of small, wooden boats in classic designs. There was a beautiful Caledonia yawl, a cute little peapod-type with a lug sail, and a Shellback dinghy. I was pleased that a local builder had brought some new work to show off, in amongst the classic Monks and Gearys.

Almost enough to get me on the water again. Here are a couple of other interesting little boats. The first is a little sailing dinghy. I hope I look as good at its age; it was built in 1937.

The second is the cutest tug I've ever seen. It's only 14 feet long.


Joe Follansbee said...

Hello Mike,

Great post! I've linked to it via my blog, The MHN Blog.

Joe Follansbee

Allen said...

Hey Dad,

This IS a great post. I have to say, I spent a lot of my youth not really paying attention to things and I must admit, I didn't truly realize your boat fixation. I'm not sure how, as I look back now it's pretty obvious, but that was the kind of kid I was. And yes, it is the cutest tug.