Join us for the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards!
Thursday September 10, 5:30 PM, doors open at 5:00
Northwest Maritime Center Maritime Meeting Room
Each year we recognize members of our greater maritime community for “The Wooden Boat Foundation Lifetime Achievement in Wooden Boat Community & Spirit,” and “The Wooden Boat Foundation & WoodenBoat Magazine Lifetime Achievement in Boatbuilding & Design.” This heartfelt Festival tradition is hosted by WoodenBoat Magazine and is open to the public.
Boatbuilding & Design: George Buehler
George Buehler began designing boats in the 1970’s during the revival of interest in wooden boats and wooden boatbuilding. His approach was always from the point of view that it was more important to ‘get it done’ than it was to fret over the nuances of the building process. His design career started as a matter of designing a boat that he himself could build, and sail and extended with much experience and years of honing into a broad swath of devotees and fans. He believed a boat is a statement of expression and needs to be valid for each individual. It is with much sadness that this award is given posthumously as he truly deserved to have the honor and accolade while he was still alive, but fate stepped in and dictated otherwise. He is an author of multiple books, and you would need to search far and wide to find a more outspoken and passionate proponent of boats and boat design.
Yacht Design and Construction: Carl Chamberlain
Carl has been a mainstay around the Port Townsend waterfront for many years and was around for the early days of the wooden boat revival in the 1970’s. He is an excellent designer with a hand and eye that shows off his many years of diligent study and working in the design field. It is noteworthy that when the renowned designer/builder George Calkins was getting ready to build his dream motorsailer in the late 1970’s, he reached out to Carl for help in the design and building plans. Carl has also had several projects that the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding has built in years past. Carl is a quiet and calm man with a demeanor that up front would never hint of the reserve of intelligence and talent contained within.
Community Spirit and Culture: Jim (Kiwi) Ferris
Over 32 years ago, with a few sticks of wood and a couple of tarps, Jim “Kiwi” Ferris and the late Charlie Moore started Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend. Now, three decades later, the business has grown into 80,000 square feet of warehouse and nearly 50 employees in two locations. Kiwi has literally been one of the table legs that has helped hold the wooden boat industry in the Northwest. Wood from Edensaw can be seen on boats all over the world, from multi-million dollar yachts to small kayaks and canoes, as well as homes, furniture, and much more. His influence, mentorship, and leadership in the boat building industry is unparalleled and unequaled in the Northwest.
Maritime Hall of Fame: Brion Toss
Master Rigger Brion Toss is best known as the author of The Complete Riggers Apprentice, first printed in 1984 and considered today an authoritative text on the subject of rigging. Brion’s career as a master rigger was born from an obsession with knots over 30 years ago, which led him to work with some of the finest traditional riggers in the world. As his expertise and passion for the art of rigging grew, Brion’s education was taken to the highest levels, rigging everything from tiny daysailers to huge square-riggers. With his extensive experience, Brion is able to take the ageless wisdom of traditional rigging and apply it to the materials and applications of today, pursuing the challenge of designing the ideal rig—that unique combination of details best-suited to a particular boat and its particular crew.
Boatbuilding & Design: Bob Perry
“You have made my boyhood dream come true,” says Bob Perry. Grateful to his teachers, for opportunities, and for the sailors who cherish his work, Bob designs yachts that are grateful for water and wind. Robert H. Perry was born in Ohio and spent his childhood in his mother’s native Australia. At age twelve, he joined his parents on a month long voyage by Liberty ship back to the States. That experience aboard shaped Bob’s future career and plunged his imagination into ships and the sea. By eighth grade, in Seattle, Bob was immersed in the study and practice of sailing. He decided to become a yacht designer while still in high school. An introduction and lunch with Bill Garden, when Bob was just fifteen, set the course. Bob attended Seattle University and moved directly into design work shortly thereafter. Through his 20’s Bob worked under a number of master designers in Seattle and Boston, finally opening his own office on Shilshole Bay in Seattle in the early 1970s.
The Valiant 40 began production in Bellingham in 1973; the yacht was a runaway success and an instant classic−eventually over 200 were built. Owners were (and still are) thrilled with a versatile ocean cruiser that quickly proved fast, comfortable, safe, and capable of both circumnavigation and performance racing. Bob’s third client wanted to build CT54 boats in Taiwan, so beginning in the late 1970s Bob began a cooperative design/build relationship with the Taiwanese maritime industry. This partnership lasted for over two decades and produced hundreds of his yachts. The Valiant 40 was quickly followed by the Islander 38, Tayana 37, and Baba 30; design after design−many hundreds, eventually−flowed from Bob’s desk and changed the face of sailing in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe. Today it’s said that there are more of Bob Perry’s designs cruising the world than those of any other designer.
Bob is certainly not retired. He’s still designing new boats of all kinds, and provides fee-based consultations for serious boat shoppers. One recent innovative racer was built at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock: the Perry Sliver Class Daysailer 62 Francis Lee, launched in 2014, proved a head-turner and dominant racer. Bob enjoys crewing this successful new design; scratch that−Bob likes to drive her any time he’s aboard, which is often, thanks to a twenty year friendship with her owner. Bob and his wife live in a beach cottage on the North Sound and he enjoys time on the water in his Boston Whaler. He’s still in favor of sailing well to weather and grateful that his career has brought him so much pleasure. He designs in order to put water and wind to their best use: “It’s not magic. Just physics.” The WBF judging team acknowledges Bob Perry’s lifetime achievement with gratitude for keeping so many of us fast, comfortable, and safe.
Community & Spirit: Marty Loken
Marty Loken says he’s best known as “an out-of-control collector of project boats.” Marty dedicates his life to getting people and boats out on the water and he’s mastered this feat countless times over his 75 years. Over 200 boats owe their restored and renewed lives to his craftsmanship and vision: he’s built dozens more boats from scratch. At his shop in Nordland, WA, he makes sure that worthy older wooden boats stay on the water. Marty and his wife Marijiann (Mo) Moss say the place is known as “the boat farm”… a sort of halfway house for good old boats that need to be saved. In just the last year Marty built a16-foot Oxford Wherry and restored four classic boats while serving as Associate Editor of Small Craft Advisor magazine and Editor of Duckworks Magazine: this is what he calls “semi-retirement.”
Marty’s love of water and boats began almost before he can remember. It’s been said he must have been “born in a boat.” His first rocking horse was actually a boat with handles. Marty grew up in the Scandinavian neighborhood of Ballard, WA, surrounded by fishermen, boats, and water. His father and grandfather designed and built boats; Marty built his first boat at age ten, and another one a few months later. In high school he developed an interest in writing and was soon launched on a ten-year general reporter job with The Seattle Times. Family connections led him to Alaska where he spent almost a decade editing regional magazines, writing books, and honing photography skills. Marty’s love of photography (still a passion) led him to create a image management business, which he tranplanted to Seattle in 1980. This successful venture was sold to Getty Images of London in 1994 and Marty “retired” from Getty in 1997.
Boats became a livelihood in 1997, when Marty took his wooden boat building and restoration skills to work after purchasing Seattle’s Wooden Boat Shop retail store and launching The Restoration Shop, specializing in full restoration of customers’ vintage boats. Two years later the business moved to Whidbey Island. Marty met Mo at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference shortly thereafter: four years later they together moved boats, shop and all to Marrowstone Island.
Retirement began anew for Marty in December, 2013, when he shifted to restoration of his own boats, rather than those of customers. He now had time to turn back to writing, photography and public service as wellto the great benefit of the maritime and local community. Marty organized the annual Pocket Yacht Palooza in Port Townsend, the largest gathering of small boats on the West Coast. He had served on the board of The Center for Wooden Boats (and is a lifetime member), now volunteers for the Wooden Boat Festival, and has served in numerous leadership roles for classic boat and professional publications and organizations.
Marty has loved to row and take on boating adventures since childhood and most recently was an inaugural SEVENTY48 racer aboard a Colin Angus Oxford Wherry as TEAM GEEZER. Keep an eye out at the Wooden Boat Festival for FOTO, the 1953-designed raised deck outboard cruiser Marty recently restoredMarty and Mo enjoy FOTO’s role as the official Photo Boat of Small Craft Advisor Magazine, based in Port Townsend. Restored to glory and active use, as all good old boats deserve, Marty’s boats are a legacy of lifetime achievement.
Boatbuilding & Design: Tim Nolan
A native of Southern California, Tim Nolan has been involved with boats since 1958, when he bought a sailing pram at the age of 11. Growing up he surfed the local beaches of Palos Verdes and worked as a deckhand on excursion and sport fishing boats from San Pedro before enrolling in the engineering program at the University of Michigan. After graduation he worked at Global Marine in Los Angeles before serving in the Peace Corps for 2 ½ years, teaching Naval Architecture in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He then settled in the northwest in 1974.
In 1975 he dropped out of commercial design to do what he loved best: working on boats. He worked as a shipwright for several years while continuing to design pleasure boats, including the Cape George 31 Cutter, of which over 50 were built by Cecil Lange and Sons in Port Townsend.
For a time he returned to commercial work, designing fishing boats, barges, and tugboats, including the Lauren Foss and Corbin Foss, the most powerful in the Foss fleet. In 1985 he moved to Port Townsend and consulted for Admiral Marine Works, working on four large composite yachts.
Tim began an association with Ed Monk and Son in 1989 that continues to this day. Tim’s contribution to the design process is primarily structure, and he plays a strong role in managing the plan set development. He is probably best known for his freehand perspective sketches that condense information and speak directly to the builder. He likes detail and enjoys sketching them in a way that looks like they want to leap out of the paper and into the boat.
Today Tim Nolan Marine Design continues to provide quality design services to a limited number of customers. Tim owns a total of 137 boats, and when he’s not working on his boats, you might find him playing his fiddle or standup paddle boarding.
From the Selection Committee: Tim Nolan is a well-known character in the maritime scene around Port Townsend. He is a letter-perfect candidate for the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for Boatbuilding and Boat Design. He has spent his life working both boats and boat lines into something magical on the water. His work carries the scope of breadth from the smallest dinghies to large ocean motor yachts, and he has backed it all up with the eye of an artist and the science of an engineer. He is a rare talent in the marine industry, and we are very pleased that he has agreed to be our recipient this year.
Community & Spirit: Jim Blaiklock
Jim Blaiklock has been messing about in boats since he was born, having grown up in a sailing family in New Jersey and Sag Harbor. As a beloved member of the Port Townsend boating community, he was a founding member and officer of the Port Townsend Marine Trades Association.
He drew standing room only crowds at several Festivals with his entertaining, knowledgeable demos on dutchmen and butterflies. He ran the Kids’ Boatbuilding booth at the Festival for years, designing the templates, cutting the hulls, procuring supplies all year long, and then staying after the Festival on Sundays until every scrap of sail, string, globs of glue, and nails were picked up, using a magnet to find errant nails. He's always been about doing every job completely, and advocated for sweetening the pot, as he'd say—do more than you were hired and paid to do.
He volunteered as the Boatshop Manager for the Wooden Boat Foundation for many years before finally being hired in that capacity. He picked up donated boats from around the Sound, and then sailed them back and fixed them up to be sold to raise money for the Foundation.
He was a beloved mentor to the scores of Gray Wolf Ranch volunteers that worked in the shop; many recognized his impact on their lives by inviting him to their Gray Wolf graduation ceremonies and dinners as a specially honored guest. Those he mentored spoke of learning more about life from him than anywhere else. He taught them that "slow is fast," meaning take your time and do it right so you don't have to do it over.
Teaching sanding, varnishing, and painting was his way to teach about how to live life with finesse—the word he used and the students cherished.
From the Selection Committee: Jim Blaiklock has been a part of this community since the first Festival, when he rode up on a motorcycle from San Diego, where he was a shipwright. He eventually bought property and moved here.
After a few years as a volunteer, he was hired as the Foundation’s Boatshop Manager. He mentored kids and adults in the Cupola House Boatshop. Together with volunteers, he fixed up a Point Hudson building as a shop with larger capacity.
His patient teaching style, seasoned experience, and unconditional generosity are legendary. His gentlemanly ways, friendly charm, and pragmatism have endeared him to scores, if not hundreds, of volunteers, young and old alike, who’ve started or apprenticed in Port Townsend. As a mentor, teacher, and loyal friend, Jim exemplifies every aspect of this award.
Shipwrights Hall of Fame: Miguel Winterburn
The Wooden Boat Foundation will also be honoring Miguel “Mike” Winterburn with a special Shipwrights Hall of Fame award this year. From his start shaping surfboards to a career building boats, Mike is known as a craftsman without equal, seeking to create beautiful work with an emphasis on function. Many shipwrights in town today consider him one of their first mentors. Local shipwright Brian Wentzel shared, “For me he had a subtle way—always there to answer a question or suggest a path, but never without the reasoning behind it. He often carefully watched others make mistakes, but never interfered. To truly learn, he believed that we needed to make our own mistakes. Then he’d offer a quick smile and a suggestion for how it could be corrected.”
Boatbuilding & Design: Tad Roberts
Born in Pender Harbour, BC in 1955, Tad was immersed in coastal culture right away. Roads were few, all transportation and work involved boats of various types, but almost all were wooden and of unique West Coast design. A fifth-generation British-Columbian, Tad’s entire family lived and worked on boats; Tad became involved in logging, log towing, and commercial fishing as a young man, and this led to designing and building small steel workboats as well as a few wooden sailing vessels.
Tad had always maintained a strong interest in yachts, both power and sail, and when the opportunity arose to move to Maine, he went. After a semester at Maine Maritime Academy (Yacht Design Institute) he joined the Bruce King design office in 1987. In the next 14 years there he worked on everything from 10’ dinghies to 180’ sailing yachts. He had a hand in everything from production fiberglass power and sailboats, including the Hinckley Picnic Boats and Sou’wester 70, to the 80’ cold-molded commuter Liberty.
In his spare time he built a small farm near Whitefield, ME with his wife Carie McAlister, raising milk goats and two sons.
Leaving Maine in 2001, he returned to Gabriola Island, BC to open a one-man design practice. There his work has focused on new design of classic types, the Lake Union Dreamboat and double-ended trollers, as well as the refitting of large motoryachts. His life-long interest in small traditional boats led to an 8-year term on the Board of Directors at the Silva Bay Shipyard School, as well as organizing and managing the Shipyard Raid for 5 years.
Today his office is designing new 60’ and 65’ cargo schooners, as well as a 32’ double-ended troller for Alaska. For the past 8 years he’s been living aboard and slowly restoring Blackfish, a 50’ Urry Brother’s designed and Northwest School built ketch.
Tad feels quite strongly that he’s part of a long line of local PNW designers with regional leanings: Leigh Coolidge, Ted Geary, H.C. Hansen, Tom Haliday, Frank Fredette, Ed Monk Sr., and William Garden have all influenced his work. Lesser-known BC designers like the Urry Brothers and Robert Allan have also exerted influence. Important too has been the work of hundreds of individual boatbuilder/designers, the Wahls and Groops of Prince Rupert, the Farrells and Gooldrups of Pender Harbour, and the Remmems, Vesteads, and Gronlands of the Fraser River. “All these builders designed and built wooden boats that are both beautiful and efficient, which is something I hope to encourage and continue,” Tad concludes.
Community & Spirit: Ted Pike
Ted Pike was an integral part of the Wooden Boat Foundation and Festival for all of the 26 years that he was part of the Port Townsend boating community.
Becoming a sailor at age 14 was a life-altering experience for Ted. He realized then that it could become an abiding passion and one that could (and did) change the direction of his life. Traveling the world as a young man, visiting many spots in the US, Europe, Eastern Asia, he settled for many years in Australia where he sailed continually and learned the art of crafting wooden boats and wooden surfboards. Returning to the US with many wonderful stories, he continued honing those skills in Avila Beach, Ventura, San Diego and, finally, Jefferson County. With the first boat he built, Cuca, an Edson Schock design, he introduced his future wife and children to the wonders of sailing. The second boat, Brisa, provided them with some extensive cruising off the California Coast and into Mexico. Bringing Brisa to Port Townsend introduced them to the joys of sailing in the Northwest. The purchase of Annie Too begat Brisa Charters and Ted's beginning as a U.S. Coast Guard 500-ton licensed Captain. Annie Too sailed for nearly 20 years from Orcas Island and from Port Townsend.
For 20 years Ted was a vibrant, enthusiastic employee of Edensaw Woods and traveled the country and Canada spreading information, cheer and love, returning with many, many uplifting stories. Wherever he went he made many friends, treating them with great respect, encouragement and caring and giving his famous, huge "Ted Pike" hugs. For several of his last years he also worked for WoodenBoat Magazine, continuing his encouragement, success and hugs.
He was actively involved with the Wooden Boat Foundation and Festival, the Port Townsend Sailing Association, Northwest Maritime Center, Port Townsend Marine Trades, Jefferson County 4-H, Orcas Island Sailing Association, Jefferson Teen Center, Centrum Foundation and WoodenBoat Magazine. His advocacy for the youth in his community was admirable. His participation with wooden boats, boat owners, marine trades, fundraising, regattas, and speaking engagements in Port Townsend and other communities has been deeply appreciated.
As most know, Ted went on to other seas in August 2015. While he is greatly missed by his family, his friends, and his community, all are grateful to have known the gifts he gave us during his lifetime.
Ted was an integral part of the Lifetime Achievement Awards for the past many years. He helped in the selection of the recipients, assisted in putting the program together each year, and often spoke at the event, managing to be both heartfelt and humorous. We tried for many years to honor him with the Community Spirit & Culture award, which he always refused. We are sorry he will not be with us to receive this award; few more profoundly embodied Wooden Boat Community Spirit & Culture than Ted.
Boatbuilding & Design: Edward "Ted" Brewer
Ted was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1933. By 1957, he was a Lieutenant in the Canadian Army, but resigned his commission in order to return to his first true love, boating. He started off as a yacht broker with George Cuthbertson, who later founded C & C Yachts. At the same time, Ted kept busy working on his West Lawn School of Yacht Design course.
His career progressed with the help, guidance, and education that came with working alongside George, and with a man named Dick Telford, a boat designer, builder, mentor, and friend. Several years later, in the late 1960s, Ted took an opportunity to move to Connecticut and work for A.E. “Bill” Luders Jr. as an assistant designer. With Bill he worked tirelessly on everything from 5.5 meter sloops, 12 meter America’s Cup racers, ocean racing yachts, & power boats.
In 1967 Ted found himself in Maine, still doing all of Luders’ drafting. In partnership with Bob Wallstrom he produced over 100 custom production designs. In the mid 1970s, Ted pioneered his wildly successful, well-known radius bilge method of building metal hulls. In 1979, Ted moved to Washington State and over the next 20 years would produce 160 more designs.
In 1999, Ted and his wife Betty returned to Canada and settled on Gabriola Island, BC where he designed a few more custom yachts, sold stock plans, wrote for boating magazines, and donated time lecturing at Silva Bay Shipyard school. In 2006 they moved to Agassiz BC.
In addition to completing over 270 designs, Ted has written 3 books. One of them, “Understanding Boat Design” is now in its fourth edition and has been a popular design primer for 30 years.
He is now mainly retired, but has had a career full of passion and adventure, and is thrilled to be receiving the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award in Boatbuilding & Design.
Community & Spirit: Julian Arthur
Julian Arthur grew up in West Seattle during the 1950’s and 60’s and started working on boats shortly after high school. What began as a few isolated projects quickly turned into a profession as Julian and other members of his family saw one opportunity after another arise in the world of boatbuilding.
Julian's father, Ben Arthur, first purchased a 50’ steel vessel, to refurbish and use as a charter boat in Westport during the 1962 World’s Fair. He soon decided they could build their own fiberglass boats, so he started a company and opened shop in Burien, WA.
Julian worked on the boats during the winter months and spent his summers traveling across country professionally racing flat track motorcycles.
In 1968 the company was looking to change locations. They stumbled across a little town where the land was cheap and largely undeveloped, and they moved their business across the Puget Sound to Port Townsend. Skookum Marine, as the business was called, built a shop (the shop that is currently occupied by Goldstar Marine) and began production of custom sail and powerboats from 28 to 70 feet in length. There were no docks at that time in the marina and Julian remembers the ferryboat, Defiance, was parked right outside the shop. It was a good time to be building boats, and Skookum Marine built over 400 of them over the years.
In l980 they built a large shop on Workman Road and would truck the hulls down to the water to be launched. Julian’s wife Sue joined him in the business and they continued to build fishing vessels for Alaska until 1989, but by the end of the 80’s they had decided to downsize, and they closed doors on Skookum Marine for good.
At this point Julian began transitioning into the occupation that anyone affiliated with the Port of Port Townsend knows him for today. He bought a truck-mounted mobile crane and before long Julian Arthur Crane Service was born. Julian has been operating the crane in the port for 25 years and by now has literally taken thousands of masts and engines out of boats. Knowing the importance in every mast pulling/replacement, he honored the “big deal” that it was with caution, care and experience, and has helped many people in the process. He has run into sailors as far away as the Virgin Islands who instantly recognize him as the guy who, “put the mast on my boat in Port Townsend just a couple of weeks ago!”
Julian likely wouldn’t have predicted it himself, but standing ahead of him in 1962, alongside a lifetime of adventures, a beautiful family, and lots and lots of motorcycle racing, was a 50-year career in the marine trades.
Boatbuilding & Design: Stanley Bishoprick
Stanley Bishoprick was born March 23, 1937, in Portland, Oregon. Vancouver was his home except for his toddler years in China, and college years at Oregon State University in Corvallis where he earned bachelors degrees in forestry and business. He took graduate music studies at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. There, in 1963, he met his wife Nancy McCracken while both performing in Verdi’s Aida.
Stan established Exterior Wood, Inc. in 1977. With this success and his ever-ambitious drive and curiosity, he formed Windy Ridge Farm, a thoroughbred racehorse training and breeding facility.
In 1994 he founded a classic wooden boat building business, Legendary Yachts. Stan “retired” in 1996 to sail his 72’ ketch, Radiance, (sister-ship to Ticonderoga) the vessel that launched his yacht company. He took the family on a three-year ocean voyage spanning half the globe. Guided by Stan’s vision, Legendary Yachts built many breathtaking wooden sail and power boats. His passion for building these wonderful vessels was only outweighed by his love of being on the water aboard them.
As a true Renaissance man, he was an enduring supporter of music and the arts, becoming the president of the board of the Portland Opera Association and also a member of the board for the Vancouver Children’s Opera. He was a cantor in several Jewish temples, past choir director at First Presbyterian Church, sang with Portland Opera, Bravo!, and Young Audiences in many musicals and plays in the Portland/Vancouver area over the years. Stan even donned costumes and performed alongside his granddaughters in several ballets, supporting their love of dance.
One of his most recent ventures included raising registered Angus beef at his farm. Tragically, Stan died on died October 25, 2013, at the far-too-young age of 76. Members of his boat crew said they could not believe Stan was gone. “We were just chasing cows with him yesterday.”
Stan was larger than life, and an inspiration to those who knew him, daring us all to think big and dream. He left a giant hole in many hearts and will be sorely missed by so many. He was a caring, and loving man with great faith and warm hospitality. Like the yacht company name, Stan was legendary.
Community & Spirit: Ed Barcott
Being on the water is in Ed Barcott’s blood. Born into a fishing family in Anacortes, he was working on the water by age 11. He spent many memorable years in the 1940’s and 50’s seining the waters of Puget Sound and Southeast Alaska. Later, the experiences of both WWII and Korea prompted Ed to attend Western Washington University. In 1958 he came to Port Townsend to teach at the Washington Diagnostic & Treatment Center at Fort Worden. He also met and worked with Jim Daubenberger (Daubie) at his clothing store on Water Street. Daubie introduced Ed to sailing, and he was hooked. Ed sailed with and learned from Daubie for over a decade, then bought his own boat, a Pearson Renegade, which soon gave way to his current “Pacemaker,” a Cal 33, which Ed has skippered on innumerable races and cruises. Following in Daubie’s footsteps, he has and continues to enthusiastically share his knowledge and love for sailing with family, friends, crew, and even competitors.
Community & Spirit: Jim Daubenberger
In 1937, at the age of 13, Jim Daubenberger wanted to go sailing. He borrowed his dad's pup tent to use as a sail, lashed a couple of poles together to fashion a rig, and rented a row boat on Discovery Bay, where he rowed upwind, set his rig and sailed downwind using an oar for a rudder. Many years later, in 1959, with a young family, his dream of sailing was rekindled: Jim bought his first of many boats, an 18’ Seagull-class sloop. With no instruction, he began what became a lifelong passion. In 1962, in collaboration with his lifelong friend and sailing partner, Glenn Abraham, Jim started a sailing school for kids. For 25 years Jim and Glenn taught hundreds and inspired thousands.
Boatbuilding & Design: Glen Witt
Glen Witt and his brother, Elbert started building boats when Glen was still in high school. Plywood was virtually unknown in those days, since Glen was born in 1918. The pair rabbeted stems, spiled planks, and used what they thought were proper building procedures. The plans available in those days weren’t designed for the first time builder.
Since it was the Depression era, the brothers couldn’t afford to build boats, but somehow they did it anyway. White oak was scrounged from old table leaves for the frames as it cost virtually nothing from junk furniture stores. It took a long time to get that old finish off, but time they had, money they didn’t. The planking had to be mahogany and took lots of mowing lawns and delivering papers to procure. Each plank was fitted with care. The seams were spaced oh so uniformly. The screw holes were plugged or blind-fastened, and spaced so precisely from the edges and each other. The filled and stained mahogany planks were given numerous coats of varnish, then hand-rubbed with pumice and finished with rotten rock and rubbing oil. Eventually marine plywood was developed. But you couldn’t find a set of boat plans that showed how to use it. In fact many people didn’t even believe it could be used to build a boat. Perhaps ignorance proved to be the best teacher after all. As there were no guidelines on the “right way” to use plywood, they had to discover them for themselves.
They went through a learning curve using proven or accepted methods of conventional boatbuilding. Most of these methods didn’t work for plywood, as they often found out the hard way. By this time a cadre of pioneer plywood boatbuilders had begun to form. They all built boats, shared experiences and used the craft they had labored so hard to make. Glen worked at a foundry at the time and was able to make much of the hardware needed for these boats from patterns he made. Glen and Elbert then formed Glenwood Marine to provide boat hardware such as manifolds, struts, prop shafts, rudders and other underwater hardware. The Glenwood name was created from Glen’s name and Elbert’s middle name of Woodrow. Today Glenwood continues to supply the hardware needed to complete many of the Glen-L designs.
During this time, Glen had taken up Naval Architecture and sought to fill the void in the marketplace by designing boats that were detailed and easy enough for the first time builder to complete. Thus, Glen-L Marine Designs in Bellflower, California was formed in 1953. Glen took his experience in plywood boat construction and developed a system that he felt would enable the first time builder to build his own boat with little or no experience. He understood that lofting the lines of a design would be an obstacle to builders, so early on he determined that full size patterns would be available for each design. The patterns sent to customers were hand-drawn on brown butcher paper, later they were blueprinted and today they are printed on a large format printer.
Glen-L initially offered plans and patterns through dealers. The dealers were able to add to their revenue of the plan sales by selling other hardware and fittings needed to complete and outfit the boat. The company also sold plans via mail order by advertising in the major boating magazines and even appeared on the cover of Popular Mechanics five times from 1957 to 1973.Glen has built numerous boats in order to develop a set of plans for the first time builder. Glen has also written 5 books: Boatbuilding with Plywood, Inboard Motor Installations, How to Build Boat Trailers, How to Fiberglass Boats and in 2008, Boatbuilder’s Notebook. In addition, he has created 7 DVD’s all of which he participated in every step of the way.
In the 1960’s, Glen hired a young boat designer, Ken Hankinson, who had experience in boat design for professional builders. The two produced numerous designs that live on today. When Ken ventured out on his own, his designs reflected Glen’s training and after he retired, Ken’s designs were readily integrated into the rest of Glen-L’s offerings. In the 1970’s Glen developed a line of RV plans and patterns for campers, trailers and fifth wheels. For many years, Glen-L provided aluminum skin kits and accessories to build these units in addition to the boat line until the oil embargoes of the 1970’s helped to drive up fuel prices. RV plans continue to be offered in their online store.
Today, Glen-L offers over 300 boat designs, fastenings, epoxy and fiberglass, boat hardware and other hardware which continue to be shipped around the world along with and lots of helpful support. Most of the business is done online and the Glen-L Boatbuilder Support Forum has blossomed. Various Glen-L boat builders organize get-togethers throughout the US and the first this year in Australia.
For 60 years, Glen’s plans have touched the lives of generations of builders all over the world. At 95, Glen is still designing boats and is actively involved in creating plans that enable the amateur to build their dream boat.
Community & Spirit: Marci Van Cleve
“What’s your passion?” is Marci Van Cleve’s first questions to students. As expected, passions range from marshal arts to computers, but Marci’s role as an educator in the Port Townsend and Chimacum School Districts is the same: inspire learning by cultivating curiosity and hands-on experience in the student’s interest areas. Marci encourages her students to take an active role in their education by first, articulating their passions and then helping them weave their interests into their own, individualized curriculum. This heartfelt and time-intensive approach is the saving grace for many of the county’s youth who otherwise may not have graduated. Marci’s bank of social capital is an essential ingredient in her recipe for educational success; innumerable mentors and community volunteers have been recruited by Marci to invest in youth by imparting their specific skills and knowledge. Marci connects youth and community together, everyone learns while growing as a person.
Now in her 30th year of teaching, Marci splits her time between Pi and OCEAN, the alternative public schools she co-founded within the two school districts. But Marci’s classes are just as likely to be held aboard a 25’ longboat, beside a lively salmon stream, or amongst a string orchestra as in the classroom. In 1996 Marci started the Puget Sound Explorers Program in partnership with the school districts and the Wooden Boat Foundation. With access to the water, she was able to help students develop leadership skills while gaining the confidence and calluses needed to enter the maritime trades. Building on the success of this marriage between public schools and the area’s maritime education facilities, Marci and her co-teaching expanded the curriculum to include boat building as the Puget Sound Voyaging Society in partnership with the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building.
Always a champion of the underdog, Marci fiercely believes in the importance of a high school diploma and works tirelessly and with phenomenal creativity to help willing students achieve this life milestone. Along with the traditional Washington State learning requirements, Marci teaches the deceptively challenging “soft skills of industry” which start with “show up and be prepared.” She sees first-hand how challenging these critical skills can be to kids without ample resources or support. More immediately, Marci makes it her responsibility to provide “sea stores” (i.e., healthy snacks) to students, especially in the floating classroom where crew morale matters and hungry kids can’t row. Marci’s generosity is selfless, her creativity boundless, and her enthusiasm unflappable.
Looking for their own piece of heaven, Marci and her husband Steve put down roots in 1974 on a 20-acre farm on Marrowstone Island called Fiddler’s Green. In her time away from school, Marci is a prolific poet and deadly cribbage player. Steve is a retired Tug Boat Captain and a worthy cribbage opponent.
Boatbuilding & Design: Sam Devlin
In 1974 a young Sam Devlin was sitting in the galley of an old, 1898 tugboat in Southeast Alaska contemplating the big question of what to do with his life. With a cup of strong black coffee and a copy of the very first issue of a new magazine called “WoodenBoat” in hand, an answer took hold.
For the first time in his life Sam contemplated becoming a boat builder. A short three years and University of Oregon degree later, he started on his first boat. A self-described average guy with a pervasive love of boats and water, Sam started Devlin Designing Boat Builders in Eugene, Oregon, soon moved to Eld Inlet in Puget Sound and most recently to a larger shop in Olympia, Washington.
Devlin designs and builds boats using a composite construction method he’s helped to pioneer known as “stitch-and-glue” which, according to Sam, combines the best of both worlds: wooden boat building with modern epoxy technology. He is a tinkerer, tending towards simplicity of design that carries a touch of whimsy.
Sam just rounded the horn of his 35th year as designer and boat builder, having built 416 wooden boats, all but four of his own design, and sent his boats or designs to over 69 countries and all 50 states. (For TV’s NCIS fans, the boat Gibbs works on is a Devlin boat.) Devlin has built an impressive design collection that includes tiny rowing and sailing dinghies like the Pollywog and Guppy, as well as larger sailboats like the 23-foot Arctic Tern sloop, the sleek 36-foot cruising yacht Peregrine, and the 42-foot Oysta motorsailer. The most recent project for Sam’s company is a 48 ft. long powerboat.
In addition to his boat building and design career, Sam is the author of the best selling book Devlin’s Boat Building and many articles on boatbuilding and boats, and stars in a video on wooden boat construction titled “Sam Devlin on Wooden Boatbuilding.”
Sam is very proud to have been part of the inspiration and final expression of all these boats and he has always had the fervent wish that they bring joy and happiness to their owners.
Community & Spirit: Carol Hasse
Carol Hasse has been a sailmaker and owner of Hasse & Company Port Townsend Sails, Inc. since 1978. Cruising World describes her sails this way: “Carol Hasse and Port Townsend Sails spin gold by sticking to traditional methods of construction and paying attention to the little things that help sails withstand the tests of time.”
Hasse came to sail making from a love of cruising and a lifelong passion for learning outside the confines of a classroom. By believing in herself Hasse set off to learn how to make sails for a communal schooner-building project in the early 1970s. She first worked under Franz Schattauer, a master sailmaker in the old-world tradition and eventually with Ron Harrow, who owned the only sail loft in Port Townsend at the time. You will find Hasse today in that same loft, if she’s not off on a maritime adventure.
Hasse is a founding board member of the Wooden Boat Foundation. She is a regular judge at the Victoria Classic Boat Festival and has served in the past as a judge for Cruising World’s Boat of the Year competition at the Annapolis Boat Show. She has also been a speaker at Safety at Sea seminars on both coasts.
Hasse regularly lectures for the Wooden Boat Foundation and the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building. She is active in teaching and lecturing on all aspects of sailmaking, sail repair, sail inventory, and sail handling. Instructional venues include sail training vessels, boat shows, yacht clubs, offshore cruising seminars, Safety at Sea seminars, and Port Townsend Sails’ in-loft Hands-On Sail Repair Seminars. She has been active in women’s and youth sail training in the Northwest and the South Pacific for over 30 years.
This year the Northwest Maritime Center named the beach by the center in honor of Carol Hasse for her unusual community-building pastime. See if you can find the plaque.
Carol Hasse says she feels blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest where she has actively sailed her 25’ 1959 Nordic Folkboat, Lorraine, since 1979.