Worldwide Classic Boat Show

Starting tomorrow is the first Worldwide Classic Boat Show, a virtual celebration of boats and boating put on by the fine folks at Off Center Harbor. We’ve got two entries in it, for our club and for Button Swan, and our neighbours at the dock, Ern, Anja, and Querencia are also in it.

Tickets are only $5, so check it out, and support their um, support of all things classic boat! You’ll be able to read about all sorts of boats, as well as see a bunch of speakers on various topics.

links will be live Friday morning 


Little(r) Boats

Over the last months, some of our members have been busy making model boats instead of full-sized little boats, and the results are beautiful to look at!

Starting the trend was Leif, while he was on quarantine last year when he came back to Vancouver to celebrate his Mom’s birthday. He filled his time modeling his real boat, Polaris, a 41′ Concordia Sloop, which he sails from his home port in New York. He chose (or rather, was given) a chunk of black locust which challenged his tool edges, but resulted in a gorgeous model!

Leif’s model joins the rest of the wonderful collection he has made over the years, all of which represent boats in his life. Here’s his description:

Here’s some pictures of the models I carved over the years, in chronological order (as far as I can recall) and some info about them. Except for Polaris, where I used several flat chisels, I recall making the other three mostly using a jackknife, they’re all approx 6” long. I’m not a prolific carver, but do like to carve every once in awhile. These are the only boat models I made, being boats I owned. The first and oldest is Storm Petrel, I think from early 80’s. They were all gifts to my dad, and they’re in his bedroom shop in Victoria now. As a note, I don’t think Polaris would have been possible without a vice, being how hard black locust is. 
It’s a great pastime, and encourage anyone to give it a try. Doesn’t have to be a boat, could be anything you love. Thanks for your interest and good luck.

Sola – West coast troller 1935 – I owned & salmon fished the boat from about 1976 to 1990. – Original built by Ole Wick, Oona River (Rupert Area), entirely of hand tools (his grandson John just told me Ole used no power, all hand sawn timbers, planks etc). The red cedar planking was perfect stem to stern, seams 1/8”. I don’t ever remember the boat ever leaking in all the years I had her – Don’t remember what kind wood of I used for the carving, or when I carved it. I just know I used a jack knife, and some oil paint. Maybe late 70’s?
Storm Petrel – Gaff rigged pinky schooner – original built of steel by Lloyd Arntzen in Lynn Valley 60’s/70’s. I lived aboard for a few seasons, mostly in Pender Harbor while working on Ancestor V – Model carved also sometime in 80’s – wood: Ash I think.
Ancestor V – Gaff rigged cargo sloop – original built Bequia on the beach no power tools, early 60’s, sailed to Vancouver in the 70’s by Jon Van Tamelin. I had the boat for about 5 years in the 70’s and sailed around Vancouver Island in her – Model carved sometime in the 80’s I think – wood: Yew wood topsides, walnut bottom.
Polaris – 1959 Concordia 41 sloop – original built in Bremerhaven, Germany – I’ve had this boat in Long Island NY since 2014. I carved the model in West Vancouver during Covid 19 quarantine while waiting to visit family in the Fall 2020. wood: Black locust. Notes: All items are black locust, mostly carved with chisels, file, sandpaper, hand drill, small hammer, saw, and vice.

Thank you Leif for sharing your photos, your techniques, and your inspiration to the rest of us to get modeling!

Next up is Mattias – apparently he grabbed a chunk of wood, looked out the door of our cozy little shop, and started carving the first boat he saw. He modeled Ern, the 33′ boat belonging to Tom & Georgina and Rob & Sharon.

Coming in with this work of art is Arnt, with his incredibly detailed model of his and Valerie’s lovely 23′ (or 32′, depending on who’s measuring) gaff cutter Anja!

Spurred on by all this wonderful work, I’ve decided to see if there’s a boat in that chunk of yellow cedar that Brent offered a while back.

I didn’t look too far for inspiration either – I chose Button Swan.

I’m having fun carving away at this block, and finding the shape of the boat!

If you’re inspired to do some carving, we have the start of a half-hull model at the boat shed – when Dave Bradford was closing his shop on Granville Island, we picked up some wood from him, and he offered a partially completed project. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to take this on!

It’s a fun hobby, and helps to fill the time until we’re able to get back to the shop to continue work on our Auk project. And it’s a lot easier to find space in the living room to display one of these! We might have to do some small boats that will actually sail – it would solve our problem of limited dock space. Have fun!

‘Twas the night before Christmas

Big thanks to Ingrid, our intrepid sailor of the great seas for this painting!

Thanks to Bruce and Sheila for this entertaining tale of woe (or as Joost puts it, Of mice and Seamen) from Heritage Harbour:

T’was the night before Christmas
and all around the dock
not a creature was stirring
not even Schokkenbroek

When out on the dock there arose such a clatter
We sprang from our bunk to see what was the matter
Away to the deckhouse we flew like heck
Tore open the door and stepped out on deck

The rain beat down from the clouds oer’head
We wished then we had stayed in bed
When what to our bloodshot eyes did avail
But a lovely red dory drawn by a half-dozen whale
With a little old sailor so grumpy and mean
We recognised him then as Santa-Ratso O’Green

He looked round the harbour with a glint in his eye
Then dumped out his sea-bag which was somehow dry
All over the dock now his Christmas gifts scattered
“A hundred little mice,” the old salt nattered

“Get aboard North Star, Ella, and Querencia
On Moonbeam, on Winsome, and Fantasea”
“Stop now!” we cried, “these are not presents
we’ve already got otters, a beaver, and herons”

“On Sylvester, Mysterion, Milo, Legenda,
Poseidon, Ruggen, Molly, Ern and Anja”
“Vast heaving,” we cried, “this will not do”
But up on the boats his visitors flew

As halyards rattle when not made fast
His charges surged forward, some right up the masts
We called then, “You swine, Santa-Ratso O’Green
Your presence not wanted, you are very mean!”

We stood and we stared at each other afloat
Us in our nightclothes, he in his boat
His beady eyes tracked us up and down
And his face wrinkled into a deep frown

“These mice are the best
They make beautiful nests
They scurry, they scrabble and though they are small
they’re heritage mice – a treat for you all”

He called to his whales and tugged on their reins
Around us fell more Vancouver rain
But we heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight

Merry Christmas to all, and hopes for a New Year that brings things back to normal eventually!

Merry Christmas, and good riddance 2020!

Our Christmas lights are up at the shed, along with our Grinch display – and although our regular Saturday workshops are on hold for a while, you’re welcome to come down to enjoy all the lights of the harbour!

If you’re a member of OSBUG, you are still able to take our boats out – we’ve had the good fortune to enjoy suitable weather the last couple of Saturdays, so Dale S. and I have gone out rowing or sailing – can’t beat mid-December boating!

The shed is also available if you’ve got small projects to do – Mattias has been working on a model. Please be mindful of cleanliness, both of the hand-sanitizing type as well as cleaning up any mess, and be sure to wear your mask.

As part of the Vancouver Maritime Museum programming, on Monday, Bill Rhone will be doing a live sketching presentation, doing a drawing of North Star of Herschel Island, while our wharfinger Bruce tells tales and information about North Star. Be sure to check it out!

Duane has posted another video, showing some of the wild weather at the harbour:

Take care, happy Holidays, and we hope to be able to resume our workshop activities in the new year!

Heritage Harbour Sketches

You may have seen a gentleman at the dock, sketching on his iPad: starting November 19 (Covid restrictions permitting), the Vancouver Maritime Museum will be hosting an exhibition of his work!

We had a visitor of another kind in the harbour a couple of weeks ago – Duane captured one of its visits.

And Dale S. has uploaded a wonderful bunch of videos and photos of action on the water the past few months:

Recent work on the Auk has been steaming ahead, literally – 3 more planks were steam bent and fastened over the last two weeks! She’s really taking shape!

Unfortunately, the Saturday work sessions won’t be happening for the next couple of weeks – recent Covid numbers rising and Provincial recommendations have prompted us to shut down for now. We’ll keep you posted on when we can continue.

October update

October has been REALLY good for sailing – there were a few days of great wind, and not too cold, as well as a few light-wind days, with all three of our sailboats plus Dale in his SCAMP. Always nice to be out there in a group!

We’ve had the pleasure of welcoming a bunch of new members over the last few months, and promptly put them to work, scrubbing Vogler, helping make a new cover for her, and of course, getting out and enjoying our boats!

Ongoing maintenance also includes new oar leathers, and some rigging adjustments on Ragna, swapping the halyard and downhaul sides, for easier rigging.

Vogler has joined the Auk in the shed, for a new coat of paint. Nice and cozy in there! The Auk is progressing, with a couple of challenges – one of the planks split at the stem, then was glued together, but the next week we found that the glue wasn’t up to the task. We ended up removing it completely, cleaning off the sealant, and preparing a new plank. Not the kind of work we want to be doing, but that’s the nature of wood – sometimes it just doesn’t work out the first time.

We get the occasional donation of tools at the shed – last week we were pleased to receive a nice set of Forstner drill bits, a combination square, a caulking iron, and a couple of riveting blocks – thank you!

A few videos to share:

Duane has done a video of our Heritage Harbour Classic race:

as well as another in his series of ‘life at the harbour’:

Vern shared this one, part of a series on Off Center Harbor:

And I recently came across this short video of making an oar:

Happy sailing!

4th annual Heritage Harbour Classic

It was Winsome III’s year at the 4th annual Heritage Harbour Classic last Saturday – though it certainly didn’t start out to be! She was one of the last off the dock, the starting horn had long gone by the time she hit the start line, and the usual light breeze was favouring the smaller boats, but Steve and his young crew fought bravely, crossing the line just a minute or so before the 2nd place boat. A dramatic come-from-behind win, for a boat that’s quite used to winning!

IF we were serious about handicapping, there’s no doubt that Enke sailed by Ingrid would be the clear winner!! With a waterline around a 1/4 of Winsome III’s, and a fraction of the sail area even without the big spinnaker, she still managed to finish just a few boat lengths behind, in 2nd place.

Coming in 3rd was the lovely Ern, skippered by Tom, and probably the winner if we we were counting distance travelled during the race. The light and shifting breeze had everyone hunting for wind.

Wishing that the course had been cut off at about the 3/4 length was Button Swan. With a strong start at the windward end alongside Anja, the little boat built up an enormous lead over the rest of the field, only to have the wind abate at the 3/4 distance, leaving her wallowing around for several minutes while the others caught up, took a different line, and passed her.

The Ella McKenzie served as committee / photography chase boat, and is always a beautiful sight out on the water! This year she also helped one of the fleet off the dock, necessitated by an out-of-service engine. Thanks Bourton!!

The rest of the fleet consisted of Querencia, Luna, Sylvester, Moonbeam, Dagon, and Anja. So many great looking boats out there!!

After the sailboats were all back at the dock, the rowboats came out to play – even the Fancy Pram got pulled out from under the bench in the shed and pressed into service! Everyone made it around the course without going for a swim, so that’s a pretty good record. First across the line was Mattias in Feather – nice rowing!

The proud winners of the sailing race, with their prizes – the pennant will be no doubt be hung with pride from Winsom III’s rigging!

Thanks to Valerie and Dale for the photos. Take a look at the rest of the collection on OLAS’s Google photos, including Enke’s sneaky move up close and personal with the freighter, and be sure to watch for the video Duane is putting together – in fact, go subscribe to his Youtube channel for his always-enjoyable video reports!

A big thanks to Bruce & Sheila for organising the race – it was a fantastic time!

Enke relaunch

After a whole bunch of minor projects that ended up taking 3 1/2 months, we’ve finally got Enke back in the water, and under sail! Feels great to get all that work done – the most obvious and time-consuming part was the floorboards, and in our excitement, we forgot to photograph the end result! Here you can see that they are removable, which makes it easier to bail and clean the boat.

The Auk project is coming along well, with a couple more planks steamed, gains cut, and ready for riveting. Our next challenge is finding boards wide enough to allow for the curve of the next couple of planks. We may resort to scarfing to get the angle.

A couple of weeks North Star was dressed up in some of her sails – nice to see Sheila’s hard work paying off!

The third installment of Rob’s tale of adventure around Vancouver Island is available here, starting on page 20:

A reminder that the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival is happening next weekend, as a virtual event. Hopefully next year it will happen for real, and some of our members will be able to take their boats, as was the plan for this year.

New pilings at the dock

Last week, 3 of the piles at the dock got replaced, as they were in bad shape. Thanks Duane for recording the action, and compiling this video!

Last week a couple more planks got steamed and bent in place on the Auk project. This week they were further fitted and the gains were cut.

Enke is getting closer to having her new floorboards in place – the black locust cleats are looking gorgeous with a coat of oil – too bad they’ll be out of sight!

When the tide is low, and the breeze calls, we do what we need to to get the boats out! With some help, Arnt and his friend were able to get out to enjoy one more sail before he leaves town for a while.

During the piling replacement, the boats were moved around to give the crew access, and North Star ended up next to Providence – they look so good together! At the museum, they’re using proper nautical measurements for physical distancing.

Due to the pandemic, the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival is going virtual – they’ll be showing a series of films, presentations and demos, including the premier of the Race to Alaska movie. Head over to for details and tickets. They’re also inviting submissions of boat or shop tours – hmm, do we show our stuff??

Hope you’re enjoying your summer – come on down to the dock on a Saturday to see what we’re up to!