I had a part time gig driving an old 65' halibut schooner a couple years ago for a biofuel research outfit. The company decided to retire the boat last year and asked me if I could think of anything that could be done with the vessel. The problem was that at 100 years old, she is too big for a sensible yacht conversion and too impractical for today's commercial fishing requirements.
She is however one of the oldest halibut schooners remaining from the North Pacific fleet - She has traditional Scandinavian lines and small offset aft wheelhouse that was designed to accommodate a stack of sailing dories on the stern. Here is a shot I took a couple years ago when we were preparing to do a test harvest for seaweed:
The idea I came up with was to use the historic boat as a floating transient farmers market. With a large hold and a huge amount of deck space, it seemed that she would be an ideal platform for dockside transactions of locally grown produce.
Back when the boat was built, small farms around the Puget Sound region transported their crops to market by boat. There were no roads back then--everything went by water. My idea is to re-establish the old trade routes between the waterfront communities along Puget Sound. The project is called "Farmboat". (You can see more about it at www.farmboat.org)
My eventual goal is to have three large historic workboats servicing about eighteen different ports along Puget Sound on a weekly basis. -- delivering CSA packages, offering local agricultural products and crafts as well as carrying adventure seeking travelers from port to port and maybe even hosting maritime music entertainment and cookouts on occasion.
I have been getting tons of volunteers signing up on the web site as well as people wanting CSA deliveries in their port towns. (CSA stand for "Community Supported Agriculture" - it's a an increasingly popular trend for local farms). Many of the ports love the idea because it can be a cool attraction for visitors as it supports local maritime history and sustainable farming. One of my objectives is to get some of the ports to agree to an annual "Floating Market Day" where we can invite many boats to join in selling foods and crafts.
Anyway, so there's my idea to save old work boats. What I am looking for are ideas, comments and suggestions as to how to make it a reality. I am just in the process of forming the organization, writing a business plan and securing funding.
P.S. Here is our new logo!