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Thread: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

  1. #1

    Default List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Hi,

    Some of you may have seen my articles on the 'Irish gandelow' in WBs 249-250 ... and of the restoration of the Irish ketch 'A K Ilen' in Limerick and at Hegarty's boatyard in south-west Ireland ...

    I'm now seriously thinking of upping sticks and moving myself and my boat workshop (not the lovely building itself - though I know it has been done! ;-) to the west coast of the US of A ...

    Is there a list somewhere of active traditional wooden boatyards along the coast that I could set up nearby?

    FYI, I'd be thinking of providing support as a volunteer, I'm not looking for paid work!

    Thanks for any info ...

    Best, Patrick B

  2. #2
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    The biggest concentration of W. Coast wooden boatbuilding is in Pt. Townsend, WA. There are a few of us in Portland, OR. Someone from California will have to comment on the current situation there.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    SoCal is not so great for trad boats. Many marinas have banned wooden boats. Knowledgeable workers can still be found, but their death rate exceeds their birth rate. Waterfront land is too valuable to waste on shipyards.
    Schooner sailors love to get blown offshore!

  4. #4

    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Hi Thanks for info, sorry to be slow to reply ...

    I was assuming San Francisco northwards, but that soCal bans wooden boats - are they scared of them looking much better than a plastic bathtub? - seems rather strange. Must be a reason ...

    I think I'll start by looking into the Portland area ...

    Is there a catalog / trade association somewhere that lists boatyards?

    Thanks again, Patrick B

  5. #5
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    There are a few yards in the SF Bay Area that will work with wooden craft. Sausalito has the Spaulding Center -

    https://www.spauldingcenter.org/

    I'm sure they'd welcome enthusiastic and experienced volunteers.

    I've seen Stroma of Mey (google her and drool) hauled out at the Berkeley Marine Center, but the BMC is in a terrible place for anybody to set up nearby for an accessory shop. I've also seen several wooden trawlers hauled out at the BMC. San Francisco Boatworks will also haul wooden boats, but again, terrible place to set up an accessory shop. The local "rent" used to be reasonable but the whole South Beach redevelopment has pushed rent through the ceiling, I bet it's 20x more expensive there than it was, 15 years ago. There are still a few yards in the Delta that handle wood boats, as there are tons of old Chris Craft wooden powerboats in the Delta, but I'm not familiar with most of them.

    Up in the Puget Sound area, where most of the activity is centered around Port Townsend, don't disregard the Gig Harbor boatshop.

    https://www.gigharborboatshop.org/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Oh, in Fort Bragg is the Makela boat works. I have no idea whatsoever how they manage to stay in business.

    http://www.makelaboatworks.com/html/services.html

  7. #7

    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Great, just the kind of leads I was looking for, much appreciated ...

    Makela's 'Legend' boat very similar to the A K Ilen I worked on for months in Ireland ... except that the Ilen was a working boat!

    http://www.ilen.ie/wp-content/upload...al-voyaage.jpg
    Last edited by pbeautement; 11-15-2021 at 02:15 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Virtually every major city on Puget sound has active shipwrights. I used to work down in Seattle and have now moved to Bellingham. There are also active shops in Anacortes, and Everett, along with folks out in the islands. However most shops don't have much social media presence.

    Nicholas

  9. #9
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by pbeautement View Post
    Hi Thanks for info, sorry to be slow to reply ...

    I was assuming San Francisco northwards, but that soCal bans wooden boats - are they scared of them looking much better than a plastic bathtub? - seems rather strange. Must be a reason ...
    The word from marina owners is that they're afraid of the woodies being abandoned. I'm not sure just how sound this reasoning is but it's what they say. One spot I checked wouldn't even accept a boat in bristol condition. I guess they have experience to back up their policy.
    Schooner sailors love to get blown offshore!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by SchoonerRat View Post
    The word from marina owners is that they're afraid of the woodies being abandoned. I'm not sure just how sound this reasoning is but it's what they say. One spot I checked wouldn't even accept a boat in bristol condition. I guess they have experience to back up their policy.
    There's a marina near me that started to ban wood boats - for the reason you mentioned. However, a month after they sent out the letter telling WB owners they'd have to leave, 2 fiberglass boats sank at their moorings. When people (not just WB owners) pointed out that the idea was stupid & that the WBs at the marina were in better shape than most of the FG ones, they retracted the ban. IMO, the anti-wood boat bias is based more on ignorance than anything else.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  11. #11
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    I'm biased, but I figure I've seen more fiberglass derelicts in marinas than wooden ones. On the other hand, part of the calculus for marina owners is that a derelict fiberglass boat can often sit at the dock for years and years without a problem besides being an eyesore, while a wooden derelict is probably much more likely to sink.

  12. #12

    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Ah, that sounds like fear of litigation driving that? Or just a wish to be tidy!

    Re relocating to USA I'm looking at what's involved in going from 240 volts / 50Hz UK to 110v / 60Hz US.

    Looks very doable. Only things I'd not want to buy again are workshop machines and few high amp housefold items (kettles / vacc cleaners).
    There seem to be some really good semi-industrial step-up transformers available for not a huge amount of money, eg:
    https://bronson-energy.com/product-c...wn-converters/

    Plus so many electronics gadgets have 'universal' chargers and with LED lights so much stuff is low power it's very little of an issue.
    For the workshop, I saw on a post today that some utility pole transformers have a 240v central tap which you can ask to be connected ...

    Anyway, doesn't look like I'll have to buy much new.

    Thanks again guys, Patrick

    PS: 'vacc cleaners' means hoovers right, is that what you call them ... ?
    nothing to do with Covid vaxx!
    Last edited by pbeautement; 11-17-2021 at 10:22 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    PS: The original 'not looking for paid work' comment, should maybe have been:
    'I'm not *necessarily* looking for paid work' ... it's always welcome!


  14. #14
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    US wiring in 99.9% of buildings is one neutral with 2 120 volt hots. Many machines run on 240 (though it's often referred to as 220) - but it's 3 wire 240, not 2. There's also 3 phase 208 & other voltages, but standard is the 3 wire 240.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  15. #15
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    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    There's a marina near me that started to ban wood boats - for the reason you mentioned. However, a month after they sent out the letter telling WB owners they'd have to leave, 2 fiberglass boats sank at their moorings. When people (not just WB owners) pointed out that the idea was stupid & that the WBs at the marina were in better shape than most of the FG ones, they retracted the ban. IMO, the anti-wood boat bias is based more on ignorance than anything else.

    I spoke at length with one marina manager about this. Apparently, a neglected woodie will go BAD fast and be abandoned, while a ping pong ball can languish for decades while the owner still thinks that he owns a boat and continues paying slip fees. I can see some logic to that reasoning, but you don't ban all caucasions from serving as police cuz a white cop once shot a black man in cold blood.

    Maybe it's a love of new, high tech gadgets; maybe we're daunted by the extra maintenance; there is a general unfriendliness toward wooden boats down here.
    Schooner sailors love to get blown offshore!

  16. #16

    Default Re: List of USA west coast active traditional boatyards anywhere?

    @Garret,
    Ah, re wiring ... I understand now, have to be careful about that, thank you. The online page I looked at wasn't that clear.
    In UK, many workshops have 3-phase supply for the bigger machines where any two phases give 450v AC, have to be careful not to mix supply cables from different phases! Usually hard wired into the machines via armoured cables.

    @SchoonerRat ... agree, that makes good business sense. ;-)

    Hegarty's boatyard (in Ireland I mentioned) takes a different approach. Their yard, by an old 17th century corn store, is full of many partly finished wooden renovation projects wedged together on their quayside. That way, they keep the dreams of arcmchair shipwrights alive ... as well as providing a fund of lines templates!

    https://eoceanic.com/images/harbours...d__DSC8351.jpg


    Ciao, Patrick

    PS: Must start a separate post in the designs / plans section about my progress on electrifying a racing hull ... maybe next week ... or soonish ...

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