Port Townsend Wood Boat Show
Sept 7-9, 2012
For years now, I have been avoiding the boat show at Port Townsend
because I didn't want to be around a bunch of furniture makers who'd
decided to put their artwork in the water. As manager of the Boathouse,
I have a duty to represent, so Curt, David and I bundled up and
That's a pretty impressive array of boats.
Hey look! An unfinished SCAMP. I'd heard Small
Craft Advisor (finest small boat magazine in print today) had
invited John Welsford
up to do a SCAMP camp where they built 10 SCAMPs all at the same
time. This must be one of those.
Another SCAMP. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting one
I ran into Steve C. a fellow Skin-on-Frame enthusiast. He showed
me his really neat rowing boat. He has some great innovations I
might incorporate into my designs.
Steve uses 1x1/2s for his stringers. I haven't run this through
my drawing program to see if it is more economical, wood-wise, but
it is an interesting idea. The real cool thind is the floor - Steve
puts his floorboard OUTSIDE his keel, giving his boat a flat bottom.
This will both increase the stability and increase the legroom.
We'd brought both Mollyhawks,
one for display on the hard and one for people to play with in the
water. Curt and David made sure everything was Bristol fashion.
We had a prime display spot - right next to another SCAMP.
A very good representation of mid-Willamette Valley Coots
- Dennis B's electric tug on one side, and Bob M's lapstrake double
-ender with a fine looking sail on the other. John K. had his boat
over on another dock.
This is a pretty spiffy expedition boat. The part I like best?
There is a pair of panties hung up to dry down near the end of the
tiller handle. That indicates a fine boat, right there.
OK, I'll admit it: One reason I wanted to go to Port Townsend was
to meet John Welsford himself. We'd only ever emailed back and forth
before. Here he is giving a talk abouthte sailing qualities of the
It was SCAMPfest over at the Small Craft Advisor booth. Scamps
Scamps Scamps, as far as the eye could see.
There were a lot of activities at the show, lots of classes, including
this one in the sail loft. They weren't talking about polytarp sails,
so I left.
I walked the docks a bit,looking at the purty boats. This is a
nice art shot.
These guys were what I had expected to see at Port Townsend: Sitting
under the bimini on their 20ft Chris Craft, eating grapes and drinking
champagne. Good to know I wasn't disappointed.
Back over where we had our display, things were getting active
on the beach.
It took some doing, but with effort, we could get people to go
rowing in the Mollyhawk. These guys took their PFDs off once they
were about 10ft from shore.
I had the most success getting families with young children to
go out in the boats. I'd go up to the kid and ask "Hey, wanna
go on a rowboat? Tell your dad I have a boat and life jackets -
As the wind picked up in the afternoon, the sailboats came out
- oh, my, what a wonderful sight. They have some HUGE schooners
up there - beautiful boats.
As the day wound down, the boats came in and the sails were furled.
Good work if you can get it.
Sunday morning, bright and early. Curt was looking every bit the
"Man and the Sea," complete with a model of the Mollyhawk
peaking out over his shoulder.
There were SCAMP sailing exhibitions planned for the day, but I
took off in a Mollyhawk and went out for a row.
I had intended to keep rowing as far as I could, but this damn
ferry fired up her engine right as I got near, then started doing
maneuvers. I decided to turn around and head back.
Rick L. came down from Canada with with OozeGooze 1. He never did
put her in the water, but she got a lot of attention on the beach.
This guy is a rowing racer - he does those splinter boat things,
like in the Olympics. He didn't want to take the Mollyhawk out "Because
rowboats row like pigs" so I asked his kids if they wanted
to go out. When he got back, he said the Mollyhawk was the finest
rowing boat he'd been in (not counting his racers, I assume.)
A Bolger Teal showed up and hoisted sail. After some floundering
around, he found the wind and sailed off. I never saw him again
- I hope he's OK.
David took this picture of the activity at our display. I think
it is a fantastic shot - my favorite part this the intense discussion
in the upper left.
Towards the afternoon, boats started launching and sailing about
in prep of leaving the show. John K. took his boat out so he could
get some photos - that's him in the middle right.
Did I mention there were a bunch of Scamps at the show? Here's
some SCAMP drawings some kids did. They were supposed to color the
boat and answer the question: Where would you like to go in this
This was my favorite: "In this boat, I would like to go to
Chocolate World to eat all kinds of chocolate." Right on, kid,
In the two and a half days I was there, I got to visit very little
with John Welsford - we were both working the show and simply didn't
have time for talking. At the very end, as we were loading up to
go home, we did have a few seconds to talk. John is a hell of a
guy, even helping load up a Mollyhawk. There's a reason he's one
of my heroes.
That's it: My first Port Townsend Wood Boat Show. It was pretty
cool and is probably something I will do again.