Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Tugging At Human Heartstrings

I noticed from some of my posts that we were here in Washington state at the exact same time last year.  In fact, one year ago yesterday, I wrote a post about the boat in the picture above.  Yesterday, I found out a little more about it while browsing a website for one of the local marinas.

Apparently the boat, The Western Flyer, is where John Steinbeck did the research for his 1951 book "The Log of the Sea of Cortez".  He spent six weeks in 1940 covering 6,000 miles in an expedition of the Sea of Cortez, collecting marine specimens with his friend, marine biologist Ed Ricketts.  According to Wikipedia, it is "regarded as one of Steinbeck's most important works of non-fiction chiefly because of the involvement of Ricketts, who shaped Steinbeck's thinking and provided the prototype for many of the pivotal characters in his fiction, and the insights it gives into the philosophies of the two men."

The boat was built in 1937 in Tacoma, Washington, by Western Boat Building Company and is now at the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven for a 2 year, $2 million restoration.  Regarding the decision to have the boat restored in this Pacific Northwest town known for its history of wooden boat building, current owner John Gregg, 54, of Moss Landing, California said,
“I saw people with chisels and hand tools and loads of knowledge, and it was clear to me that Port Townsend was the right place to do this."

When Ed and I drove around the marina looking at the boats in dry dock, we had no idea the history this one held.  The turquoise strip of color above the little round portholes is what originally caught my eye, prompting me to want to take a picture of it.  When we got closer I saw that it was in dire need of help.  It was filthy, covered in mud, and I couldn't imagine someone wanting to take on the task of cleaning it up.  That it could possibly be a worthy project.  Then again, I'm just not that into boats or working that hard.  Perhaps if I had a million dollars like the owner, making it possible to hire someone else do the work, I might consider it.

This is the most informative article regarding the boat that I've found so far - A New Life for the Boat Immortalized by John Steinbeck

If you're interested in a few others, you can check these out:

Famed literary boat getting $2M makeover in Port Townsend

Shipwright takes on Western Flyer restoration

Western Flyer Renovation Underway

Work begins again on Western Flyer; boat once used by author John Steinbeck eyed for education

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2014: Don't Be Crabby Because It's Monday

2013: If You See One Of These, Please Follow Instructions
2012: Not A Deterrent
2011: Wooden You Love Some New Toys?
2010: In Truck Portrait
2009: Unwatchable
2008: Nesting
2007: The Quickest Way To Get Ready For A Nap
2006: One Stop Shopping
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

1 comment:

Gil said...

Just love seeing such pieces of history being saved!