One of our favorite traditions in the Pacific NW that marks the passing of summer is the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, held annually on the weekend after Labor Day. In years past we have sailed up or stopped on the way home from vacation and anchored in front of town for the weekend. This year we drove up on Sunday because there were two very special events that we were excited about.
First was the viewing of Tally Ho, a 1910 gaff cutter that is being completely rebuilt courtesy of YouTube videos we’ve been watching for several years.
Second was the reunion with my friend Gail (from my Prudhoe Bay days), who was aboard her friend Betsy’s wooden boat at the Wooden Boat Festival. I didn’t get a pic of Gail, but this is the boat. This turned into us having the opportunity to participate in the end of festival “Sail By” with Gail on Betsy’s beautiful wooden boat GloryBe.
Here is the YouTube channel for Sampson Boat Co. I ran across this six years ago and Rob and I have enjoyed the weekly videos that Leo produces. He has nearly half a million subscribers on his channel and thousands of patrons supporting him via Patreon.com (us included in both). The craftsmanship and quality of work on this now new wooden boat is off the charts, and it was exciting to actually get to see it in person.
Every piece of this boat has come from just a piece of wood this is oftentimes hand planed into the perfect shape. The videos show details of every step of building this out, including some interesting work by Pt Townsend Foundry who custom builds the bronze pieces that attach the ribs inside.
We always recommend anyone with an interest in wooden boats or woodworking check out the YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/@SampsonBoatCo. This is Leo (the sailor and boat builder) and I’m talking to him about the fleet of boats that will want to sail out of Puget Sound with Tally Ho. He said he hadn’t even thought about that yet. Hopefully we’ll be in the area and can sail with this beautiful boat when she finally leaves the Northwest.
GloryBe is another wooden boat, built on Vashon Island in the 1914, but this one has already been rebuilt – more than once. It’s owned by Betsy Davis, a college friend of my pal Gail Galleher (who is from Anchorage). Gail was helping Betsy show the boat at the Wooden Boat Festival and I was excited to catch up with Gail, having seen her only once since I left Prudhoe Bay in the late 1980’s. GloryBe has a great history, including being burned significantly in the Seattle Yacht Club fire in the early 1990’s. Besty has owned her for 25 years and keeps her at Port Hadlock now.
We had such a great time catching up with Gail that we stayed long enough for the end of the festival and the “Sail By”. All the boats in Point Hudson head out into Port Townsend Bay for a couple of loops. The breeze was absolutely perfect yesterday and the boats were sailing beautifully. With over 100 boats under sail and Betsy and Ace steering a power boat that had to yield to every one of those sailboats, I was happy to be crew and watch the show from the aft deck. And it was a beautiful show for sure. Pix on our website here: Wooden Boat Festival Pix