Sleepless in Port Townsend, Wooden Boat Festival

April 5, 2013

Coming home to the comforts of good friends and familiar waters has a feeling that’s good for the soul. No doubt, Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival is good for the mind, body and spirit—a pilgrimage of sorts each year for the faithful, to a place and time that rejuvenates… IF you can get any sleep amongst the celebration.

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– I’ve been really trying baby. Trying to hold back these feelings for so long

– Sunrise here in Port Townsend the first morning of the show. The gates haven’t even opened yet and we just had a pretty good nights sleep on our old houseboat from 1909, Lotus here and we’re just comin’ up the beach, grab a cup of coffee. It’s pretty incredible to be a part of this whole scene out here. Let’s get it on  Let’s get it on  We’re all sensitive people  So much to give

– Walking the docks here, there’s so many great boats it makes your head spin. See you got these incredibly traditional long boats, the whole Sam Devlin corner of the festival with these kind of modern power cruisers, 120 foot Pacific Grace fishing schooner. Big boats, little boats, little pocket cruisers to big schooners, it’s all here in Port Townsend. ♫ Giving yourself to me ♫ Never be wrong

– 16 feet of micro tug love. This is the big gaffer ally here at the show. We’re just gonna have a walk down. This is 113 year old Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter. ♫ I’m asking you baby to get it on ♫ Please

– Check this thing out. It’s just got this amazing helm seat back here with it’s own cockpit. Just a really kind of high performance, very ultra traditional little day sailer. ♫ So come on, come on, come on, come on darling ♫ Stop beating around the bush

– [Eric] There’s lots of great wooden boat shows, but it’s the atmosphere of this one that makes it so unique. This isn’t just a boat show. It’s truly a festival. Where you can get aboard your favorite boats, talk to owners, learn from the experts. It’s a three day celebration of wood on the water.

– It’s a catamaran that I built this morning with my dad.

– If your shrouds are slack on the lured side, actually flopping loose, this is now capable of shock loads, which means fasteners, hull, keel, garber, everything wears our faster.

– We’re launching a new boat here. She’s gonna put it through its paces and show you guys about 10 different rolls.

– The point of forking the boat, as Jeff said, was to get, not to make the boat water tight, but to make the boat rigid. ♫ I’ve been really trying baby ♫ Trying to hold back these feelings for so long

– [Eric] The wooden boat festival was awesome and it is easy to see how since it began in 1977, the festival has become part of the fabric of Port Townsend and the entire Northwest boating scene. And for anyone who’s into wooden boats, this is the place they wanna be. I’ll be back next year for sure. ♫ If the spirit moves ya let me groove ya ♫ Let your love come on ♫ Let’s get it on ♫ Let’s get it on baby


35 Responses So Far to “Sleepless in Port Townsend, Wooden Boat Festival”:

  1. Avatar Steven Clancy says:

    Each year thankfully for me OCH provides this video associated with the PT festival. At 00:38 are two chaps stand up sculling their boats. The chap in the background is my son-in-law Ben, with the Matinicus double ender I built in the early 90’s. The boat has since moved on to other owners and Ben still has the wooden boat “bug” or as we say “BAS” (boat acquisition syndrome). I warned him when he married into the family that if he touched or used any of our wooden boats, he would likely contract the “bug”. And did he ever.
    Thanks again OCH for promoting the PT Wooden Boat Festival and including this video.

  2. Avatar Dennis Miczulski says:

    The blaring music kind of ruined the video–much bettered muted!!!!

  3. Avatar Bill Thurlow says:

    Why don’t we start our own wooden boat festival here in Maine?

  4. Avatar Lindsay Wright says:

    Great video thanks…good to see people looking after these wonderful boats

  5. Avatar George Hume says:

    Not a mask in sight, no concern for social distances. The “Good Old Days.’ sigh…

  6. Avatar stew westphal says:

    I flew out from Ft Pierce, Fl. Stayed with my ex wife and her guy for 2 weeks in Vancouver, Wa. My main reason was the wooden boat festival. Well, I fell for the entire area of Northern Wa. I would like to truck my 24′ wooden Bill Healey sloop out there and moor her in Port Townsend. We’ll see. Also, drive my old VW Westy camper there and explore the entire area. Again, we’ll see. My area of Florida is mighty fine. But, thank you very much for the great video. Yes, the pause line was used often.

  7. Avatar Cap'n Rick Urban says:

    Great Video I have been attending the St. Michaels Maritime Museums Small Boat Festival for the last 25 years, In Maryland. First Saturday in October. Friday night I grill up over two-hundred hot dogs for people arriving. On Saturday we give Chanty demos by the boat shed and then at night after most people go back to there tents we have a session in the Steamboat auditorium that goes into the wee hours of night. Can’t wait 3 more weeks.

  8. Avatar randall spurr says:

    Thank you OCH,very much appreciated!

  9. Avatar Arthur Winer says:

    It takes four ferry trips to get to the show from Orcas Island and back but worth it of course. The show was terrific and I have to agree with others–wish you would do a longer video next year, even for those of us fortunate enough to be there.

    On Orcas we have the pleasure of having quite a few of these boats stop by for a rendezvous, race and salmon barbecue in between the Victoria and Port Townsend shows. Talk about doubly blessed!

    Thanks for the video.

  10. Avatar Clay Ford says:

    Sadly, this year we weren’t able to attend. My dear wife is recovering from surgery to remove a melanoma (successfully!) and felt it not wise to go. Some lucky person got our room at the Coupville Inn. Be back next year for sure.

  11. Avatar Rick Robinson says:

    And you guys actually get PAID to do this…..Wonderful. Thanks for the great coverage.

  12. Avatar William Svoboda says:

    Would have like to know about the wooden boat show, like what company,s work on wooden boats or what about the bronze factory that was there? How can I get my old wooden boat fixed?

    • Avatar Peter Leenhouts says:

      William, a little late, but the companies include the Port Townsend Shipwright’s Co-Op (which is restoring my boat, RIPTIDE) and Haven Boatworks LLC (which usually cares for the 1913 ADVENTURESS as well as a parade of classics such as BLUE PETER), while the foundry is the Port Townsend Foundry. Most are listed by Port Townsend Marine Trades online here:

  13. Avatar Gibby Conrad says:

    We will be there Saturday representing the Gulf Coast. Can’t wait.

  14. Avatar Laurits Jorgensen says:

    It’s too short. Five minutes and 13 seconds just doesn’t cover the subject. A show like that needs 30 minutes at minimum. The jump shots just passed by too fast and didn’t let the viewer get a feel for what was going on.

    It left me frustrated, but not enough to spend $2K to go there nor drive 3000 miles to get there from Florida. However, I would probably pay for a 30-60 minute video.

    Laurits Jørgensen
    Wistfully green with envy

  15. Avatar Danny Wiggins says:

    Really liked that shot of Zodiac. Wonderful to see her with a full foresail.

    I must try to come to the festival someday.

  16. Avatar John Simlett says:

    Too far from the West Wales coast to across the Atlantic. Hopefully we’ll make it next year.

    Meanwhile, I’m off to the Southampton Boat-show, UK on the 19th … it won’t be all wooden boats there though, unfortunately they’ll have Tupperware boats as well. ;)

    Great video! Thanks for sharing the flavour (flavor)

  17. Avatar Robert Hazard says:

    Nice tour of the Festival, but too short! I just watched it twice, the second time with the cursor poised over the Pause button, so I could stop and take a longer look.
    I have one other comment, which is that I’d like to hear the music being played by the folks on screen, like the woman frailing on the banjo, or that one-man band. Let’s hear them!
    Mostly, though, I just want more! Don’t make me fly out there! ;^)

  18. Avatar Dave Johnson says:

    Drove up from Grass Valley California and spent three days at Fort Warden. What a great place to stay and only 10 minutes from the boat show. The show was great plus there are so many things to do and see in this area.

  19. Avatar Eugenio Devargas says:

    Flew up from California, stayed in Gig Harbor. This entire area is a boat lovers paradise. Absolutely loved the show, so many wooden boats to look at and amazingly friendly people. Even had a beautifully restored Maine Lobster Boat (my fav)
    Went to Mystic last year. Now I have two pilgrimages to make every year, awesome!

  20. Avatar Dennis Dahl says:

    Thanks so much for the wonderful hat! I really appreciate the fact that it is the style of hat I actually wear. Well done!

    Dennis Dahl

  21. Avatar JIM REUSCHER says:

    I haven’t missed one since my first visit in ’95. Your video just stokes the fire of desire. Only 2 more months and I go into my “Happy Dance”
    Will be bringing my sloop again this year and anchor out. Best way to see the ENTIRE festival.
    Thanks for the great video

  22. Avatar Patrick Vensel says:

    I have traveled to the Puget Sound area many times and taken the ferry out of Port Townsend most trips. The area is magnificent. There are so many things to do on the water and off. It is a bucket list destination for any boater for sure.

  23. Avatar Michael Ryan says:

    Great… and it wasn’t even raining.

  24. Avatar Art Plewka says:

    This video, the music,light,boats, Eric’s presentation put me in the best frame of mind every time I watch it. Thanks!

  25. Avatar Leonard Sinowitz says:

    looks as good as Mystic Ct. Wood Boat Show—I would like to go to yours someday.

  26. Avatar terry brower says:

    I could easily watch a 1 1/2 hour video of the Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival ! If OCH ever makes dvds I’ll be in the market.

  27. Avatar Douglas von Borstel says:

    This looks like a great time! It is a long haul from northern New York but looks worth the effort.

  28. Avatar Chris Clodfelter says:

    If I weren’t in school in Brooklin for this year’s show I would be there for sure after seeing this video.

  29. Avatar Charles Barclay says:


    Editing a bit fast, ie the shots should linger longer. Showing us a 2 second clip of R Boat is a wonderful, but achingly, longingly, too brief.

    Many thanks for another fine video.

  30. Avatar Eric Blake says:

    We truely had a blast in Port Townsend and cannot wait to get back out there again this fall. It is one incredible festival.

  31. Avatar William Reynolds says:

    Thank you for sharing the Port Townsend Wooden Boat festival.

  32. Avatar William Lavender says:

    Thanks for the great tour!

    Jealous in East Tennessee

  33. Avatar william Parker says:

    Das VasGUT

  34. Avatar Lee Fox says:

    Thanks for a great view of the Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival ! Every wooden boat enthusiast needs to add this event to their bucket list.

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