Preview: The Influence of Uncle Bill Barker

William H. Barker, thanks for my life with boats…

When asked to give some thought to someone who was a big influence on my involvement with boats, I immediately thought of Howard Chapelle and John Gardner. While much of what I have learned has been lifted from their prolific writings, I may not have been led to them without the influence of my mother’s brother, Uncle Bill.

Photo of Bill Barker
Bill Barker aboard the Wm. Hand designed PATIENCE

Bill Barker grew up sailing in Westport, Massachusetts. I have a 1920’s advertisement for Wamsutta Yacht Duck with a picture of Bill and his brother Jack sailing their F.L.Tripp skiff BLACK JACK. When a bit older, the brothers sailed a small schooner named SUGGLER. These were exciting names to the young of the next generation. There was some pirate blood in Uncle Bill.

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3 Responses So Far to “The Influence of Uncle Bill Barker

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    Eddie Sheufelt says:

    Hi Harry, Eddie from Nubian here. A voice from the past, we met cruising in 89-90 in the Pacific. I’m still with Eileen and still into boats. Rebuilding a Benford Ladybug 32 for Alaska cruising. Love the space you have put together.

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    Andrew Shemella says:

    I took the 2 day course in wooded boatbuilding at Mystic and John Gardner was the instructor. How lucky was that! I went on to build a the 14′ Marblehead Skiff, which was probably the ugliest rendition of that design ever created. But thanks to John, I did it and learned a lot more than boatbuilding.

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    Geoff Kerr says:

    I got to shake John Gardner’s hand back in my youth as well…as a baby Coast Guard officer who happened to be stationed on a ship in New London I was lucky enough to be the closest available applicant when a last minute cancellation made a slot available in one of his three day weekend boatbulding classes. It was like entering the Cave of Wonders! What a wonderful, unassuming teacher he was!