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Preview: EL MISTICO – A Ballard Bridge Deck Cruiser in Puget Sound

March 3, 2023

EL MISTICO, a live aboard cruiser built on the West Coast in 1927, is eloquent proof of the old adage that good boats fall into the hands of good owners who then pass them on to subsequent stewards to maintain them down through the generations: a fortuitous tradition that guarantees that the boats we love will be around for a good long while.


We were struck by a note we received from Mike Bell (a friend of James) during the editing of this video. Mike was aboard the day we filmed and helped us organized the shoot.  His description of James Poirson really says it all, so we asked if we could pass it along:

“I met James at a wooden boat festival at our local marina near my home in Edmonds, WA. I often walk the dogs there early in the morning. There were a dozen or so classic wooden boats moored up that morning. James was the only skipper stirring. He invited me aboard for coffee and we initiated a fun friendship.

That was about ten years ago.

I see him now about four or five times a year when he ventures across the pond to Seattle. When I’m aboard, he hands me the helm so he can relax. Particularly when it’s time to pass through the Hiram Chittenden Locks. I’m honored. I have much experience there. He appreciates that.

He operates on a budget. Cosmetics are sometimes on hold. But he spares no expense when it comes to mechanics. He knows everything there is to know about his boat in that arena, and stays on top of it. I call the boat mechanically, very safe and sound. I’m a retired engineer. I appreciate that.

He hopes to own and operate the boat when it reaches its century mark in 2029. He is still in touch with the boat’s manufacturer in Ballard, WA. They have their eyes on him.

He is well read, well spoken, enjoys classical music (a cello player in the symphony) and enjoys a glass of wine. He is extremely generous and welcoming. Delightful. He is lucky to have this boat. And the boat is lucky to have him.”

Mike Bell

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