From Air to Water - West Wind Hardwood

In Memoriam

Water bomber in Thunder Bay Ontario -a

air-to-water-largeMy father (1919-2013) was born with salt water in his veins.  Boats were it for him.  And although not formally trained as a naval architect he was a self-taught boat designer and member of the Society of Small Craft Designers.  My childhood holds memories of him spending long evenings – night after night – hunched over his drafting table deep in the dungeon of our basement.

One of his customers was William (Bill) Smith – an airborne pilot and member of the BC Forest Service.  Bill had a dream and came to dad.  Together they came up with a design and a plan.  Unfortunately, he contracted Lou Gehrig’s Disease and as I was still ‘knee high to a grasshopper’ my details are sketchy.  I do however remember the hours both my Dad and Bill spent on this project.  Sadly Bill died far too young before achieving his dream.

I do not recall what happened to Bill’s family or the boat – which was never finished.  I do have a vague recollection of Margaret (Bill’s wife) finding a seller for the hull.  As I was sorting through my dad’s boxes and file cabinets (I’m talking income taxes from 1957; utility bills from the 80’s) I did come across this photo (below right) and felt it deserved sharing.

We all have dreams.  Certainly Jan has more than his fair share.  Long may they live.  And if we only see a quarter to closure, we are surely blessed.

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