Near and Far: June of 1997 - West Wind Hardwood

If you don’t know by now, this will seal it.  Boats run in the blood of the Nielsen’s and Lars ran true to form launching his first home-build, a Bartender in 1997; built in big brother’s backyard with a little help from dad.

The Bartender was a revolutionary design by George Caulkins when she was developed in the mid-1950’s and is still as practical and popular choice. Compact and seaworthy – notice the flared, double-ended dory type hull – she was built to navigate the rough bars off the coasts of Washington and Oregon; originally tested by US Coast Guard and approved as a coastal patrol boat.

Lars opted for the 22’ long version as these are good boats for a skilled amateur builder; remember this was his first.  Fancy, expensive tools were not needed; construction from common material a bonus.  Lars used marine grade plywood over sawn mahogany frames; the laminated stem and stern post from white oak.  The hull and deck were sheeted with West System Epoxy 9 ounce cloth.  The steering station, cockpit and cuddy cabin were traditionally trimmed with mahogany; sides and ceiling painted white; teak and holly plywood on the floor.   She had all the comforts of home – well as a one-person home – with a v-berth, fridge, sink and head.

Christened ‘Marika I’, she was powered by a Crusader 350 gas engine direct drive.  She could top out at 30 knots with comfortable cruising to be had at 15 knots. And beyond the pleasure of getting out on the water, Lars had the added distinction of selling her for a profit!!  A truly rare event in a world where  BOAT = Bring On Another Thousand!!


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