In 1980, while pregnant with our first daughter, Jan started the lofting process for Puddleduck. She was a 21.5’ Howard Chappelle hull and Bill Garden topside; launched in 1984. The young gentlemen on the sailboat are two fellows we hosted for 3-months through Canada World Youth. This non-profit organization pairs Canada with a partner country; spending 3-months in both countries. Participants live with host families, taking part in unique opportunities as a volunteer; discovering other cultures; learning another language. Our token Canadian is Lloyd; Our Philippine friend is Greg. We still keep in touch with Greg.
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.
Silva Bay Shipyard School – July 2016 – Photo by Jan Nielsen
Not so open any longer; the school has closed its doors and is the home to local businesses.
A True Renaissance Man
After completing a four-year boatbuilding apprenticeship that started in 1980, Tony Grove honed his skills as a shipwright, specializing in wooden boat restoration/construction, boat interiors building and custom furniture design. This led him to instructing at the Silva Bay Shipyard School on Gabriola Island BC. Tony taught traditional Boatbuilding plus a course (the first of its kind) that he designed on Ship Cabinetry/Joinery. Tony eventually became the school’s head instructor; leaving the school in 2005 to spend time with his family, working for himself as a custom woodworker, boatbuilder, artist, writer and teacher. A true renaissance man!
With the Silva Bay Shipyard School closed, the circle has come full round with The Grove Woodworking School tucked amongst the trees on beautiful Gabriola Island, B.C. Courses and Workshops focus on woodworking skills and techniques for the marine environment, with all skills being transferable to general woodworking. A few non-marine programs will be offered as well. Course material is designed principally for novices; those for advanced learners will be noted.
We came across an article in Wooden Boat Magazine and it reminded us of the amazing work that the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre does with students at Maple Bay Elementary. We couldn’t be more proud, since we support this event every year with a donation of plywood.
In the 60’s, William (Bill) Garden, renown Pacific northwest naval architect watched out his office window (in Seattle) as a Canadian dredge loaded with four lapstrake boats was towed enroute to the ship-wreckers across the canal. Buying the entire load, one of them was renamed Mary Anne. This was unfailing good luck as the family required a tender for our summer camp on the West coast of Vancouver Island.
In November 2015, Stephen Seaton of Ocala Florida reached out to West Wind Hardwood. As a note, his reference to Bill is of William (Bill) Garden, the renowned naval architect. He was a dear friend and mentor to Jan; died April 29, 2011 at age 92. A man who cherished privacy and did not suffer fools; he is genuinely missed.
(left)West Wind’s Corporate Camp Trip – “Mary Anne” – Montague Harbour, Galiano Island Photos by Jan Nielsen – June 2011
Here’s what Stephen had to say:
“I ran across this photo on one of your web-sites and hope you can help me. I worked for Bill the summers of 1964-65-66 and had a boat that looked just like “Mary Anne”, color of hull, canvas forward, length and general look all the same BUT I remember her engine was a single piston, even the Vivian Engine sound familiar. That sound of the engine is still with me as music to my ears.