At the encouragement of friends, Jan and I visited the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) at South Lake Union (Seattle, WA) in February 2014. This was a quiet Sunday morning; chilled by the previous evening’s dusting of snow and yet, it is a hub of hands-on learning year-round. Boat rentals, classes and workshops, field trips, lectures, and opportunities for direct experience on the water and at the docks are just a few of the things you’ll find when you visit.
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.