Old wooden fishboat on dry land

The Project (click to enlarge)

What is it about the BC coast that inspires so many dreamers?

In one community after another, you can see the evidence: an old boat that someone once planned to restore to its former glory.

We came upon this long-retired fishboat (above) in the dusty back reaches of the shipyard at Shearwater, on BC’s Central Coast – but you don’t have to go that far to find other, similar old boats. They’re in back yards and boat yards everywhere, and they represent a lot of abandoned or forgotten dreams.

Those dreams have been built, perhaps, on a passion for this coast’s history and an overabundance of optimism – and more than a touch of impracticality.

Keeping an old wooden boat healthy is a labour of love that requires ongoing vigilance and a huge input of time.  (I know this well: for a number of years, we owned a converted 1927 West Coast fishing troller.)  Bringing an old wooden boat back from the brink of death is even more challenging.

Our coast is hard on wooden boats, especially once they’re pulled up onto shore. They need the salt water:  without it, hulls dry out, caulking falls from the expanding seams, fasteners rust and planks spring. With our copious rains, wooden cabin walls, window frames and decks become riddled with fungus, resulting in dry rot – a straight course to the end for any wooden vessel.

Still, even in their dying days, many of these old boats have beautiful lines. And what a history they hold!

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About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer focused on nature and nautical on the BC coast

15 responses »

  1. Davidmccasland says:

    Hey there! I was checking out your photos and I noticed the picture of the double ender. I am looking for that exact boat for an art project. Do you know if it is still around?

  2. dianeschuller.com says:

    I’ve always been drawn to these old beauties. It’s also very costly, in addition to being time consuming, to keep them maintained or to bring them back to near glory as they once were. Hello to a fellow coastal gal (though I’m brand new to the coast, having longed for it my entire life).

  3. I’m taken with what looks like the precarious nature of its perch. Looks like a stiff wind could easily topple it yet it’s obviously been like that for years. That hull has a world of textural images waiting to be snapped.

    • Thanks, Doug! Yes, I wish I had taken more photos of the hull while I was there. You’re right about the precarious look of the bracing – and this is true of most hauled out boats I see, even well tended ones. I think the same every time our own boat is on the hard for our annual haulout and bottom painting – scary!

  4. This is a beautiful image Laurie! It looks like a boat my Dad would love to have. As long as it’s free 😉

  5. […] Coast of Dreams – Laurie MacBride talks about the lost dreams of many who wish to traverse the ocean in a classic wooden boat in this fabulous blog post that features a great shot of one of these types of boats in drydock for what looks to be an extended visit.  Perhaps never to return to the oceans that it once called home, today it stands as a reminder for those who have had similar dreams in the past with an abundance of passion but a shortage of funds or time.  This is a highly profound post, revealing a little about the human condition through the intricate metaphor of imagery. […]

  6. Sherry Galey says:

    Wonderful capture, Laurie. I’m drawn to old wooden boats too — and I do realize h much work they take to maintain. Ours is fibreglass too and it takes more than enough time to maintain. Happy August to you, my friend!

  7. This is right up my alley, I just can’t get enough of these kinds of subjects! Great post, Laurie, you’ve actually touched upon a little of what I like to call “the human condition” in your insightful piece here. Really profound, my good friend!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Toad! I’m drawn to coastal maritime history, and I’m a pushover for old wooden boats, no doubt about it -in fact I’ve been bitten by the “dreamer” bug myself in the past…though must confess, I am thankful that our current boat is fibreglass. 🙂

  8. Dirk Huysman says:

    Liked that post Laurie, and the image, Dirk

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