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!