Earlier this year, my eye was drawn by the classic lines of this clinker-built sailing dinghy, built by Barefoot Wooden Boats here on Gabriola Island.
At the time I took the photo, the boat seemed ready for some sprucing up – not surprising since it’s exposed to the elements day in, day out, year round at its dock in Silva Bay. Nevertheless I could see it was a beautiful, sturdy little vessel, holding up well. Since then it’s had a bit of TLC, and with its spiffy new paint, it’s now looking great.
I don’t know if the boat has a name, but I call the photo “Trusty Companion” – for who could not enjoy spending quality time with a reliable craft like this? And unlike the modern inflatable dinghy and aluminum skiff with which it shares the dock, I’m betting it’s a dream to row.
Old wooden vessels like “Trusty” carry me back in time to the very first boat my parents owned, the one which began my love affair with the sea: a clinker-built double-ender called Gwynda. Here’s a photo of that boat (the only existing photo I know of – obviously in sad shape), taken off Sidney circa 1957:
You’ll note the royal ensign – this was some years before Canada adopted the maple leaf flag. That’s my dad standing proudly on the aft deck, and my mom is inside, at the helm. I’m probably aboard too, but too small to appear in the photo. It makes me chuckle to see that our dinghy (also clinker-built) was almost half the length of our boat.
“Trusty Companion” is one of 30+ mounted prints I have on display this summer at the Silva Bay Restaurant & Pub on Gabriola Island. Entitled “Inspired by the Coast”, my show runs until September 7. If you’re Gabriola, I hope you’ll stop by to have a look (and enjoy a great meal while you’re there).