I own two antique wooden vessels, Catalyst is 75’ long and was launched in 1932, Westward is 86’ and was launched in 1924. I bought Catalyst in 2005 and Westward in 2012. Both boats are employed as charter vessels running regular schedules in SE Alaska and Mexico’s Sea of Cortes.
Because they are working passenger vessels, they have to be maintained in good operating condition and meet their schedules. Missing a sailing because we are hung up in the ship yard is simply not an option.
I hauled Westward in Port Townsend in late June 2015, with a short list of projects and a modest budget and an even more modest schedule. On the recommendation of a friend I hired Bob Cunningham to explore the cause of a persistent leak in the bow, which I assumed was caused by an open seam under the anchor guard.
What we found was a disaster, all of the bow planking was rotten, as was most of the underlying framing. We faced either destroy the boat or borrow the money to repair her.
In the process of determining the extent of the damage, Bob noted that the sagging bow which had been noted by generations of owners and attributed to hogging was in fact a failure in the keel timber. It was decided that since we were going to be so far into her structure that the time was right to make the long needed repair to her keel.
I had a tight budget and schedule (My first charter for our 2016 Baja season was in mid-January). Bob and Mary, and their team worked full days rebuilding Westward. The budget and schedule expanded to suit the expanded scope of the project as additional problems were found and corrected, but the charges and added time were fully justified.
I firmly believe that had I ended up with any other wooden boat shop in the area that Westward would have been lost to insoluble budget and schedule problems.
I highly recommend Cunningham Ships Carpentry to anyone owning a traditional boat!
Regards, Captain Bill Bailey