Imagine a life where your vehicle of choice, be it car, bus, motorcycle, or road-bike, was traded in for a boat. That is what some local boat-crafters have been doing and the fruits of their labour were on full display on Sunday, July 27 in Holland Park as part of the 2014 Sea Cavalcade.
Certain boat-crafters went after very traditional styles that mimic what handliners looked like during the early twentieth century on the Sunshine Coast. Others chose more modern-styled kayaks. Either way, their crafts were a delight for participants and visitors of the Sea Cavalcade.
Larry Westlake, a designer and builder with several boats on display, had two coloured canoes at the show. He shared their stories which are relevant to history, acting as a portal to the past. When I spoke to Mr. Westlake about his Green Rat Canoe, he explained how the boat is modeled after boats that were used for hunting small animals in the North, hence the “Rat” in its name. The design reflects its use; in narrow Northern waterways, a boat had to be thin enough to fit through passages to scoop up muskrats and other such critters. Since the canoes are fairly light, boaters/hunters could portage and move on to their next site.
Pender Harbour’s Rick Crook shared his boat, hollow-ended and fast, made of cedar strip and glue. Like rowing machines at the gym, the seat slides back and forth so the rower’s legs can contribute. This particular design helped Crook workout following an injury, taking it on cruises throughout the waters of Pender Harbour.
Thomas McPherson shared his boats Fast Eddie and Dimok. These boats took 200 and 150 hours, respectively, to make. McPherson’s interest in the boatbuilding craft began with his father.
Creating small wooden boats may be a niche interest, but it combines beauty, practicality, and historical authenticity all at once. At the museum, what could be better?