Saturday, September 07, 2013

wooden ships

Yesterday at the annual wooden boat festival in Port Townsend, I became enamored of this 123-year-old working vessel, one of the few I've seen named as a guy.

The Elmore, a wooden boat with a cast iron prow, was built in 1890 to ply the hazardous waters between Astoria, OR, and Tillamook, navigating the dangerous sandbars at the yawning mouth of the Columbia.

You can tell at first glance that this is a worker boat, not a pleasure craft, round-bellied, muscular, tough looking.

In 1990, at age 100, the Elwood was slated for demolition, but fortunately he was bought by a private party and converted to a floating residence. He is currently for sale once more.

Of the 200 or so vessels that showed up here this weekend, most are primarily blow boats, and we mostly assume that they're also primarily decorative, pleasure objects, with little practical value. However, the day of wind powered cargo vessels may not be over, for ours is a world in which petroleum has become very expensive, but the wind is still free. The sailing vessel is one of the most natural forms of transport, and wooden boats a product made purely from earthy materials and human ingenuity. Elwood, a diesel, is not large, but was capable of carrying 50 tons of cargo and 40 passengers on the Astoria to Tillamook run. What are the chances he'll be pressed into service again one day?

Photos: Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer

1 comment:

Joe said...

I, too, think that wind power for ships could make a come back. I've read it's been tried a bit already to add some free push on at least one big ship.