Volunteers reach marker on sailboat restoration

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Francis O’Brien, r., talks to shipwright Steve Alaniz during an inspection on July 27.

By Stefanie Donahue

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Francis O’Brien made another stop by the Blaine shipyard on July 27 to keep tabs on a project to restore a historic sailboat formerly used at the Alaska Packers Association Diamond NN Cannery in Nanek, Alaska.

The 111-year-old Columbia River salmon boat was donated to Drayton Harbor Maritime (DHM) by Trident Seafood Corporation in 2015.

Eventually, the shipwrights, craftsmen and woodworkers that make up the DHM crew hope to get the vessel out on the water for educational tours in the bay, just like the historic Plover ferry. With approval from the USCG to operate the vessel commercially, they expect to be able to transport about 12 passengers per trip for a small fee.

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard last visited the project in January and will continue stopping by every six months or so until it’s complete, O’Brien said.

Volunteer crews are currently working to repair a structural board that was damaged due to improper storage, said DHM founding director Richard Sturgill. They’re also installing a new center board to help balance the boat.

The DHM crew is always accepting volunteer assistance and donations. To donate to the nonprofit or to inquire about volunteering, contact Richard Sturgill at 360/332-5742.

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