I am going share a story of Serendipty. I’ve been lucky.
Wanting a boat to get out in the ocean and being longer on time than money, I decided I could get much more boat for the cash if I built rather than bought a production boat. I decided to go with a fairly simple, open power dory configuration. But what I really wanted was a Bartender.
I turned to the Wooden Boat Forum for advice on my selection but whenever anyone mentions a dory on that site there is always that guy who has to bring up Bartenders. I mentioned casually that I wanted a Bartender but thought a dory be much cheaper and would suit my needs. Well, here is where things get interesting . . . .
One of the forum members emailed me saying he knew where there was a Bartender hull that had never been finished or launched, that was in good shape and here’s the kicker, was free to a good home. Might I be interested? Umm, yes, I might be interested!
The gentleman who alerted me to this opportunity sent some pictures. She looked pretty rough but not enough to deter me:
Shortly, I made the long haul down to San francisco and then on to Santa Cruz where I purchased a cheap, functional trailer and headed to the Davenport Mill where the boat had been stored in a state of benign neglect.
The owner of the boat assured me his coworker was the Michael Jordan of fork lift operaters and we began the extraction project. Once we had the hull as far forward as possible we extended the tines of the lift with some light boards and tried to lift the boat over the bunks of wood destined to become sashes. Terror seized me as the boards swayed under the weight of the hull now about twelve feet in the air. In this shot we had already replaced the light boards with some heavier ones. Thank gawd.
We got her on the trailer without too much trouble and by 6:30 pm I was ready to leave Davenport for the 650 ish mile trip to Springfield. It was a bad time to leave. What are you going to do have two terrible hours of sleep in the truck or drive straight through? I drove straight through, slept a couple hours and began cleaning the boat up right away. She didn’t look nearly as shabby after a bit of scrubbing:
I have since turned my attention to the inside of the boat and she isn’t half-bad:
Now, I’m not kidding myself. There is quite a bit of work left to do but structurally, the problems are minimal. I need to replace all of the bottom portions of the frames. Easy and inexpensive. I have to fix the motorwell . . . there’s more but frankly, the boat is excellent for the price. Not only that but it is in the perfect state of completion. The heavy lifting is done but enough is left to finish her exactly like I want her.
Bartenders are excellent rough water boats, developed in Oregon by George Calkins with a reputation for crossing nasty bars and getting you home safely. They were used in Oregon and Washington for many years by the Coast Guard for search and rescue vessels. They are still used as rescue boats by Australia’s surf patrols.
A little more luck and some dedication and I’ll be using her next year to access the fantastic fisheries off Oregon’s Coast and just maybe I’ll take Matt up to the Straight in style but more importantly, in a safe boat. –KM