PORT TOWNSEND – With more than 150 boats crammed into Point Hudson Harbor and another 50 on the grounds of the Northwest Maritime Center, deciding how to go about seeing as many as you can at the 45th Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival taking place. runs through Sunday presents a challenge.
There are the boats that had jobs (Halcyon, a salmon fisherman).
Boats built for pleasure (Seven Bells, a cruiser).
Old boats (Martha, built in 1907) and new boats (Rebecca, finished in 2022 — just in time for the festival).
There are big boats (the 131ft schooner Adventuress) and small boats (the 10ft paddle canoe Hiyu).
But it’s not the type of boat or the size that necessarily matters, said Daniel Evans of the Northwest Maritime Center, which organizes the festival at the Point Hudson Marina; it’s the stories behind the boats and the people who own them that make each one special.
“You encounter the big boats first, but don’t overlook the smaller ones,” said Evans, who as the event’s harbor master was tasked with figuring out how to fit so many boats into a limited space.
The festival is from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. today; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Single-day tickets are $25 for general admission, with $20 discounted tickets for seniors 65 and older, students 13-18, and active military personnel with coin. identify. Three-day tickets are $50 and $40 for seniors, students, and military personnel. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.woodenboat.org and collected at will at the main gate of the festival. Tickets are also available for purchase at the main gate.
Tickets provide access to all festival boats, most presentations and demonstrations, live music, children’s activities and food vendors.
Evans recommended five boats to check out as they represented different aspects of maritime history, technological innovations and design types.
• The Lady Washington, a 112-foot-long replica of a Revolutionary War-era tall ship: This is an iconic ship and is the flagship of Washington State.
The ship is normally out for sailings and it’s really rare that it’s available for people to visit, Evans said. The Lady Washington will be on the central quay with a full crew to answer questions.
• The Clean Bay, 25-foot, 8-inch pump boat: The Clean Bay is a zero-emissions boat built at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. It provides drains to boats so that waste does not enter the waterways.
• SL Puffin, 21-foot launch built in 1906: “I love this boat,” said Evans. “It has a steam engine and it was used to transport passengers to a hotel.”
• Wayward Sun, 29-foot, 1-inch solar boat: “It’s a completely solar-powered boat – you can’t plug it in like you would a Tesla,” Evans said.
It was the first boat to sail up the Inside Passage from Bellingham to Alaska entirely powered by solar power.
• Veteran, 59-foot-5 seiner: This is a classic example of the local fishing fleet that has played such an important role in Puget Sound’s history, Evans said.
The boats are listed in the program and each is identified by a sign. Tents throughout the port area with staff and volunteers are also available to answer questions.
Evans encouraged visitors to do more than watch the boats by taking advantage of the many opportunities to get in the water.
There will be free pedalo rides for children 12 and under; paddle rides for all ages; excursions on the Admiral Jack catamaran ($5 for adults and free for children 5 and under); and free rowing and sailing boats for ages 12 and up.
Evans strongly encouraged visitors to engage with boat owners, board their boats, take photos and make the most of the experience.
“We want you to tell people about their boats,” Evans said. “That’s the fun part – learning their story and asking people to share their stories.”
Free parking is available at Haines Place Park & Ride with additional parking available at Boat Haven.
A free Jefferson Transit bus shuttle runs today through Sunday between Haines Place Park & Ride and the Northwest Maritime Center (a distance of approximately 2 miles) with a stop in Boat Haven.
Jefferson Transit’s scheduled shuttle will also provide service between Haines Place Park & Ride and the Northwest Maritime Center (but not Boat Haven) today and Saturday. For more information, go to jeffersontransit.com/2021-wooden-boat-festival.
Journalist Paula Hunt can be reached at [email protected]