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Why CWB?

April 8, 2010

This video, first presented at The Center for Wooden Boats’ (CWB) auction illustrates the core values of CWB and some of the quirky aspects of the floating museum and sailing center. Music provided by


A Great Example of the Importance of Historic Preservation of Tall Ships

March 31, 2010

Tordenskjold to Celebrate Centennial: Halibut Schooner Still Fishing 100 hundred years later

Halibut Fleet to Parade in Seattle’s Elliott Bay as Part of Documentary Project

In what may be among the best examples of the longevity and long-term sustainability of Seattle’s commercial fishing fleet, the local halibut fleet celebrates the birthday of one of its longest serving members.

The Tordenskjold was built in Ballard 1911. She has been fishing continuously since she was launched and is currently owned by Captain Marvin Gjerde. She has travelled more than 1.2 million miles over the past century, chasing halibut, sablefish and ground fish all over the North Pacific.

On Wednesday, March 31st, the Tordenskjold will be joined by several other halibut schooners in a parade on Elliott Bay as part of a documentary of the fleet being filmed by John Sabella and Associates. 

Other vessels expected to participate included the Aleutian built in 1928, Seymour 1913 (built in Tacoma), Vansee 1913 (built in Ballard), Polaris 1913 (built in Ballard), Resolute 1924 (built in Ballard), Grant 1925 (built in Ballard),  North 1924 (built in Ballard), Masonic 1929 (built in Tacoma)

Halibut can weigh upwards of 460 lbs., and vessels like the Tordenskjold can carry 98,000 pounds of halibut, typically landing 25,000-40,000 per trip. The halibut and sablefish fisheries of the North Pacific are Marine Stewardship certified for sustainability.

The combined value of halibut and sablefish landed in 2009 was in excess of $700 million retail.

There were about 135 halibut schooners built in the Northwest from the about 1900 to 1928. Today, 22 of those vessels are still fishing.

The maritime and commercial fishing industries consist of some of Seattle’s oldest, most stable and most sustainable businesses. And they are continuously profitable. According to a city of Seattle study released in 2009 (Sommers, 2009), 16,000 people earn an average of $70,750 per year in the fishing and maritime industries. Employment in the maritime industry has grown 3% since 2002, and payroll has grown 20% in the same period. Today, the maritime and fishing industries contribute $5 billion to the regional economy.

Media Notes: the boats will leave from Fishermen’s Terminal Dock 3 at 7:30 AM on Wed., March 31st. The Vansee will be in charge of the group broadcasting on VHF Channel 16. The boats are scheduled to enter the large lock at about 8 to 8:30Am. All the boats are expected to enter the locks at once. They will proceed to the North Side of Elliot Bay and form a wedge with the Tordenskjold in the lead.

Beginning at about 10am the boats will sail southward, and vary configuration to include single file, and abreast.

A helicopter will be flying overhead filming the vessels for roughly an hour (10am-11am). After filming is completed the vessels will proceed back to dock 3 at Fishermen’s Terminal. That trip should also take about an hour (11am-12pm)

(Photo: Attu shown in Seattle’s Lake Union circa 1920. Courtesy North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners)

Contact: Bob Alverson, Fishing Vessel Owners Assn.

(206) 283-7735

Grant for Northlake Remains in House Capital budget

February 26, 2010

I am DELIGHTED to report that in the House Capital budget that was released this afternoon it shows the switch from Historic Seattle to The Center for Wooden Boats for the North Lake Union capital grant, and even more importantly, the grant remains funded.  It ain’t over till it’s over, but that’s good progress.

Here’s the link to the budget if you’re interested.
See page 75 line 21.

– from Betsy Davis

Steering Committee Meeting Minutes 2.17.10

February 22, 2010

2-17-10 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

The Northlake Community Wharf Steering Committee met again on Wednesday night in Wallingford. Updates ranged from activities at the Federal level to outreach to the local community. The next meeting will be held on March 17th.

Director of Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods visits Wallingford Community Council

February 8, 2010

Stella Chao speaking at the Neighborhood Matching Fund 20th Anniversary Celebration

Stella Chao, Director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods was the guest speaker at the February 3rd Wallingford Community Council meeting held at the Good Shepherd Center. The Center for Wooden Boats was invited along with other community projects to give a status report about the Northlake Community Wharf to Director Chao.

Though she was quick to mention the budget cuts that the department took last year, Chao seemed optimistic about the future of Neighborhood Matching Funds. “I am extremely interested in ramping up community ability to sustain energy, knowledge and important projects within the community,” Chao said.

When discussing the Northlake project, Director Chao echoed the same message. “Last year we took major cuts in historic preservation,” she said, “but character in our neighborhoods is sometimes centered around its historic elements. It’s these things that really create what Seattle’s neighborhoods are all about. The Department [of Neighborhoods] will do what it can to help raise the ability of communities to preserve their historic amenities.”

CWB Goes to Washington (Olympia to be exact)

February 8, 2010

From left: Catherine Collins, Sound Experience (Schooner Adventuress); Les Bolton, Grays Harbor Seaport; Mike McQuaid, Virginia V Foundation Trustee; Jim King, lobbyist; Kim DuBois, Virginia V Foundation General Manager; Betsy Davis, The Center for Wooden Boats

On January 28th, representatives of Seattle heritage organizations descended on Washington to attend a hearing hosted by Senator Ken Jacobsen’s committee (Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Ocean & Recreation) that included SB6185 that would create a new grant program for preservation projects on historic boats and vessels. Testimony for the bill was heard from The Center for Wooden Boats, Sound Experience, Grays Harbor Seaport and, of course, The Steamer Virginia V Foundation. Since the hearing, momentum has continued and SB6185 has moved out of the Senate Committee, on its way to Ways and Means. Stay tuned for more developments.

Also on that trip, Betsy Davis and Mark Blatter (of Historic Seattle) met with the offices of the Representatives Frank Chopp and Jamie Pederson and Senator Ed Murray) to ask them to keep an eye on the line item in the capital budget with $500K for Northlake Community Wharf and to support switching the grantee from Historic Seattle to The Center for Wooden Boats. This change would better connect the project with CWB’s ongoing development at South Lake Union and help to ensure its success.

We are also contacting Representative Hans Dunshee and Senator Karen Fraser who chair the capital committees about this switch in grantee.  Betsy also spoke with Garry Shalliot from the Washington State Historical society who administers the grant program so he won’t be surprised. Bottom line — so far, so good.

Captain Korie Milke from Adventuress on What it Takes to Maintain a Working Historic Tall Ship

January 27, 2010