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Vintage Workboat to Charming Launch

Vintage Workboat to Charming Launch

We have a great little boat in our shop right now, the Pintail, a one-of-a-kind, 1929 Milgard cabin launch, owned by Katherine Simpson of Port Ludlow.

Much has been written about this boat, first built for the cannery fishing fleet. One of the things we like about our work, as owners bring their vessels to us to fix, is learning more about nautical history, as well as seeing how these boats were constructed by their builders.

The hull, built with Port Orford cedar plank over steamed oak frames, was an open bowpicker. She was most likely built by Adolph Lindstrom in Astoria,Oregon.

You might like reading more about these little bowpickers and their role in the west coast salmon canneries here:http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/bowpickers/#.U8Lz1Bw0i6Y

Pintail was retired from the Libby cannery fleet in 1933-34.

Purchased by the Johnson and Milgard families of Steilacoom, who were friends and Anderson Island mailboat operators (and later known for window production), Pintail became a launch with a new cabin in 1935, and was outfitted with a new engine, a slow-turning 12 horsepower two stroke.

She was rebuilt after a powerful storm in 1950, and remained in the Johnson family for 50 years before she was sold in 1987.

The most recent owner was the Whittier family, who took the boat to San Juan Island for a complete refit and repower.  The Simpsons purchased the boat from Mrs. Whittier in 2013. Mr. Whittier, who was a fine woodworker, refitted the interior with mahogany counter top, clear-fir floorboards, light finish wood for details and white enamel paint.

On her cross Sound voyage from Seattle’s Lake Union to Kingston, after the Simpsons purchased her in October of 2013, she leaked so much water that the small electric bilge pump ran continuously. The motor spluttered, and the prop mysteriously turned continuously at anchor. The Simpsons, fearing for their safety, had her towed to Sea Marine.

She’s so charming, and vintage, said Katherine. “I wanted something I could manage myself, a sort of gypsy wagon type of boat, where I could putter (top speed 7 knots), picnic, sit back and read a book.”

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