|The Hecate Ranger|
We were just out for a sun break walk and I noticed this interesting vessel in Bell Harbor. I took a picture and later I Googled the name. I found a blog online by it's current owner John Woodard. Seems as if he bought this 60' wooden vessel built in 1962 and did some restoration to turn it into a private cruising boat. See: http://hecateranger.blogspot.com/ It never ceases to amaze me the number of old wooden work vessels that are bought, restored and used as private cruising boats. This one is only 54 years old, it is not uncommon to see 80, 100 years or older still navigating the Pacific Northwest. There is that cost/benefit ratio thing out there that you always run into whenever considering purchasing a boat. You are never buying into equity in terms of money, as they are all holes in the water that you pour money into. If any salesman tells you you are making a great investment in purchasing anything that floats on water, get as far away from that person as possible, it's not like buying a land based investment property in Seattle or Austin, TX in 2016. You are simply buying equity into a lifestyle that includes a love for the water and nature in general.
The cool thing about this vessel is there is enough documentation online that you can vicariously experience what it was like to be crew aboard this working vessels as it navigated Alaskan and British Columbia waters in the British Columbia Forestry Service. Some comments by the crew of the working vessel can be found at https://westcoastwood.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/hecate-ranger/ but the best documentation is a set of photos collected by one of the crew members, Warren Berg: https://plus.google.com/photos/117233384353795309555/albums/5419699344883561089 It's easy to lose yourself in this set of photos as you can imagine what it was like to be crew on a work boat in the Northern regions of the Pacific Northwest in the 1960's.
It is amazing that so many of these wooden vessels survive in these waters for so long. It can be a really challenging environment. It is a testament to haw heavily these vessels were built. When it comes to restoring one of them it is also a testament to how expensive it is to bring them back to life. Recently we had a particularly nasty March storm that brought 70 mile (Hurricane 1 force) winds. That storm not only brought havoc to the PNW but as it marched across the United States everyone else got to experience the fury. A wooden fishing vessel, the 52' Bergen, that made the annual fishing trip to Alaska since 1939 out of Gig Harbor fell to it's fury. You can see the story here http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article65197307.html I had to wonder after all these years why did this vessel break away from it's mooring lines and crash on the rocks. It certainly had been through many a storm just like that one or worse.
There is a huge 80'+ wooden tug moored near Lake union in the ship channel. You can tell a family lives aboard and are in the process of restoring the huge monstrosity. It's all about the life, and definitely not about the money....You can't take it with you!