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The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival is one of the most popular events in the word for wood boat enthusiasts. The festival has been held annually for over thirty years. Hosted by the Wooden Boat Foundation (a unit of Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend), the event occurs in early September each year and attracts classic boat owners, exhibitors and visitors from around the world. Last year in 2007, over 200 boats were on display. Small-craft, power and sailboats of all kinds were there with one major thing in common--they were all made of wood.

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival
Wood Boats are displayed throughout the entire harbor as visitors stroll the floating docks

The city of Port Townsend recently completed construction on the new marina docks at the North end town which greatly added to the in-water exhibition this last year as more boats were able to find moorings. Tent exhibits on dry land ringed the edge of the little harbor. Wood boat building seminars, nautical hardware suppliers, book sellers, traditional kayak outfitters and adventure charter organizations offered visitors much to see.

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival
The Port Townsend waterfront becomes a sea of sails durring the festival

Port Townsend makes the ideal backdrop for this kind of festival since it is one of the last small-town holdouts for traditional wood boat repair and maintenance workers (shipwrights and marine finish carpenters). South of downtown, along the waterfront, lies one of the largest boat yards in the Puget Sound region where you can see hundreds of vessels in various states of repair as their masters dream of distant shores.

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival
Would-be scalawags and buccaneers of all ages partake in sea adventures at the festival.

The purpose of the festival is to share knowledge, history and lore about wood boats and to keep alive the traditions and values instilled in an industry that was once a mainstay of the Pacific Northwest. There are many events for kids and adults alike to help them get aquatinted with with the long-standing traditions of wood boat culture.

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival
With a healthy Northerly blowing, Terry Paine pilots the Red Jacket out ahead of the Schooner Martha on a starboard tack--only to be overtaken when shifting the wind around to port. - "After all, it was Martha's 100th birthday" the crew said.

The festival culminated with an old-fashion ad hoc schooner race between the famous 72' Red Jacket, and the century-year-old 83' Martha. Hundreds watched form shore as the two vessels dodged in and out of the smaller sailboats in the harbor. A brisk North wind made for an exciting day at sea for all who were able to scuttle aboard anything with sails.

For more information on the Wooden Boat Festival, check out their web site at: