Rebuilding The Ways – Many Hands Make Light Work!

Ways Operator Lance Underwood (left) explains the next move to (left to right) Len, Hylton, Dave and Malcome while Chris and Erik watch from the pier.

Moving heavy steel H beams and railway track without a crane can be a challenge, but it’s surprisingly easy when you can muster a dozen or so willing bodies. Way’s operator Lance Underwood is in charge of rebuilding the carriage, and organising volunteer work parties to move the heavy stuff is part of his job.

When Underwood isn’t at the Centre he has a busy life as a fisherman and a whale watching boat skipper. He took over the operation of the ways last year from the Centre’s former shipwright Eric Sandilands. Underwood is no stranger to wooden boats, having worked for several years on wooden fish boats in Bristol Bay, Alaska, so he’s learned a few tricks about keeping them afloat.

The new carriage is substantially larger than the old one, allowing it to haul heavier and longer boats and will have several modifications which should make it easier to accommodate fin-keel sailboats.

The ways are a vital part of the Centre’s operations, not only because they provide income and employment, but also because members of the public can watch boats being hauled. They are available to members, who are able to work on their boats under staff supervision, helping to keep the cost of owning a wooden boat down. The ways will be running again in early April.

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