Monthly Archives: March 2012

Jan Wylie aboard "Vesta", preparing to depart the Maritime Centre last week.

by David Skelhon

Long-time members of the Maritime Centre may remember “Vesta”, donated to the Centre in 1999 after a long career as a gill netter.

The initial restoration was funded in partnership with Human Resources Canada, as part of a skills training program. She was given new ribs and decks and re-launched in July 2001.Vesta is 32’ long and powered by a 6 cylinder Nissan diesel.  She was used for a time as a “showboat”  by the Maritime Centre, traveling to events along the coast.

Vesta has been owned by local shipwright Jan Wylie for the last 5 years. Wylie said Vesta was built in the ‘50s and used by Jack Jensen and his daughter fishing Porlier Pass between Valdez and Gabriola Islands.

Wylie said she loves the gill netter lines. She considers Vesta a “river boat” and although she has cruised as far north as Princess Luisa Inlet she admits that, after a particularly rough passage, “Thirty-five knots in Georgia Straight was a bit much for a boat of this design!”

Wylie keeps Vesta at Genoa Bay Marina, just across the bay from the Maritime Centre. She has replaced the old steel masts with wooden ones and made an elegant deck awning. She has been busy at the Centre’s workshop this winter making changes to the interior.

Carol Collins (left) uses the bandsaw to cut parts for a garden obelisk, while Joy Davis (centre) cuts dados in her kitchen door frames, watched by instructor David Skelhon.

Six enthusiastic women attended the Maritime Centre’s Womens Woodworking Course this winter, with projects ranging from garden cold frames to kitchen cabinet doors. Some had no previous woodworking experience whilst others wanted to use the Centre’s machines to complete projects.

With such wide ranging projects it was challenging for the instructor, but students appreciated the opportunity to watch the progress of other projects and see techniques such as laminating curves, milling lumber, and using tools such as biscuit jointer and the big resaw bandsaw.

The course is running on Saturday mornings for 7 weeks, with the first 2 sessions dedicated to safe operation of the shop machines and the remaining sessions for project work. Students can book shop time after the course to finish their projects.

Demand for the course was considerable and another is planned for later in the year.

The Maritime Centre's outboard motor expert Tony Owen (right) with "Classic British Seagull" author Don Meyer (left) at the Maritime Centre last week.

Tony Owen, the Cow Bay expert on British Seagull outboard motors, had a visit from fellow expert and author Don Meyer last week.

Tony writes: “Had a neat visitor to the shop today. Don Meyer the fellow that wrote the book called the Classic British Seagull, delivered by hand another supply of his book to us at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre. Rather than putting them in the post he brought them up by car from Victoria…great guy and I have found a lot of super useful information in his book…so just had to have a pic with him.”

Tony loves the Seagull’s simplicity and rugged reliability, and considers them the ultimate in “recycling”. The Centre has a good supply of parts to keep these old motors running indefinately, so if you have one that needs a little TLC then talk to Tony!