I had the good fortune to tour the Western Flyer in Port Townsend with Chris Chase on the misty morning of September 9, 2021. This was my first time seeing the Flyer in person since spring 2019. As I approached the Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op building, I could see Western Flyer’s bow peeking out through slightly ajar doors. Chris welcomed my wife Jane — on her first visit to see the Flyer — and me and we launched into a spirited tour. The hard work of the last years was in front of us in a beautifully planked and decked hull ready to receive the house. The last time I saw the Flyer in person was over two years ago, when a view from the stern revealed the cathedral-like curves of original and new wood woven together to make up the restored keel and ribs. Now I looked down at the gleaming white planking and imagined her floating, ready to sail. Nearby, the last touches of the signature green trim paint were being applied to the house. Standing inside the house, thoughts of the original trip to the Sea of Cortez and of trips to come surged to mind. Chris shared that the house would soon be placed atop the deck and Western Flyer would be whole again, albeit with just inches to spare under the ceiling. We clambered aboard and, standing on the fantail, I could almost see and hear instruments going over the side guided by eager students. Our last view was from above and forward, and there was the bold, stenciled name WESTERN FLYER on the bow. Congratulations to all involved in this historic restoration and I look forward to great progress toward a launch next year.
– Jack Barth, Executive Director of the Marine Studies Initiative & Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University