I found a few more photos in the old album scans that are relevant to the topic of boat building. Long-time readers of this site will recall some of my boat projects like the S/V Pagoo, plywood kayaks, and the Craigslist sailboat (update: I sold the small sailboat to the St. Paul Saints as a prop/prize for one of their halftime shows)

Anyway, here are some of my Dad’s boats!

After moving to Alaska in the 1970s, he hand-built a small fishing dory in one of the old cannery sheds. It was powered by an outboard motor and equipped with hand-crank downriggers (gurdies) for hand-trolling. It even had a small “cabin” which was more like a tent.

Dory 1

Here’s the dory under construction:

Dory 2

And launching with the help of some neighbors:

Dory 3

After saving up enough money from dory fishing, he was able to upgrade to a larger power troll vessel, the F/V Venture. This was a converted wood cruiser.


In the pit

And finally, the 36′ F/V Imperial, which Dad purchased as a fiberglass shell (“Hull, deck, and house”), and finished off in Port Townsend WA before bringing it up to Alaska.

Imperial  Imperial and Fairweathers

The Imperial was named after Imperial Whiskey, and featured the font on the stern. Someone sent a photo to the company who produced the brand, and they sent Dad a bunch of free stuff. Apparently Imperial Whiskey is now a collector’s item!

For a while, the crew of the Imperial included our family cat, Mandy. I think the story goes that someone had a box of kittens they were giving away in Elfin Cove, and as they got back on the plane for Juneau, they handed my parents the box with the last kitten.

Mandy washing fish Mandy driving

3 Responses to Boatbuilding

  1. Sharon Skarda says:

    Love the photos. I can see where you get your love for building boats from, your dad. I also like the kitty..what better first mate could one have.

  2. […] The carpentry shop. That’s not a church, the cross at the top is a telephone pole. This is where Dad built his first wooden fishing boat. […]

  3. […] my Dad, Phil Emerson, began hand trolling in Southeast Alaska in the early 1970s, after building a small boat at Funter Bay. Donna, my Mom, fished with him for a few years (he had upgraded to a larger boat by […]

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