Welcome! Here in the Pacific Northwest, September means the last chance to enjoy the summer weather and so we make every effort to get out and enjoy the warm days and cool nights. If you need a boat for your winter trips South, now is the time to give us a call; our order book fills up in the late fall as people plan for Christmas presents and winter trips to the South Pacific.

We have a lot of news for you this month, and hope you enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

Forward Row System on a wooden Canoe!

We have been looking at our wooden canoes and wondering what we could do to make them more fun. Well how about installing our forward rowing kit!

This kit makes the the canoe just fly. It has all the benefits of canoeing, facing forward, a light weight car top boat and it has the efficency of a rowboat.

A photo of Dave rowing away from us. Notice the lack of a wake because the boat is so streamlined.

A photo of the starboard side.

A closeup of the rowing rig. Notice that the mounts are on a beautiful piece of mahagony.

With the rowing rig off you can still paddle it the same as any other canoe. The polyurethane finish will stand up to years of abuse. No matter how you look at it, it’s a great canoe done even better.

Plastic bags and our waterways

Normally we focus our newsletters on boats, our boats and people out enjoying the water. Occasionally we run across a bit of ecological news that hits us right where it counts: news on the waterways we use.

Some of the junk that washes up on our shores.

This slideshow clearly shows how something as simple as a plastic grocery bag can create great trouble in the water:


We urge you to take some time and watch this video and then resolve to buy and use a cotton or hemp recyclable bag. We know that we are sounding off here but we need to keep the garbage out of the water or it’s not going to go well for all of us on the planet.

Oar Northwest Row Around the Olympic Peninsula

This August Greg and Jordan turned to western Washington’s aquatic backyard for their next adventure: Circumnavigation of the Olympic Peninsula in an open rowboat. Melonseed Starting and finishing in the town of Gig Harbor their route took them North through inland Puget Sound to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, West to the Pacific Ocean, South along the Washington coast to Grays Harbor and to Olympia through the Chehalis and Black Rivers (Washington’s only bayou) and Black Lake. From there a little known canal took them to Budd Inlet, and finally North to finish in Gig Harbor.

The primary goal of this expedition is preparation for the 2011 trip from New York to Nome. The Olympic Peninsula provides a range of different water types that could be encountered between New York and Nome. The boat used will be a fiberglass rendition of a classic lapsrake wooden dory made by local Gig Harbor boat building guru Dave Robertson at the Gig Harbor Boat Works. Rowing in a variety of waters will allow Greg and Jordan to suggest modifications to the custom boat that Dave plans to build for the 2011 voyage from New York to Nome.

We were glad to help Greg and Jordan out and wished that we could have gone with them.

The boat is fully loaded! (This is from their arrival, note the length of the beards.)

“Rowed onto the beach at downtown Port Townsend. Rowing up to this Victorian town felt like going back in time.”

Jordan rests a bit after rowing through kelp off of Neah Bay.

“Greg guides the boat in what looked like breakers we could fight.”

“Our first portage that involved clearing all the gear out of the boat.”

“These blue flowers first appeared at the start of the Black River in small clumps. Here we pushed our boat through them.”

“The path continued to Narrow. We had no idea what we were in for.”

“This picture does not do the angle justice.”

“Greg is not holding the back down. This is just the angle of the boat to get around a fallen tree. It was a slow lesson to learn that no problem existed in this swamp that could not be cured with a machete and some grunt work.”

“This was really quite a moment for us. There were tears and gesticulations of the celebratory sort.”

“Took two hours to push the boat on railroad tracks to get here. Almost broke my leg and I think I’ll lose a toenail.”

“Got a good shot of the sunrise before I passed out for three hours to catch the next tide.”

The full set of photos is here.

On the Olympic coast the size of the waves kept them on shore, so they trailered the boat from the Queets river to Gray’s Harbor. Safety first we always say.

What an adventure! If you want to have adventures with a boat, now is the time to start planning and Contact Us!


Erden Accepts a tow after 306 days at Sea!

We built a set of rails and seat to his specification, but when he brought his boat here for installation we found an error in his specs. He forgot to allow clearance for his foot pedal that operates the rudder.

Therefore we had to install the rails at a different width than designed, which meant that the carefully designed and built reinforced fiberglass seat and roller mechanism would not fit the new rail spacing. His time frame was very short because the boat had to be in San Francisco for departure, which meant no time for a new molded fiberglass seat. The quick solution was a fabricated aluminum frame to support the rollers and seat top. As we know, that frame worked O.K. for 300+ days and 5000 + miles of Pacific ocean, but failed before landfall. The unfortunate bit of this story is that we had built a spare aluminum frame but he didn’t take it.

After the seat broke Erdun had his wife find and bring us the spare which we used to pattern and build a new, correct molded fiberglass seat. That one should have him happily sliding around the rest of the world!

Erden Eruc who long time readers of our newsletter know, finally crossed the equator after 304 days at sea. Two days later he accepted a tow to avoid being out at sea during the typhoon season. This was the smart move of a man who intends to live long enough to row nearly around the world.

We at Gig Harbor boats applaud this couragous man for this journey. We are proud to have built the sliding seat for his boat and intend on building an even better one for the next leg of his journey.

You can follow his trip here http://www.around-n-over.org

The fishing boat that carried Erden’s boat into port.

Erden’s boat up on the deck.

The welcome home Erden received on shore!

We are vicariously enjoying Erden’s trip and welcome his regular updates. If you enjoy them as much as we do, be sure to sign up for the notifications on his website.

If you can afford to give a donation to his trip, we are sure that it will be very much appreciated. He’s been on the ocean for 6 months now and we have no doubt that he will complete his journey. It’s also very evident from his journal updates that he knows how much he owes to all of his sponsors who have helped him along on this journey.

We will continue to provide updates in our newsletters as we receive updates from Erden.

Roz Savage Rows the Pacific!

We just received this nice note from Roz Savage. Regular readers will remember that she had to abandon her row last summer and re-trim the boat so that the center of gravity was lower. The helicopter rescue was quite dramatic.

Hi Dave and crew!
The boat seat was superb. Smooth as silk from start to finish . probably the one piece of kit that never caused me a single moment of anxiety!
Thank you so much for having such a superb product, and for contributing to the success of the Pacific Row Stage 1.
With warmest best wishes

Roz Savage has finished the first leg of her 3 year Pacific Journey. She arrived in Hawaii after leaving San Fransisco 3 months ago. We are proud to have supplied the rowing seat she used.

Roz rowing into the harbor at Waikiki

The first step on shore after 3 months on the ocean.

You can of course go directly to her website and sign up for updates. And as we hear from Roz we will add stuff to our newsletters. Roz Savage Rows the Pacific

From our Mailbag

Our Mailbag again has been overflowing this fall so we’re sure you will enjoy reading about these adventures as much as we have.


One of our Melonseed owners was here in the Northwest on assignment. When he left he took one of our boats on top of his car back to Florida.

A few more pics of the boats in Florida. Gig Harbor Melonseed next to the Asay Surfboat. And my shipmate out rowing the Melonseed in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Little River skiff does not see much use these days!


“My wife out for a row.”

“A photo of her heading back the other way.”

“A closeup of a rowing beauty in a beautiful boat!”

“The melonseed next to the surf dory.”

Sure looks like a great place to go for a row!

Whitehall 14

One of our customers bought a Whitehall 14 that was well used, ok, not stored well and sent us this nice letter.

Hello Dave,
I purchased a 1991 Gig Harbor Whitehall this summer. As you can see she needed some tlc. But, after a few weeks of sanding, polishing, and spar urethane the boat looks great. It rows like a dream. I have the sails and most fittings, however I am a novice sailer and cannot figure how to rig this great boat. I looked on your web site, but the rigging instructions are generic. Do you have specific instructions on how to rig this boat? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Tom B.

“This is the boat soon after I bought her.”

“Here is the finished boat!”

A great restoration job!

Navigator Dinghy

Hello Dave,
Snapped this off the stern in still water the other night… thought you might like it!

“Shuttle Craft!”

Pretty amazing photo if you ask us.


One of our Melonseed owners launches his boat through the surf on the East Coast. He sent us these photos to show what fun it has been.

“A homemade launching dolly.”

“Launching into the surf.”

“Both of us in the boat and pulling like mad to clear the shore break.”

“Being tossed up! Amazingly no water came in during this maneuver.”

“Coming back in, using a canoe paddle to steer with.”

Sure looks like the boat is doing it’s job well!

So that’s all the news for now. We hope to hear from you soon. We’ll be busy working on our next newsletter as well as your boats. So if email is slow, please call.