Welcome! Here in the Pacific Northwest, January means the the boat show in Seattle! If you need a boat for your summer trips, now is the time to give us a call; our order book fills up at the show as people plan for spring trips and summer vacations.

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.

Japanese boaters investigate Gig Harbor!

Well last year after the boat show we got an inquiry from a Japanese boating journal.

“It is our pleasure to write you for the first time. This is a Japanese sailing magazine, Kazi. Our illustrator/journalist named Tadami visited the Seattle Boat Show this January and found your products very interesting. Tadami and a photographer are planning to visit Seattle area to do some boat testing and photo-shootings in late April to early May (from 24 April until 5 May). Will it be possible for us to visit you and do a boat test and photo-shoot of your products during this period? Kazi is the only sailing magazine in Japan with a long history started in 1932. Our website is http://www.kazi.co.jp”

How could we say no?

The cover of the magazine.

We are pretty sure that's our Melonseed.

Sailing and on the trailer. Nice boat! Great waterlines!

Melonseed and Jersey Skiff from the aft.

Melonseed layout.

Looks like a happy sailor rating to us!

Click the thumbnails to see larger photos of the article. Sorry we don’t have a translation from the Japanese!

They asked lots of questions, took many photographs and asked if they could sail in the Jersey Skiff and Melonseed. Well, after coming halfway around the world to visit us we were delighted to take them for a gunkhole expedition around Gig Harbor bay.

After the sail we invited them to join us at the Tides Tavern for lunch where we had genial conversation and became friends. Then, as time slipped by we kind of forgot about that day until…

We opened our mail to find a carefully boxed copy of KAZI magazine…. then flipped it open to a full color, four page spread about Gig Harbor Boat Works… and we cant read a word! I sure hope it says good things about us! The photos and artwork are great though! Let us know if you can read Japanese.

It was great to get some international exposure for our boats. And we had a fun time out messing around in the harbor.

Forward Rowing

Over the years several folks have told us that they really like the concept of tandem rowing, but don’t care for the fact that they can’t see each others faces for conversation. Wouldn’t it be great, they said, If someone would invent a way to row tandem sliding seat and still be able to talk easily and have one person seeing where we are going?

Well, as usual leave it to the imagineers at Gig Harbor Boat works to came up with the answer. Here we have a 16.5 Melonseed rowboat equipped with tandem sliding seats and a forward rowing system plus a standard aft facing seat. It’s fast and fun! And although it takes second look to figure out just what they are doing, actually rowing the boat feels easy and instinctive.


This photo always takes me back because it’s jarring. The oars at first glance look like they are for rear facing rowing but the rowers are facing each other. Are they just clowing around?



A closeup of the rowing rigs.

A short video of this cool rowing rig in action.

The second part of the video of this cool rowing rig in action.

Now we can also install two forward row rigs as well so that both rowers can face forward. That’s the beauty of a custom boat, it’s exactly the way you want it.

A Jewel of a Navigator

We always take particular pride in our construction of boats that have special meaning to our customers.

This 10′ Navigator is a great example of a heirloom quality Small Craft with a lot of thought in it’s planning and design. It has a Kevlar hull, plus special wood work with ribbon grain Honduras Mahogany bowsprit complimented by the Teal gelcoat and Black inlaid 3 strand rope bumper guard. She even features a complete sail rig including high performance jib option with roller furling, too!

This little jewel was ordered sight unseen and then shipped to a gentleman many hundreds of miles away. We wish we could have seen his expression when he first saw it. Gorgeous!

Checkout that bow sprit!

Nice Teal side stripe.

Closeup of the stern sheets. Note, that nice clean end splice, some things are best done the old way.

A Short Gig

An experienced sailor came to us looking for an unusual dinghy; He has a relatively small sailing yacht and wanted a REAL dinghy. Not just an inflatable, but a true durable workhorse rowing and sailing tender that would fit on his cabin top. But, his 29ft sailboat has only 9ft 1in of usable space between the mast and cabin hatchway. If he put our 9.5 Gig ( or any similar dinghy) upside down on the cabintop then it would overhang the back of the cabin even more of a problem is that he wouldn’t be able to open the main hatch because the dinghy’s transom would block access!

So, how about putting a small pram bow on the 9.5ft to reduce the overall length to 9.1ft? Then add a removable transom to allow access to the main hatch? As Bob the Builder says we can do it! The result is a surprisingly attractive, yet very functional tender that will serve as both a pleasure vessel and workhorse. The owner is delighted so watch for future updates of his travels in our newsletter.

A pram style bow.

The removeable transom in place.

Another photo of that pram bow.

The stern with the transom removed for hatch access.

A Long Story of a Navigator

Opening our mail one day we received this inquiry.

Subject: Boat Information Inquiry

I lost my Kevlar Navigator over the reef in a high wind in Suwarrow.

Do you export/ship your boats? I will be in Fiji in a month, then New Caledonia and Australia.

Thanks Jeff

Position Report at 18:55 UTC 14/09/08
Position: 14° 16.40’S 170° 41.80’W
Anchored In: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Wind True: 5.6 kn 016°T (NNE)
Air Temp: 29.0°C 84.2°F

While we scratched our heads about this bit of bad news about one of our boats, this email came to us.

In reference to our phone conversation yesterday I am interested in the Point Defiance you have listed on your web site. Would you be willing to to sell my Navigator on consignment? I’ve had a great time sailing it in Quartermaster Harbor but have decided a larger boat would better suit taking my granddaughters sailing. Will also need one of your dollies for the larger boat.
Regards, Bud S.

And we had a match made in heaven! We made Bud an offer he couldn’t refuse and shipped his boat to Jeff via Los Angeles to a steamer headed to the South Pacific! And everybody was happy.

Beating upwind on a nice starboard tack.

Reaching off to round a mooring bouy.

An Ocean Rowing Challenge

Our partner in the Ocean Glider rowing seat system has obtained the contract to refit this boat for a new world record challenge.

This team of guys will really put our sliding seats to the test!


We counted 12 guys on this boat so it will be interesting to see how they do.


Erdun is back at Sea!

Well it’s January and Erdun is back on the water. After flying out to his boat, cleaning it up and loading it on to a fishing vessel, Erdun through the total generosity of strangers is back in his element. This time he’s headed toward land to start the next leg of the journey to cycle across Australia. We don’t make bicycle parts but we are still amazed at this man’s dedication and sprit.

We gave Erdun a new seat rig that was built especially for this boat. This time we don’t expect him to have an equipment failure. Everytime we build one of these ocean racing seats and then watch it perform in the worlds harshest test bench, the open ocean, we learn something new.

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

Erdun’s boat lashed to the deck of a fishing boat.

An overview of the progress of Erdun.

A closeup of the progress of Erdun.

A topo map of Erdun’s final leg from the South Pacific to Australia.

We are vicariously enjoying Erdun’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 Erdun.

Row 4 Hope is Off and Rowing!

Regular readers of our newsletter will remember that we built a sliding seat for another transAtlantic rower, Paul Ridley, last spring. Well that boat has left the dock and is now out into the Atlantic.

The boat is a state-of-the-art, custom-built fiberglass composite craft, dubbed Liv, Norwegian for Life (and old Norse for protection and defense) Paul is rowing for the memory of his mother who died of cancer.

A view of our seat rig in the boat.

Paul out taking the boat for a test run.



Sure looks like a great place to go for a trip on a rowboat!

Navigator Dinghy Goes Camping

Hello Dave,

Attached is a picture of our trip to Ben Ure Island for Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time. My new Navigator is a dream. It glides across the surface like butter in a hot skillet. Rowing it is so easy and effortless. Thanks to you and your crew for the excellent design and craftsmanship.
Thanks so much. I can see years of fun ahead.


Two Dreamboats!

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.