Volunteer Highlight: Rob Cole

With spring in full swing, the Wooden Boat Foundation Boat Shop was embarking on a building project for a much-needed, mobile, boat storage rack for our small boat and dingy collection. This is where Rob Cole came in.

Rob and his wife, Lucy, have been living on their boat in Point Hudson since October. After 25 years in Colorado—skiing, operating a custom log home building company, and living in their self-built home at 11,000 ft.—they decided to make a change. They gave away their belongings, descended to sea level, bought an RV, and began the search for the boat that would take them into the next chapter of their lives.

They took their RV west from Missouri and travelled through national and state parks before visiting Port Townsend to look for a boat. Rob knew of the Wooden Boat Festival, decided to park his RV in Point Hudson, and fell in love with the lifestyle there. Still on the search for the elusive, perfect boat, they finally found what they were looking for on Vancouver Island—a ‘44 Harden Ketch. After a few months of working on the boat, they were finally able to take her out and get to know her a bit. Late last summer they realized, however, that they needed to make some more renovations before achieving their dream of heading south, and decided that Port Townsend would be a perfect place to do the work.

“The cockpit of the boat needed a new helm seat, which is what brought me to the Maritime Center to volunteer. I was making a custom, adjustable seat out of wood for the both of us because of the height difference.”

At the Northwest Maritime Center, Rob enjoyed being back in a woodworking environment in a dry boat shop—so much so that he decided to help prep the hull of Dorjun, one of the NWMC’s program boats. Through that exchange, it was decided that Rob had the ideal skills to build an opti-rack to support and store the NWMC’s small boats and dinghies on the docks.
In only a few weeks of work, Rob completed the project just after the installation of the docks, which is a huge addition for easy access to boats during the summer season and for proper storage of our dinghies in the off season.

Come May, Rob wants to take their boat through the outside of Vancouver Island and “go as far north as it is fun.” Blue water is new territory, and Rob and Lucy want to take the appropriate time getting to know their boat before heading south to Mexico and deciding if they want to continue west. As he and Lucy have started to branch out into the community, Rob realizes that Port Townsend may have a longer future ahead of them than initially planned, but first… the sea is calling!

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