The Wooden Boat Society
of the San Juan Islands

Wooden Boat Activities in the San Juan Islands


There is a good deal of interest and activity surrounding wooden boats in the San Juan Islands. Businesses, nonprofits, schools and recreational boaters are active with wooden boats. Many of the wooden boat activities within the islands have been carried out as collaborative efforts involving several groups and individuals.

The Wooden Boat Society of the San Juan Islands was formed in 2002 to perpetuate the craftsmanship, artistry and knowledge of the maritime traditions through education, public display, restoration and construction, and entertainment. The society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a strong commitment to the care and feeding of wooden boats, their owners and those who appreciate them. It has worked with island business and individuals to expanding opportunities to meet these goals.

The Rendezvous is an annual event, held Monday through Wednesday in the first week of September in Deer Harbor. There are rowing and sailing races, pot lucks music and a BBQ for owners of and those interested in wooden boats from the region and San Juan Islands. It is sponsored by the Wooden Boat Society of the San Juan Islands, the Deer Harbor Boat Works, and Boundary Bay Brewery, with the assistance of Deer Harbor Inn and the Deer Harbor Marina.

Historically the camp has offered a sail training program on wooden boats: the yawl Dorade; Martha, Red Jacket, Westward Ho and today the Carlyn. The Carlyn is a 63 foot wooden yawl build in 1996 to US Coast Guard sail training ship regulations. Four Winds is a 79-year old 501-C-3 nonprofit summer camp with an enrollment of 320 with youngsters from a variety of different backgrounds, 20% of the youngsters are on scholarship. Four Winds joined forces with SALISH SEAS EXPEDITIONS, another 501(c)3 educational group which uses the boat spring and fall seasons. They work with school middle and high school groups to design and carry out marine research projects under sailing conditions.

Four Winds also maintains a group of 70-year old wooden Old Town canoes which they use each summer in their trip program in the San Juans. Ten cedar rowboats of older design serve as the transportation within the camp bay. Many of these boats are the original boats many times rebuild the design of a noted Pacific Northwest boat builder. The NORTHWEST SCHOOL OF BOAT BUILDING from the Port Townsend area works with the camp on boat repairs and maintenance each summer involving the youngsters in the process. The camp jointly maintained the fleet of wooden El Toro dinghies used by the camp and Orcas Schools.