Western Flyer Restoration: The John Steinbeck fishing seiner

Built in Tacoma, Washington, the state-of-the-art seiner was launched from Western Boat Building Company in 1937, destined for the sardine trade of Monterey, California. Builder and shipyard owner, Martin Petrich Sr, specialized in sturdy vessels. For Western Flyer, he used a single, 64ft piece of old-growth fir for the keel; ribs were white oak; fir planks steamed, fitted, and caulked with cotton. The boat’s strength was offset by a graceful sheer and jaunty wheelhouse. In early 1940, scientist Ed Ricketts and author John Steinbeck combed the Monterey waterfront for a vessel that would carry them, along with a small crew and makeshift biology lab, on a scientific research mission to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. No one was willing until Western Flyer tied to the pier and her captain, Tony Berry, agreed. 12 Photos, more, >>click to read<< 15:37

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