Fishing Vessel Western Flyer

The seiner Western Flyer was and is famous for John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts voyage to the Sea of Cortez in 1940. She fell into disrepair and is being restored in Port Townsend. On my July 2019 voyage call at Port Townsend on board Kestrel I took some pictures of the Flyer. The boat indeed was a challenge for the very capable Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op. On my recent 2022 visit, David Griswold, one of the Co-ops 12 owners gave me a tour including the Flyer which is now set to be towed to Seattle next week for a new engine and electronics. Following, she will get underway at sea for Monterey, CA where she will be based. I have included pictures before and after. The workmanship of the shipwrights is amazing and honestly, emotional.

2019 Lindstrom photos Western Flyer Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op 2019 and 2022
Memo from Steinbeck with an early photo of the boat

A few comments. The 77 ft Western Flyer was built of old growth fir in Tacoma, WA in 1937 for the famous sardine fishery in Monterey, CA. Hence her hailing port. A crew of six and Steinbeck’s wife were on board for the 4,000 mile expedition. The Western Flyer will have a new life and purpose upon her return to Monterey. I plan to visit her in Monterey.

My sincere thanks and acknowledgement to David Griswold, the Co-Op, and the crew at Port Townsend Sails.

Fair Winds from the crew of SV Kestrel – photo by Henry Li

Author: S/V Kestrel

Retired maritime executive and cargo surveyor.

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