U.S. Coast Guard representatives made a trip from Seattle on September 23 to inspect Drayton Harbor Maritime’s (DHM) latest project – a 114-year-old Bristol Bay sailboat from the Alaska Packers Association’s Diamond NN Cannery.
DHM founder Richard Sturgill and shipwright Steve Alaniz have poured thousands of hours into rebuilding the NN59 sailboat since 2013, when Trident Seafoods donated it to the local maritime nonprofit.
Chris Schilling, chief warrant officer 3 for the U.S. Coast Guard, said the boat’s timeline to completion depends on the pace that Sturgill and Alaniz take for repairs, which could range from one to a couple of years.
“They’re really making way on it,” said Schilling, who has inspected the boat four times in the past two years. Schilling said the rotting wood, which was once the biggest challenge of the boat, is nearly gone.
Although the pandemic slowed the boat’s rebuild, Sturgill said they’re now making more progress and are focused on raising the remaining $60,750 for labor and materials. DHM is applying for a grant from the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee and is in discussion with the Semiahmoo Yacht Club, Sturgill said.
When the 12-passenger sailboat is complete, Sturgill envisions it chartering Semiahmoo Resort’s corporate clientele, event attendees and guests who want to learn more about Blaine’s maritime history. “It’s going to be a bookend in a really cool part of what our town is,” he said.
Josh Anderson, executive director of the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, said the NN59 sailboat is a sister boat to the museum’s most popular attraction, the Admirable. Anderson said the center picked the sailboat, one of 200 boats the center has in Lake Union, for its logo and to take passengers out on Sundays because of its unique history and look.
“It’s iconic. You really don’t see anything much like it when you see it sail,” Anderson said.
DHM has also started a GoFundMe account on its website and Facebook pages to solicit help from residents invested in the boat returning to water.
“A boat needs a job to survive long time,” Sturgill said. “The NN59 having its Certificate of Inspection from the Coast Guard will help assure it will have the ability to earn a living paying for its maintenance, moorage, insurance, captain and crew; all the elements of good stewardship this rare artifact deserves.”