October Speaker: Bill Harpster | Building and Sailing Joshua


Each month CWB finds a speaker of wit and experience to talk about his or her special knowledge. It is also an opportunity for CWB members to meet one another and the staff. The program runs from 7pm to 9pm, with opportunities to ask questions. October’s 3rd Friday lecture will be held on October 21st.

In the early 1890s, after a career as a ship’s officer, Joshua Slocum accepted a friend’s offer of the rotting hull of a hundred-year-old oyster sloop, the Spray. After rebuilding her as a gaff-rigged yawl and testing her in the waters of New England, he set out on an extraordinary voyage, a single-handed circumnavigation of the globe. When he returned home in 1898, he penned the book that has inspired thousands of sailors ever since: “Sailing Alone around the World”.

Slightly more than eight decades later, In San Francisco Bay, Bill Harpster launched his historical replica of Spray and named her, most appropriately, Joshua. Built of cedar on white oak and fastened with galvanized steel nails, Joshua was a joint undertaking by Bill Harpster and William Elliott of Bay, Ship and Yacht in California.

Fast forward to 1997, the owner and crew sailed Joshua up the coast to her new home on Camano Island, the beginning of a long association with CWB at Cama Beach and South Lake Union. Joshua has been a fixture at festivities such as the annual Mother’s Day Weekend sail at Cama Beach and a participant in many of the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festivals.

In a unique 3rd Friday presentation, the audience will gather on the docks outside the Boathouse as Bill Harpster conducts a verbal tour of Joshua. We’ll return to the Boathouse to learn more about this singular vessel, with time for questions and answers. As Bill Harpster says, “All those who dream of life at sea, of fair winds and following seas, snug harbors and the wondrous sights to behold, owe a tremendous debt to Slocum  and his little ship.”

The event is free (donations are welcome) and light refreshments will be available.

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