By Elizabeth T. Becker

Published in WoodenBoat Magazine, January 2006

It is rare indeed for a vessel built in 1924 to still be plying its trade 81 years later. But the L.E. “Ted” Geary-designed Westward is doing just that. Built as a charter boat for the Alaskan Coast Hunting and Cruising Company, she has spent the last 8 years in tandem with the M/V Catalyst cruising the waters of Southeast Alaska and Puget Sound on adventure trips as part of Pacific Catalyst Expeditions.

Westward is currently receiving a major refit at the Shipwrights Co-op in Port Townsend, Washington. As a testament to her original construction and the care she has received over the years, Westward is just now having her original stem replaced with a new one hewn from an impressive 12-foot length of purple heart.

As part of the bow reconstruction work, Westward’s 2-1/4” thick planking on both port and starboard sides of the bow has been replaced, using fir and yellow cedar. Additional planking along the waterline is also in progress. New frames of double sawn Western larch have been installed (the original frames were fir). Other bow repairs include the forefoot knee, keelson, knight’s head, and anchor guard.

Work has now begun to rebuild the lifts in the timbered fantail. As the project progresses in 2006, all 26 portholes will be replaced, a new galley and appliances will be installed, and reconstruction of the stern, sponson and guard, and upper bulwarks will continue.

It is impressive to note that the 86-foot-long vessel is still powered by her original 110 horsepower, four-cylinder Atlas Imperial Diesel, cruising at 8 knots with a range of 2,200 miles.

Westward was built in Dockton, Washington, by J.A. Martinolich. Her accommodations include four staterooms for guests, along with crew quarters. A wood-burning fireplace graces the main salon, and a well- equipped galley is set up for cooking for up to 11 guests. Her 18-foot 9-inch beam provides for a comfortable interior.

In the 1940s, Westward entered wartime service as a patrol boat in California, returning to private ownership after the war. In 1967 she was sold and moved to Southern California. Her owners did an extensive restoration before voyaging throughout the Atlantic and Pacific, including a circumnavigation in the 1970s. Westward was sold to her current owner in

1993 and returned to the Pacific Northwest, joining Pacific Catalyst Expeditions in 1997. In April 2005, Westward participated in the Ted Geary Exhibit at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle.

© 2006 Elizabeth T. Becker
This article appeared in WoodenBoat Magazine, January 2006.