Sequim boat builder reaches agreement with Clallam County

A Sequim-based boat builder and YouTube celebrity has steered clear of a legal battle with Clallam County.

Leo Goolden said he plans to move his partially reconstructed 1910 wooden yacht to calmer waters in Port Townsend.

Goolden announced to his 301,000 YouTube subscribers in a recent video that he had reached an agreement with Clallam County that would allow him to safely move the Tally Ho.

Port Townsend is the likely destination for the 48-foot former racing yacht, he said.

“According to my lawyers, it seemed like we had a really good case if we actually wanted to fight this thing,” Goolden said in the 39-minute video (view it at youtube.com/watch?v=Y-GGxY0YGe8).

“But the last thing I want to do is to get into some huge legal battle with the county if I can possibly avoid it. I don’t have the time or the money for that, and I want to be building boats, not putting my energy into some legal case.”

Goolden could not be reached for comment.

He is documenting the reconstruction of Tally Ho at a rural residential property north of Sequim on the Sampson Boat Co. YouTube channel.

Clallam County’s Department of Community Development became involved after one neighbor complained about noise and dust coming from the Clark Road project site.

Goolden was threatened with $1,700 in daily fines if he did not apply for a conditional-use permit or delete his Patreon crowd-funding account, according to a letter he discussed in a Feb. 28 video that was viewed by more than 511,000.

Mary Ellen Winborn, Clallam County’s elected Community Development director, later clarified in an interview with the Peninsula Daily News that she did not approve the stipulation that Goolden must delete his Patreon account.

In his Saturday video, Goolden said he and his attorneys had negotiated a compromise with the county.

“I’m not going to get into all the details of what’s actually in that stipulation, but it does give me a little more time to get the boat ready to move it safely,” Goolden said in a video seen by more than 344,000 as of Wednesday.

“This does mean that I have agreed to move the boat and move the project from this property, and that is very sad for me, because I love it here.”

Goolden agreed to move the boat by Sept. 18, Winborn said in a Wednesday interview.

Boat restoration will take place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., she said. No more than six round trips will be made by vehicles to and from the project site, according to the stipulated agreement.

“I think it’s something that everybody is happy with,” Winborn said when reached by cell phone Wednesday.

“I was really happy with the results, and I think Leo must be, too. Any time you can have a win-win, that’s a real solution. If it’s not a win-win, it’s not a solution.”

Goolden has a “couple of months” to obtain a building permit for a permanent structure on the property, Winborn said.

He had already obtained a building permit for the structure that covers the boat, she said.

Goolden had a hearing scheduled before a Clallam County hearing examiner today, but that hearing was canceled after the parties reached a compromise.

Winborn said she worked with Goolden’s attorney, Brent Dille of Olympia, and Clallam County Chief Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Alvarez on the agreement.

“This is the first time I’ll ever say this — it was really nice having an attorney involved, because (Dille) was very good at making this happen,” Winborn said.

“David was really good, too. They worked very well together. It happened really fast.”

Winborn said she received voluminous correspondence from Goolden’s supporters since the Bristol, England, native uploaded his Feb. 28 YouTube video titled “Can the County shut down Tally Ho?”

“I did not count them, but I would not be surprised if we got over 300 emails,” Winborn said.

“I probably talked to about 10 people on the phone, and then had a few interactions with people on Twitter.”

In his Saturday video, Goolden thanked his attorneys and online supporters who offered legal advice.

“I suspect that the support that this community showed for this project was completely beyond anything that the county could have expected,” Goolden said.

“That probably really helped us come to an agreement, which is actually going to benefit everyone, and, crucially, going to let this project continue.”

Goolden purchased the Tally Ho for $1 in May 2017. At that time, it had been left for scrap in Brookings, Ore.

The 110-year-old English sailing yacht designed by Albert Strange won the Fastnet yacht race in 1927 and was later used as a fishing vessel.

Goolden and his small crew are nearing the “whiskey plank” on the restoration of Tally Ho. That marks the final plank fastened to the outer shell of a wooden hull and traditionally celebrated with a round of whiskey.

“I have to get the boat ready to move safely in the shortest time possible and organize various things in Port Townsend, which is most likely where we’ll be going,” Goolden said.

“There would be challenges, but the resources available in a place like that, and the boat-building community that is right there, could be really beneficial to this project as it goes forward into the next phases of the rebuild.”

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