Longtime Sequim resident Josh Turner took second place at the Annual Edensaw Boatbuilding Challenge during the 38th Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, Sept. 5-7.
The success at the challenge was a major accomplishment for Turner given it was only the third boat he had ever built from start to finish.
Turner always has dreamt of becoming a full-time boat builder, and despite devoting many years toward constructing the custom elements and finishing details that go into a boat, such as the cabinetry, Turner has gotten few opportunities to pursue becoming a bona fide boat builder.
It wasn’t until after an odd connection was made via Craigslist that Turner finally got a chance to stretch his skills as a craftsman and build a boat in its entirety.
Here, Turner shares the story about one man that took a chance on another man down on his luck.
“I met a guy from England named Richard Woods through my ad on Craigslist looking for work because I had just gotten laid off from a job.
I eventually just sat around waiting and waiting for somebody to hire me and then this guy sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to build a boat followed by a bunch of question marks.
I responded with, ‘Is this a scam?’ because this was after all through Craigslist and I could hardly believe the opportunity. He (Woods) responded with ‘No, I want you to build a boat for me.’
So we met at a coffee shop in Sequim. When I met him I showed him pictures of all my woodworking and then he wanted to see my shop, which was my basement.
I didn’t really have shop and had only a few tools, but he made some measurements of the space, handed me some money and said, ‘You’re hired’ and left.
At that point it felt like dreams can come true because I needed the work so bad because my wife had just had hip surgery and I needed to stay home with her. This was the perfect opportunity because I could build the boat in my basement and still be there for my wife.
Eventually I got his boat built and in the water and we’ve since stayed in touch and have really become friends. Richard called me this year and asked if I wanted to do a boat building challenge. I agreed, but first off I wanted the design (Woods created the design) so I could build it before the show so I knew exactly what to do because I wanted to win.
At the challenge we were the first people to finish our boat on time. We were given Thursday to set up, Friday 8 a.m., until however late you want to work, Saturday, 8 a.m., until however late you want to work and then Sunday you have from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Sunday morning our boat was ready to float and everybody else’s boats weren’t even close to done yet. We smoked ’em!
We plan to do the challenge next year and it’s going to be something very interesting … that’s all I can say.”
To reach Turner about custom woodwork or boat building, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.