Boat builder shows off 20-foot masterpiece in Sequim High School colors
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Dan Carter, Richard Woods and Josh Turner with the Sequim-colored catamaran Turner built over the last year. -- Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND –– After losing his job, Josh Turner of Sequim took to the Internet site Craigslist to try and use his newfound free time to fulfill his lifelong dream: building a boat.

Turner got a quick response from a stranger in Canada, and a year later his yellow-and-purple Sequim High-themed sailing catamaran was docked beside vintage boats at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend last weekend.

“It’s kind of unreal to actually be here on the boat now,” Turner said.

The 20-foot catamaran, powered by two 20-horsepower engines, was tied up in Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend.

Two weeks ago, Turner’s creation won the prize for Most Interesting Boat in the Vancouver Wooden Boat Show.

Richard Woods, a boat builder from Vancouver Island, was looking for a woodworker to build a new catamaran for him.

“I went to the wooden boat school to see if they had anybody that could do this, but I couldn’t get anybody,” Woods said.

He struck out on finding other potential builders, and in desperation searched “boat builder” in Craigslist.

“And here comes one guy right there,” Woods said.

Turner had offered his services as a cabinet maker, a field in which he is well-experienced, and as a boat builder.

“I knew the boat builder was a long shot, but I figured I’d see if I could get somebody to give me a chance,” Turner said.

They met in Sequim.

Turner showed examples of his woodwork to Woods.

“He had this great, kind of a dartboard clock made out of all these different woods,” Woods said.

“That’s how I knew I had my guy.

“The fact that he was going to work for $5 an hour helped, too,” Woods said. “It’s gone up to $6 now, we should mention.”

Turner couldn’t believe the fate.

“Here’s this stranger from Craigslist, and he comes down and hands me some money and tells me to build him a boat,” Turner said.

So over the winter, Turner holed up in his basement, working for more than 2,000 hours turning old-growth fir and mahogany from Edensaw Woods of Port Townsend into the catamaran.

A 1998 graduate of Sequim High School, Turner added the final personal touch in the paint phase, applying bright yellow to the body and trimming it in trademark Sequim purple.

His friend, Dan Carter, wired the engines to the boat’s steering system.

The trio took it out at the end of March for a maiden voyage to Sydney, B.C., and back through the San Juan Islands.

“I wanted somebody who could work with wood and had that hunger to learn about building a boat,” Woods said. “And I found the guy.”

“I just can’t believe the way fate put all of this together,” Turner said.


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at

Last modified: September 09. 2013 6:12PM
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