Builder, speaker crafts dream boat from wreck; will give talk Jan. 22 in Port Townsend
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Port Townsend-based boat builder and motivational speaker David Moe with his wife, Renee, and German shepherd, Freida. David Moe

Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — In a town sometimes called “the city of dreams,” David Moe built his own.

Moe, boat builder and author of motivational books, built his dream boat from a neglected 28-foot fiberglass hull he purchased at auction.

A former Port Angeles resident who has lived in Port Townsend since 2004, Moe will talk about the seven-year project at noon Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., Port Townsend.

His presentation, “Building a Dream or How to Save a Marriage,” is a Wooden Boat Wednesday educational event, the first of the year.

It is free, but reservations are required. Sign-ups can be taken now by email at or by phone at 360-385-3628, ext. 101.

Moe, 67, described his feelings when he saw the derelict hull in the Port Townsend boat yard.

“It didn’t matter to me that the hull was covered in blackberries, that the deck beams were rotten, and that it had a small bush growing in the place where the lead ballast should be,” he said.

“I felt like I had just discovered a beautiful woman in raggedy clothes that everyone had overlooked — truly a diamond in the rough.”

With the help, shared knowledge and moral support of others in the maritime trade, Moe built a custom sailboat from a bare hull.

“Very few people would have undertaken this project,” he said, “but I knew what I wanted: a double-ended sailboat 28-feet-long with a custom cabin.”

Once the boat was finished, Moe named it Renee after his wife of more than 20 years.

“Renee means reborn, and the boat was reborn,” he said.

How did the boat figure into his marriage?

“The boat was in the middle of the house for three to four years,” Moe said. “She said get it out of the middle of the house. I did that, and that helped.”

Moe said the project took much longer than he had expected.

“It was frustrating. . . It caused all kinds of problems, but I finally completed it, and I think it is a beautiful boat.”

The cabin and deck are made of wood with fiberglass overlay. He built the cabin sides, deck beams and cabin top beams at Cape George Marine Works in Port Townsend.

“I learned much about boats and much more about myself,” Moe said.

“You have to believe in your dream and never give up.”

Moe has pursued a variety of careers, but through it all, “I’ve always been a sailor and a woodworker,” he said.

“I learned to sail in Port Angeles 45 years ago,” said Moe, who was active in the Port Angeles Yacht Club and who started an El Toro fleet that held races.

He started a class for building the 8-foot sailing dinghies at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Moe said.

He “and a lot of other people in Port Angeles” helped Herman Husen, who is now in Seattle, build a Jay Benfort-designed 60-foot ferro cement ketch which Husen used in a charter business in the San Juan Islands, Moe said.

Moe came to Port Angeles in 1968, after earning degrees in math and economics from Western Washington University in Bellingham, to teach at Roosevelt Middle School.

He taught for about 2 years, he said, and then went on to work in accounting and consulting before he started a computer store in 1976.

He moved from Port Angeles in 1987, when he relocated to Issaquah to work in computer industry and for Boeing, and eventually returned to the North Olympic Peninsula.

For more information about Moe and his motivational books, see

For more about the Northwest Maritime Center, see

Last modified: January 05. 2014 7:27PM
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