PORT TOWNSEND — The Wooden Boat Foundation and Wooden Boat Magazine has honored three men — Jim Blaiklock, Tim Nolan and Miguel Winterburn — with lifetime achievement awards for their work with wooden boats and their contributions to the maritime industry.
Blaiklock received the lifetime achievement award for achievement in the wooden boat spirit and culture.
“Then and now, Jim is what you would call an OG,” said Diana Talley of the Wooden Boat Foundation and a friend of Blaiklock’s.
She presented the award Thursday evening at the beginning of the 2017 Wooden Boat Festival, which continues through today.
Blaiklock helped with Port Townsend’s first Wooden Boat Festival over 40 years ago and has volunteered at subsequent festivals, mostly at the children’s boatbuilding booth.
Blaiklock also volunteered as the shop manager for the Wooden Boat Foundation for a number of years until he was eventually hired for the position. He also served as a mentor for Grey Wolf Ranch volunteers while working in the boat shop, teaching them sanding, varnishing and painting.
“Everything Jim has ever done since I’ve known him has been done with care and class and expertise,” Talley said. “His gifts to our community go past his work in the boat yard.”
Nolan was honored for his achievements in boatbuilding and design.
“I can remember the first time I saw a Tim Nolan boat at the Wooden Boat Festival,” said Sam Devlin of Devlin Designing Boat Builders, who presented Nolan’s award. “I had to suppress pangs of jealousy.”
Nolan, who grew up in California, got his first boat at age 11 and has been a part of the maritime industry in one way or another ever since.
Nolan has designed everything from tugboats and barges to custom yachts but has become well-known for his work with wooden boats.
In his acceptance speech, Nolan read a long list of friends, family and colleagues he wanted to thank for their help and support.
Winterburn was inducted into the Shipwrights Hall of Fame at the presentation Thursday night.
“Miguel is flat-out the best shipwright I’ve ever worked with,” said Ernie Baird, a well-known Port Townsend boatbuilder.
Winterburn started his career shaping surfboards and was one of the first people hired by Jake O’Neill to help shape boards for the now-famous O’Neill surfing brand. He has since been a mentor to a number of boatbuilders in Port Townsend, including Baird.
“The thing you have to know about Miguel was his heart was always with the boat that he was working on,” Baird said. “I’ve never seen anyone so focused and so present.”
Winterburn’s acceptance speech was short.
“The people I’ve met have been beautiful, beautiful people,” he said.
Jake Beattie, director of the Northwest Maritime Center, ended the evening, thanking everyone for coming out and supporting the festival and wooden boats in general.
“Each and every one of you is part of that fabric that makes this festival,” Beattie said.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].