happy birthday, Vansee

Posted on by abby inpanbutr

Today I spent some time with a boat that will turn 100 next week.  Not a slight accomplishment, especially when this boat spends several months of the year braving the Alaskan waters to fish for halibut.  The vessel, the Vansee, is one of Seattle's historic wooden halibut fleet, built here and still in service.

The halibut schooners are hauled out every winter and early sprint for repair, re-caulking and repainting.  They are gallant, with a distinctive form where the cab is situated to the stern, opposite from most fishing vessels.  A beautiful and distinctive characteristic is the ironwood planking near the front of the bow to one side, which guards the hull from the anchor when it is pulled in or let out.  The iron wood is varnished instead of painted, and becomes a graphic element standing out from the white body.

Perhaps because of their endurance, their forthright and lovely shape, and their roots to this place, the halibut fleet exemplifies Seattle's commercial fishing heritage.