Friday, May 13, 2011
Toledo Maritime Youth Project
Near the Pacific coast in Toledo, Oregon, support for the new youth oriented activities at the floating boat-shop grows. You will remember that a beautiful fixed keel boat made entirely of teak was donated to this project a year ago. That boat is a Teak Lady built in Hong Kong in 1958. You might have read about MaZu here.
As fate might have it, one of Mazu's older sisters has now found a home alongside her.
Teak Lady #11, Che Hon, was built at the Ah King Slipways, Hong Kong in 1939.
Bob and Claire McDonald acquired this boat in 1964 while living in San Francisco, California, their native city. Bob had seen the original Teak Lady at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939, held at San Francisco’s Treasure Island and when he saw Che Hon, he knew immediately that he must own that boat.
Bob and Claire have been married for 63 years and have been active in the outdoors all their lives. Bob was a Sea Scout as a teenager until his active service in the Navy during WWII. He was trained as a naval architect, but after the war was unable to get a job in the maritime industry, so went to work as an engineer for the Bell Telephone Company. There he met Claire (who was a drafter) and found they shared a passion for hiking, mountain climbing and sailing. They joined the emerging California Sierra Club, known today as the Sierra Club. As members of the CSC, they have visited countries all over the world to climb with other enthusiasts.
They retired from Bell Telephone when the company was divested in the mid-1980’s, since they had accumulated over 30 years of service and were eligible for early retirement. Soon after, they moved to Spokane, Washington and have lived there for the last 20 years. Claire and Bob believe that nurturing young people is the key to a vibrant, healthy society. They are supporters of Whitworth University in Spokane and have actively supported the rowing club for Gonzaga University, also in Spokane.
This hearty couple own a tandem rowing shell and often join the rowing club at dawn on the Spokane River for sculling practice.
Che Hon was transported to Pend Oreille Lake in northern Idaho where the McDonalds sailed her after they moved to Spokane. In recent years, she was moved to covered storage on a boat trailer. She dried out below the waterline and her seams opened up. With the boat needing repair and restoration work, Bob and Claire decided perhaps their days of maintaining a wood boat were over. They were excited to find news that the Port of Toledo had acquired a sister Teak Lady and were convinced they had found a worthy home for the boat they had loved for 47 years.
Bob wrote to Doryman saying that if the kids would undertake restoration he would donate her to the Port of Toledo Youth Boathouse Program. Along with the Teak Lady, the McDonalds have generously donated a treasure of nautical equipment to the Port’s program. It is their hope that by doing so, young people will share the experiences that have enriched their own lives.
Thank you, Claire and Bob McDonald!