Arts & Entertainment Community

Veteran, two Thunderbirds headed to Port Townsend for festival

Posted on September 6th, 2023 By: Chapin Day

A short but jaunty maritime parade of historic vessels slipped out of Gig Harbor against the tide at dawn Wednesday, Sept. 6, embarking on an eight-hour voyage north to Port Townsend.

The 1926, 65-foot restored purse seiner Veteran towed two 26-foot Thunderbird sailboats. The two are scheduled for display Sept. 8 through 10 at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, expected to feature 300 wooden craft.

The purse seiner Veteran tows two Thunderbird sailboats in Gig Harbor on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Photo by Chapin Day

The Thunderbird class originated in Gig Harbor. The white hull No. 1, now aptly named No. 1, was built in 1958 and is in the collection of the Harbor History Museum. After a complete restoration, the museum officially relaunched No. 1 on Aug. 26.

The green hull No. 2, was launched in 1959 and is now more poetically named Pirouette, a suitable testament to the reputed grace and performance of the Thunderbird design. The non-profit Gig Harbor BoatShop, located at the historical site of original Thunderbird maker Eddon Boat Company, owns the Pirouette.

Wooden Boat Festival

Volunteers from the boat shop and the museum crewed the boats on Wednesday. Mike Skrivinitch skippered the Veteran, also part of the Gig Harbor BoatShop collection.

The annual, and usually well-attended, Wooden Boat Festival begins Friday on the Port Townsend waterfront. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Click here for ticket prices and other information.

Thunderbird Nos. 1 and 2 are expected to return to Gig Harbor early next week, this time under sail and, if necessary, outboard motor power. Veteran is headed to a boat yard for a maintenance haul-out before returning to town.

The purse seiner Veteran tows two Thunderbird sailboats in Gig Harbor on Wednesday, Sept. 6.