March / April 2021

It Takes a Village

One town’s enduring embrace of a 19' Norwegian double-ender

With canvasworker Inger Rankins at the helm, HAVHESTEN struts her stuff on Admiralty Inlet near Port Townsend, Washington. Inger and her husband, Sean, a sailmaker, imported the little double-ender from Norway in the early 1990s to race and cruise in their area. After the boat sank in 2001, the town’s boatbuilding community helped with restoration.

For 30 years, a pretty, spunky, and capable Norwegian double-ender has been enchanting people of the Port Townsend, Washington, boating community, and many of them—when the need arose—helped bring her back from the abyss.

On a glorious sailing day last August, you would never know that HAVHESTEN had disastrously sunk almost two decades before. She was showing why she has so captivated the town’s sailors as she made her way, on a languid northwesterly breeze, toward Point Wilson, northeast of town. Her honey-colored hull gently heeled, and her slight wake quickly closed behind her curved sternpost. So far from her Scandinavian birthplace, this little boat, 19' LOA, looked perfectly at home in the hands of her owners, Sean and Inger Rankins, who run Northwest Sails and Canvas Inc. in Port Hadlock just south of Port Townsend.

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then HAVHESTEN has reached the top. In 2019, the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding (NWSB), also in Port Hadlock, built a replica (see sidebar, page 58) to lines that were taken off HAVHESTEN by Gary Larkins, a 1998 graduate of the school. Bob Spychalski, who retired to the Pacific Northwest after a 35-year career in the Marine Corps and Air Force, was a student in the school’s 2019 class, so he participated in the construction and subsequently bought the boat from the school. “I did not know much about boats but fell in love with their beauty,” he said, so he enrolled at the school in 2018. After being introduced to HAVHENSTEN during a class field trip, he, like so many others, was captivated by her shape. He decided that was the type of boat he wanted.

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