Help to Save Pocock History

Steve Chapin in his Point Hudson Boat Shop. Photo: Chris Tucker.

28 November 2017 (Today is Giving Tuesday!)

Göran R Buckhorn writes:

HTBS received an e-mail on Sunday from Francine Rose, of Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club in Port Townsend, Washington State, who is asking for help to spread the word about a worthy cause. An important piece of rowing history is in danger as the Pocock Project – the last official Pocock wooden shell factory – must evacuate Port Townsend’s historic Point Hudson Boat Shop after 25 years.

While looking for a new home, Rat Island Rowing needs to purchase two steel shipping containers to preserve the apparatus and material used for building new shells, repairing wood classics nationwide and maintaining the fleet of classics in the club’s Living Pocock Museum.

When Pocock Racing Shells stopped building wooden single sculls, Bill Tytus, who took over the factory in 1985, donated apparatus and equipment to Rat Island Rowing member, oarsman and master craftsman, Steve Chapin.

The mission of Rat Island Rowing is ‘to preserve and celebrate the legacy of traditional wooden racing shells…’ So now the club is asking for help to preserve this unique Northwest legacy for the next generations.

It is really not a lot of money Rat Island Rowing is trying to raise: $7,133, which is the cost for two containers, material for shelves and campaign fees.

For more information and to donate online, please go here.

If you prefer not to donate online, you may send a check to Rat Island Rowing Club. Specify the purpose of the donation and send it to:

Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club
P.O. Box 1702
Port Townsend, WA, 98368


  1. Goran thank you so much for this excellent article. Thanks to people like you and your readers we were able to reach our fundraising goal in just 7 days!
    We are so overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of support from the greater rowing “tribe” and the many passionate people keeping our history afloat! Looking forward to many more of your fascinating stories
    Francine Rose
    Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club

    • Dear Francine ~ Thank you for your nice comment. It makes me happy to hear that you have already reached your fundraising goal. Good luck with your endevour on the left coast.

  2. Goran,

    Thank you for bringing attention to our cause. With your readers’ help we have achieved our immediate goal of funding the purchase of storage containers for the apparatus to build the Classic Pocock Cedar Single rowing shells. Not only does this secure these materials for the present time, this helps preserve the old-school technology of how these boats are built, which evolved over four generations of Pocock boat builders. I think you will agree that that’s a rare and beautiful thing, something we don’t want to lose.

    Best Regards,
    Steve Chapin

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