A Ladysmith man who wanted to be able to share his love of the sea with his young son was inspired to build a boat, specially designed for fishing and exploring the waters of Ladysmith.
“I immediately wanted him to have a life that was more like the one I had when I was young, in that I lived near water – we always went fishing,” Geordie said. Pickard.
After living away from Vancouver Island for many years, Pickard made it his goal to return to raise his family where he was. born and raised.
“I knew we always wanted to have kids and life just kept happening and it was getting later and later and suddenly I looked like Santa Claus and was like ‘oh my god, it’s now or never,'” he said.
He spent time living in Montreal, where he built his first boat. He said he decided to design and build his own because he wanted a boat, but as a university student, he didn’t have the funds to buy one all at once.
Now his son is two years old and is beginning to take an interest in Pickard’s boat. “It was just the most amazing feeling in the world. It’s unreal. It’s so powerful to have this experience of having this kid who is so fascinated by what you do,” he said .
Part of the desire to build a boat was energy efficiency, so it could go out without worrying about cost. When his wife was pregnant, the couple lived on Ruxton Island while waiting for a home in Ladysmith.
“We were going back and forth on this big fiberglass boat and burning tons of fuel,” he said. “My wife’s whole pregnancy was really spent living in a shack with no running water or electricity, and then we had this place [in Ladysmith] finally very late in 2019.”
He designed the 17ft boat to have high hull speed, with as much length on the waterline as possible, and to be able to plane for maximum speed. He said he drew inspiration from aircraft construction to help reduce weight. Although the boat looks like a traditional wooden boat, it is made entirely of fiberglass and weighs only 700 pounds with the engine.
Features specifically designed to handle the waters surrounding Ladysmith include a bow skeg to prevent structural damage from hitting the logs. It also allows him to drive on beaches while exploring.
“I wanted a boat that was simple. I just wanted a stripped open boat that would take us from Ladysmith to Ruxton and all that spectacular coastal water here,” Pickard said. “You don’t really need a big heavy tank to go exploring.”
Pickard still intends to improve his design, but said that since making it usable he’s fished a lot instead of working on it. He plans to build a removable cabin for next winter.
“I don’t mind sitting on the deck of an open boat all winter, but I understand why not everyone shares that particular passion or tolerance,” he said.
He also plans to create a formal design that he can include in a book he is working on about his experience of reconnecting with nature through boats and back on the island.
“For a lot of people who live particularly on the BC coast, our connection to nature has almost taken on a spiritual/religious meaning for a lot of people,” he said. “It sort of replaces that for a lot of us. Certainly for me, I feel quite passionate about the marine environment. I think you only feel this if you spend a lot of time on the water.
Pickard said he gets a lot of questions about the boat when it’s parked outside his house, people even ask if it’s in production. He said he had no plans to make boat building a business, but would continue to do so as a hobby.
“I don’t park it in front of my house to get attention – I park it there because I keep using it,” he said.
Pickard worked in construction, which gave him some of the skills he needed to build boats, but he said he mostly learned by doing it. “It was more a matter of wanting to do it, so I started doing it. Most of what I do is pretty simple.
He shared the build specs with a man in Australia, who is working on his own build.