Thanks to Susan Brittain for this update on the final phase of restoration for the Schooner Adventuress
With another busy sailing season completed, Adventuress sat at rest in the slings of the Port of Port Townsend’s 300-ton travel lift awaiting a hoist. The 105-year old schooner was ready to be moved to her winter cover for the final phase of a decade-long restoration.

The work is being undertaken by Haven Boatworks and this winter is the Capstone Deck Project. The work will entail the replacement of her deck and the supporting deck structure in just over 24 weeks. Executive Director, Catherine Collins places the cost of this winter’s work at more than $925,000, of which $394,000 comes from the Washington State Heritage Capital Project funding. The entire $2.5 million, 10-year restoration started in 2009 with work on the hull and is scheduled to be completed in May of 2019. It will ensure that Adventuress’ mission of fostering environmental sustainability, youth development, and maritime careers through shipboard programs on the Salish Sea will continue for many decades.
Once again, the project will touch the hands and hearts of the Port Townsend Community with an estimated 10,000 hours of shipwright and marine trades labor committed to the work.
The work will provide jobs for Port Townsend’s maritime trades community as well as putting some graduates from the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building to work”, says Mark Donahue, one of the joint managers of the restoration. “Volunteers will also be involved in the project, as will local high school students who will be working on the ship’s deck boxes and spars. Lastly the Northwest Maritime Center will be working with Haven Boatworks to improve the aft hatch design”, adds Donahue.

Launched in East Boothbay, Maine in February of 1913, Adventuress was built for entrepreneur John Borden to complete an Arctic expedition to secure a bowhead whale specimen for the American Museum of Natural History. As soon as she was launched she set sail for San Francisco. This was before the Panama Canal and the 13,000-mile trip through the Straits of Magellan took longer than expected, meaning the Adventuress didn’t reach the whaling grounds until late August. As winter pack ice set in, Borden was forced to abandon the expedition and they returned empty handed. 

He then sold her to the San Francisco Bar Pilots, who altered her rig to accommodate her new working conditions. Adventuress then worked as a pilot vessel off the Golden Gate for more than thirty years and served during WWII as a U.S. Coast Guard vessel patrolling the coast for enemy activity. By the 1950’s, it seemed that the ship’s better days were over. Luckily for Sound Experience, Seattle entrepreneur, O.H. “Doc” Freeman, purchased the dilapidated ship for $7,800, and took her up the coast from San Francisco to Puget Sound to begin a new life.
She became a frequent sight on Puget Sound and was taken over by Youth Adventure who started to run youth programs. Purchased by Sound Experience in 1991, she continues to offer on board programs to close to 2,000 youth and adults each year.

“The Adventuress was the top-ranked preservation project in the state during the last legislative session,” Collins adds, “and we’re raising the final $200,000 needed to complete the Capstone Deck Project. If you would like to volunteer or donate to the project please contact Sound Experience at 360-379-0438, ext.1.”