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Art Lohrey gives life to old boats | Around the Waterfront

Mike Close, owner of San Juan Island Marine Center located under the Downriggers restaurant, called me the other day, saying, “You want to see some beautiful boats?”

“Sure Mike, when and where?”, I replied.

He then said that I must first see a recent restoration by Art Lohrey that was bobbing at his mooring just outside his office and showroom.

Wow! Gorgeous. She was Bill Evans’ former 36-foot Evergreen sloop now in Bristol condition and for sale. Phillip Rhodes designed the boat as a class one-design for racing and cruising in Puget Sound waters for the Seattle Yacht Club. Originally there were 18 ordered, but only 12 were built. The Vancouver, Canada, yard went out of business during the construction and the last four were finished in Seattle.

A recent Wednesday, I met Lohrey in Close’s showroom and we all went over to see his shop at the west end of Jensen’s Shipyard. Here were four proud vintage beauties.

Sadly, beauties in form only. They were all tired. Lohrey seems to be on a mission rather than a job. He wants to restore these sail and power boats to their former pristine condition. Some would be purchased as is and then Lohrey would be contracted to restore the vessel to any degree desired. Others he would restore and put into charter.

Lohrey is a big-time sailor and superb craftsman. His shop, The Phoenix Boatworks, is big, fully equipped and clean. If you are at all interested in owning or operating a well-found and beautiful boat, by all means stop in and talk to Art Lohrey or Mike Close.

— Fred Hoeppner is a retired Navy captain and a competitive sailor.

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