Allen Farrell spent 69 years building over 40 wooden boats on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Allen and Sharie Farrell would spend approximately 50 years living aboard many of their handmade vessels.
Allen's approach to boat construction was based on the methods traditionally used to build wooden workboats on the west coast of Canada. His boat designs included lapstrake (overlapping planks) and caulked (or corked) strip-planked hulls for larger vessels.
Planks were fastened to a framework of ribs attached to a keelson and were shaped from sturdy fir timbers with stem and stern pieces attached. The rough shaping was done with his favorite tool, an axe. The fine work was completed with chisels, a block plane and sandpaper. Fir, red and yellow cedar and yew were the principal woods used. Allen preferred to work from halfmodels, after testing the design and sail plan with scale models built to sail.
Some of Allen's design elements incorporated a square sail for running trade winds, an extreme sheer that gives the Farrell hulls a 'smile on the sea' trademark, and the use of leeboards as stabilizers and a shallow draught (area of the boat that is under water), as a means for inhabiting the shallow waters of our coastal inlets. The Farrells would complete six major voyages form 1951 to 1979. Destinations included Fiji, Santa Barbara, Mexico, Namu and Hawaii.
This story features images and artifacts that depict an overview of Allen and Sharie's boats and voyages, building and launching their Chinese Junk called the China Cloud, some fine handcrafted items from their boats, some of Allen's paintings, and our museum's acquisition of the final boat built by Allen Farrell.
KIVI and WINDSONG Kivi was Allen Farrell's 2nd Fishboat Launched in 1949
'KIVI' was a 21 ft. cod boat that was built by Allen Farrell and launched in 1940. This was Allen's 2nd fishboat and it had an Easthope engine. Gumwood was used for the stem, cap and guard.
Kivi is now mounted for display inside a restaurant in downtown Vancouver, B.C.
Also in the centre of this photo, taken in 1953, is the model for Allen's next boat, WindSong; and in the rear, to the right in the photo is a boat called Balandra, which was built by Colin Hanney, photographer and friend of Allen and Sharie.
WINDSONG 36 ft. Schooner Built by Allen Farrell
WindSong was the first boat that was built and launched by Allen and Sharie Farrell together in 1949 in Bargain Harbour, Pender Harbour area of the Sunshine Coast.
WindSong was a 36 ft schooner that they sailed to Hawaii and then to Fiji in 1951-52. After 56 days at sea, they arrived in Suva Harvour, Fiji and sold the boat. Four days later, WindSong sank in the harbour during the worst hurricane of the year.
MODEL OF WINDSONG
Allen Farrell would build models and test his designs before building the full sized boat from a halfmodel. In this photo, Allen is testing the model for WindSong.
Keray Farrell, Allen's son, said that his father usually took 2 years to build his boats.
ALLEN FARRELL'S BOAT 'WIND SONG' Silhouette of Allen in the background.
Bargain Harbour, Pender Harbour area of the Sunshine Coast
WindSong on the Ways, circa 1950
WindSong was launched in 1947 in Bargain Harbour and was Allen and Sharie's first 36 ft. cruising vessel.
Photographer and friend, Colin Hanney took this photo while Allen had the boat on the ways in Bargain Harbour doing some bottom work. The image in the background is Allen.
ON DECK OF 'WIND SONG' Allen, Sharie and Keray prepared for voyage to Hawaii in 1951
Coal Harbour, Vancouver, British Columbia
This photo of Allen, Sharie and Keray Farrell was taken in 1951 in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, British Columbia.
They are preparing to set sail to Hawaii. Some of the going-away gifts to the family included canned goods, a sextant, and the book 'How to Steer by the Stars.' Allen would learn how to take sun and star sightings.
Keray was about 8 years old at the time of this voyage, and has now reflected that 56 days out on a very rough sea has probably cured him of sailing.
ALLEN FARRELL AND MODEL OF 'OCEAN BIRD'
Nelson Island, Sunshine Coast, British Columbia
This is a photo of Allen Farrell in front of his model of Ocean Bird, which would be a 30 ft. cutter design that Allen launched in 1958. Allen and Sharie were homesteading on Nelson Island, Pender Harbour area at the time.
Ocean Bird was made with red cedar planks on 1" yelow cedar frames. This boat took 4 years to build.
According to Keray Ferrall, Ocean Bird is in the Lund area of the Sunshine Coast being restored.
'OCEAN GIRL', BUILT AND LAUNCHED BY ALLEN FARRELL IN 1960 45 ft. Schooner