The Western Flyer Wins a Prestigious 2023 Classic Boat Award

The Western Flyer

Wins a Prestigious 2023 Classic Boat Award

April 5, 2023, Monterey, CA. The recently restored boat, the Western Flyer, has won a prestigious Classic Boat Award from Classic Boat magazine based in the United Kingdom. The winners were announced at a ceremony, held on April 4th at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, London.

The highly coveted award category was for a Restored Power Vessel. The Western Flyer is a 77-foot sardine purse seiner, designed and built in 1937 by Western Boat Building Company in Tacoma, Washington. The nonprofit Western Flyer Foundation recruited the very skilled and talented Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op to lead the restoration effort, which has been a mammoth undertaking.

The Western Flyer is best known for its expedition to the Sea of Cortez in 1940 with author John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts. The Western Flyer Foundation has been restoring the vessel for marine science and education.

According to John Gregg, Founder and Board Member of the Western Flyer Foundation, “We are so honored to receive the Classic Boat Award for the Western Flyer. It has been a labor of love for everyone involved, and we look forward to an exciting future bringing students and scientists aboard.”

About the Western Flyer

In 1940, John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts chartered the fishing vessel, Western Flyer, for a six-week exploration of Mexico's Gulf of California, resulting in the publications Sea of Cortez (1941) and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951). The boat returned to fishing for decades, changed names and owners, disappeared, sank, and was in disrepair when marine geologist John Gregg purchased it in 2015. Inspired by a vision to restore the iconic boat and bring it back into service for research and education, he launched the Western Flyer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission "to stir curiosity by connecting art and science in the spirit of John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, and their journey on the Western Flyer." The renovated vessel is scheduled to return to Monterey Bay this summer, when it will embark on the next phase of its journey, taking students and researchers out on the ocean to learn, think, observe, and create.

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Classic Boat Awards

For more than 30 years Classic Boat Magazine has celebrated the world’s most beautiful boats. Every year, the magazine holds the Classic Boat Awards, an international competition highlighting exceptional new builds, restorations, and traditional designs. Categories include Restored and New Sailing Vessels (under and over 40 feet), Restored and New Powered Vessels (all sizes), Spirit of Tradition (all sizes), and Gstaad Yacht Club Centenarian of the Year.  

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