On April 20, 2017, Dick Wagner passed away at home at the age of 84.I first met Dick in 1976 or 1977 at The Old Boathouse, a small-boat livery he and his wife Colleen were running out of their floating home on northwest corner of Seattle’s Lake Union. In their watery “back yard” Dick had a handful of pulling boats; I rented a White Bear skiff a few times to take a girlfriend out rowing on the lake. I was then recently graduated from college and wasn’t quite sure what I would do with my life. I had done quite a few backpacking and bicycling trips through my teens, and in 1978 decided I’d do some long-distance cruising in a small boat. I didn’t have enough money to buy a boat, so I started reading up on boatbuilding. That same year Dick and some other devotees of wooden boats created the Center for Wooden Boats and put on the first Wooden Boat Festival.The community that Dick was instrumental in bringing together played a large part in steering me toward a life devoted to small boats. The Center was a place where I could meet with others interested in wooden boats, and the festival was an event where I could learn from experienced builders. The beautifully crafted boats I saw there set the standard for the boats I would build.

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