Friday, September 11, 2009

s/v Pineapple Express

When we first moved to the Shilshole Bay Marina, there was a genuine, classic wooden schooner tied up on the end of G Dock: s/v Pineapple Express. She was suffering a little from "deferred maintenance", but she was basically sound.

Perhaps her most distinguishing characteristic was her figurehead: a head-to-foot rendition of an anatomically correct nude woman. Whenever anyone visiting the dock made it out to the end, she (the figurehead) was immediately the topic of whispered conversation. Jane and I have in our minds the amusing image of a boat full of sea scouts going by, their every eye glued to the lady of Pineapple Express. Dock lore had it that she had been owned by Denver Pyle, "Uncle Jesse" from the Dukes of Hazard, and that the figurehead was in fact a rendition of his daughter.

From the day we arrived on G Dock, Pineapple Express was for sale. When she finally sold, her now ex-owner bought a big RV and is now, we understand, in Arizona. Her new owner, an elderly gentleman from Latvia, planned to bring her back to her former glory, and to sail her home to Latvia. He moved her off the dock, and over to the back side of Bainbridge Island, just North of Manzanita Bay, where she is today.

The refurbishment went very slowly. Each year, as we went to Manzanita or Poulsbo, we passed her, and each year it seemed she was in worse shape, the hull now severely stained with iron from rusting fasteners and the bobstay broken. Pineapple Express is a wood boat - fresh (eg. rain) water is anathema to a wood boat because it fosters rot. Yet for years, she sat open at the stern where a project to replace planking had become stalled. Not good at all.

Recently, however, work has been restarted. The stern planking is now replaced, although in this picture is still needs to be trimmed to length.

Owning a wood boat is always a maintenance race against the forces that want to destroy her. It remains to be seen whether the current owner can run fast enough to catch up.

If anyone reading this posting has further information on Pineapple Express, please send it to me, either as a comment or as email. We'd love to have a more complete story.


Joe said...

I realize this is a four year old post, but I am just now finding your post. I sailed on this boat when I was a teenager in the 90's, and was my first sailing experience. The owner at the time, a family friend named Ron, bought it from Denver Pyle. At the time it was in beautiful condition with amber brightwork and simple varnished masts. If I remember correctly, it was built in the late 20's, is around 60ft, and about 30 ton, and was built for the San Fransisco to Hawaii trade route. I would love to know where she is today.

Robert Salnick said...

Hi Joe -

Thanks for the information! Indeed, it was Ron who owned the boat when we first saw her at Shilshole.

I'm sorry to say that Pineapple Express is still there on the back side of Bainbridge Island, and in worsening condition.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...