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Thursday, September 8 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Lifetime Achievement Awards - Tad Roberts

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The Wooden Boat Foundation & WoodenBoat Magazine Lifetime Achievement in Boatbuilding & Design

Born in Pender Harbour, BC in 1955, Tad was immersed in coastal culture right away.  Roads were few, all transportation and work involved boats of various types, but almost all were wooden and of unique West Coast design.  A fifth-generation British-Columbian, Tad’s entire family lived and worked on boats; Tad became involved in logging, log towing, and commercial fishing as a young man, and this led to designing and building small steel workboats as well as a few wooden sailing vessels.

Tad had always maintained a strong interest in yachts, both power and sail, and when the opportunity arose to move to Maine, he went.  After a semester at Maine Maritime Academy (Yacht Design Institute) he joined the Bruce King design office in 1987.  In the next 14 years there he worked on everything from 10’ dinghies to 180’ sailing yachts.  He had a hand in everything from production fiberglass power and sailboats, including the Hinckley Picnic Boats and Sou’wester 70, to the 80’ cold-molded commuter Liberty. 

In his spare time he built a small farm near Whitefield, ME with his wife Carie McAlister, raising milk goats and two sons.

Leaving Maine in 2001, he returned to Gabriola Island, BC to open a one-man design practice.  There his work has focused on new design of classic types, the Lake Union Dreamboat and double-ended trollers, as well as the refitting of large motoryachts. His life-long interest in small traditional boats led to an 8-year term on the Board of Directors at the Silva Bay Shipyard School, as well as organizing and managing the Shipyard Raid for 5 years. 

Today his office is designing new 60’ and 65’ cargo schooners, as well as a 32’ double-ended troller for Alaska.  For the past 8 years he’s been living aboard and slowly restoring Blackfish, a 50’ Urry Brother’s designed and Northwest School built ketch.

Tad feels quite strongly that he’s part of a long line of local PNW designers with regional leanings: Leigh Coolidge, Ted Geary, H.C. Hansen, Tom Haliday, Frank Fredette, Ed Monk Sr., and William Garden have all influenced his work.  Lesser-known BC designers like the Urry Brothers and Robert Allan have also exerted influence. Important too has been the work of hundreds of individual boatbuilder/designers, the Wahls and Groops of Prince Rupert, the Farrells and Gooldrups of Pender Harbour, and the Remmems, Vesteads, and Gronlands of the Fraser River.  “All these builders designed and built wooden boats that are both beautiful and efficient, which is something I hope to encourage and continue,” Tad concludes. 

Thursday September 8, 2016 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Cascade & Olympic Rooms

Attendees (4)