Old technology in demand now, maritime center director says
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Jake Beattie, executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center, said the Chandlery's heavy-duty pulleys are selling well.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Two-hundred-year-old technology manufactured by the Chandlery of the Northwest Maritime Center is in demand now, said the center's executive director Monday.

The first orders for the Chandlery's “Townsend Blocks,” heavy-duty pulleys that are a key part of wooden sailboat construction, were filled in March.

There is a possibility of an order for 500 of the pulleys, which would be a major order for the company, Jake Beattie told about 60 people at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“With this kind of product, we can become a kind of an 18th-century Boeing,” Beattie said.

New-old technology is only part of what the Northwest Maritime Center center at 431 Water St., in Port Townsend has to offer, Beattie said.

It provides the stage for learning about maritime trades and activities, and Port Townsend residents are the players, he said.

“At one point, the facility was the goal, and we weren't sure how we were going to use it,” he said.

“The community made this possible, and now we want to use the facility to help people in their businesses, to make them successful.

“We are not an education or an economic development agency, although we touch both realms.”

Beattie said the maritime center is working to develop partnerships.

“We don't have a lot of good news ourselves,” he said.

“We are here to support other people's good news. When they are successful, we are successful.”

The center includes a boatbuilding shop, a pilot house that simulates training on a variety of vessels, and a chandlery that sells and distributes hard-to-find tools and supplies to boaters around the world.

Beattie characterized the facility as “sort of a CoLab for boats,” comparing it to the new Port Townsend venture that provides workspace and connectivity for entrepreneurs.

Beattie said he is most excited about the center's education potential, which includes a partnership with the Seattle-based Crawford Nautical School that expands its training and course offerings to the maritime center's Port Townsend campus.

Another partnership with the Port Townsend School System that infuses instruction with maritime instruction provides a unique opportunity, Beattie said.

“There is nothing like this anywhere in the world, where a maritime curriculum is being taught in a K-12 setting,” he said,

“People learn more when the material is woven together in a cohesive structure in a way that is linked to their community,” Beattie said.

“This is both revolutionary and obvious.”

Beattie said the center will rent a sailboat to anyone who can prove knowledge of how to sail, making it unnecessary to own a boat to enjoy the water.

And young people who want to learn how to sail can do so, essentially for free, he said.

“Last year, we were able to fulfill 100 percent of our scholarship requests, so if kids can't pay for lessons we can still get them out on the water.”

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 06. 2013 6:06PM
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