This mariner bought a Willard 30 and then navigated the Inside Passage solo.
You know how that old saw goes: “The two happiest days in a sailor’s life are the day he buys his boat, and the day he sells it.” Well, the third happiest day is when he buys the next boat. I was very happy when I sold my 1977 30-foot Willard Mark IV Flybridge trawler. But being boatless for more than a decade was not happy for me at all.
Willard Marine was among the first companies to make production, recreational fiberglass boats, launching its first 36-foot trawler in 1961. It stopped in the early 2000s. Between 1999 and 2002, it built only four 30-foot pilothouse trawlers. Hull No. 176—which former Passagemaker editor Bill Parlatore and maintenance expert Steve D’Antonio outfitted for a crossing from Virginia to Bermuda—was the company’s last recreational boat. It now makes boats and warheads exclusively for the military.
So, when I saw Hull No. 175 for sale online, I was sure the pocket trawler wouldn’t last long, even though the owner lived in remote Meyers Chuck, Alaska, just north a Ketchikan. A few days later, when the listing was no longer there, I was sure someone…