How did you hear about the educational tall ship Matthew Turner?

The day after retiring from my career as an optician, I enrolled in the Cal Maritime Academy to pursue my passion for all things maritime. While I was studying for my major in marine transportation, I heard about the tall ship project, which sparked my curiosity.
During my free time, I used to volunteer at the Hyde Street Pier (in San Francisco), working on the C.W. Thayer. One day, three years ago, there was nothing going on at the Thayer, so I headed over to see the construction site of Matthew Turner. No sooner had I entered the tent when the shipwright, Franz Baichl, hollered at me to help with planking. After the day’s work, he asked, “Ya coming back tomorrow?” I have been involved ever since.

Where do you come from and were you always involved with boats?

I’m from the old commercial fishing port of Gloucester, in Massachusetts. I have always considered myself a boat nut. Since childhood, I was interested in all things maritime, such as maritime history, the Navy, fishing, ship design and all kinds of sports associated with boating. As a teenager, I grew a deep affinity for boating while working on sport fishing boats, fishing for blue fin tuna. Boats would become my lifestyle.

What is your favorite task working on Matthew Turner, boat building or otherwise?

I love the diversity of projects here; however, I picked one type to attach myself to. I gravitated toward solitary projects such as braising or caulking. I also enjoy collecting and building new tools, which requires specialized skills such as metalworking, splicing, etc.

Is there anything specific you have learned while volunteering here?

I have a desire to learn and master things such as rigging and metalwork, like bronze welding. My first mentor was Newcomb Barger, a longtime volunteer who I enjoyed working with on the bowsprit project (see image on right). Following that, there was the caulking of the hull, when Allen Grose came aboard to lead that phase. Then, with Dan Higgins’ guidance, I transitioned to metalwork fabrication.
What is the next adventure for you? Do you have any sailing or travel plans?
I have my 100-ton license and plan to get the sailing endorsement so I can stay involved with the maritime industry. 
Special thanks to Stephen and Lauren Gertz for supporting our volunteers!
Peter MacInnis at Work
Peter McInnis