Every boat has a story, and over the years Blaine Harbor has hosted a lot of them. Many of those stories are preserved in miniature at Blaine Marina, where president Mike Dodd has been building models of commercial fishing vessels for 15 years.
His collection of 56 replicas will be on display in the breezeway between the Blaine Harbor Boating Center and the Blaine Harbor offices on Marine Drive during Drayton Harbor Days on August 3–4.
“Almost all of the models are of boats that have been through Blaine or Bellingham harbor,” Dodd said. “They’re not perfect, but they’ve been fun to build. And some of them aren’t bad!”
A brief backstory accompanies many of Dodd’s model ships. For instance, a black and red seiner called “Five C’s” has a card
on it that reads: “The Five C’s was originally built as the Fidalgo III for Whitney Fidalgo Seafoods. It was purchased by Paul Croft of Blaine, renamed, and fished Alaska and Puget Sound for many years. After being purchased by Dan Thomas, the boat only fished Puget Sound. At last report the Five C’s was in Alaska being used as a live-aboard and not fishing anymore.”
Dodd said the models usually take about two weeks to build, working a couple hours per day. They are made from a variety of materials, including wood and cardboard.
Dodd said he first started making models when he was a kid. He has an extensive collection of model hydroplane racing boats he’s built over the years. Fulfilling a request from a friend, Dodd built his first replica of a commercial fishing vessel 15 years ago.
“One turned into 40,” he said. “Overall, I’ve probably built over 100.”
Dodd’s personal collection represents less than half of the replicas he’s built. Many are in possession of those who requested a replica of their life-size fishing vessel.
The fishing industry has always been a major component of Blaine’s maritime history, and Drayton Harbor Days celebrates the connection between Blaine and the sea. Richard Sturgill, president of Drayton Harbor Maritime, said Dodd’s work helps highlight this connection.
“It’s a great collection that shows a cross-section of Blaine’s fishing industry,” Sturgill said. “It’s appropriate that it’s on display during Drayton Harbor Days.”
This marks the fourth year Dodd has been invited to display his collection.