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Boat builder chronicles his life in debut book

NANAIMO - Barrie Farrell launches his debut book at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library March 16.
Barrie Farrell launches his debut book

Boat builder Barrie Farrell chronicles his life in his memoir Boats in My Blood: A Life of Boat Building.

The author is launching his book at an event at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library Wednesday (March 16) at 6 p.m. The 81-year-old still works on his boats in Nanaimo and was ready to return to his workshop to do some finishing work on a craft after his interview with the News Bulletin.

Despite only attending school until Grade 6, Farrell became sought after for his boat designs and is known for being a pioneer in the B.C. boat building industry,

He didn’t receive any training to learn how to create boat designs. Many people call him up today and ask for his creations.

“I guess, I’m an artist. I was just natural at it. I found my calling,” said Farrell.

The gillnetters and trollers he constructed and designed were staples in the B.C. Salmon Fleet in the 1970s and ’80s.

By the 1990s he had built more than 300 boats.

Farrell said he decided to write his memoir because he felt the history should be “written down on paper.”

He wrote the book while he onboard his sailboat, The Marana, sailing up and down the coast and wintering in Pender Harbour.

“I was living on the sailboat at the time so I had time to sit down and do some writing,” said Farrell.

At his book launch, Farrell will sign copies of his book at the event and will speak about his life.

“If they are lucky I will even sing them a song,” said Farrell, in jest. “I know a few sea chanties.”

Farrell is already putting some notes together for another book.

Copies of the book are $25 and are available from the author by calling 250-616-1429, Literacy Central Vancouver Island, Chapters and