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Buttercup returns to Pender Harbour

Heritage Boat
Allen Farrell aboard his dory, Peace and Quiet, with its distinctive junk-rigged orange sail.

When the dory Buttercup is rowed into Madeira Park on Sunday, July 9 during Pender Harbour Days, she will be coming home. The Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society (PHLHS) and the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives (SCMA) who initiated this event, will be delighted. Shendra Hanney will be there to greet the boat – she was friends with the original owner, the late Allen Farrell, who built the boat himself.

This boat is entwined with the history of Allen and Sharie Farrell. Originally christened the Peace and Quiet, she became their interim home, finally landing near Ballet Bay on Nelson Island.

It all began in 1995 when the Farrells gave away their Chinese junk, China Cloud, hoping to retire to a peaceful Mexican village. But their plans were thwarted by an earthquake and health problems, forcing their return to Canada. Allen was lost without a boat – he built about 40 of them in his lifetime – so he beachcombed in West Vancouver and built Peace and Quiet in his sister’s backyard. His choice for her name reflected his lifelong hatred of the noise and smell of engines of any sort. The 18-footer has a maximum beam of 54 inches with a distinctive junk-rigged orange sail.

The fiercely independent couple journeyed from Vancouver to Nelson Island by boat – quite a feat considering Allen was 85 by that time and the Peace and Quiet relied on muscle and wind. After Sharie’s death and Allen’s subsequent mourning, the boat was given to Corlynn Hanney, whom the Farrells had known for years.

Shendra recalls that Corlynn loved the dory, painted her rail and seats yellow, and renamed her Buttercup. While she enjoyed sailing the dory around Bargain Harbour, Corlynn realized that Buttercup was too much for her to handle alone. In 2003, she donated the boat to the museum in Gibsons. Since then, Buttercup has been faithfully maintained, stored, and displayed at the Museum’s wooden boat show.

It had always been the intention of the SCMA to return artifacts to their coastal homes, and Larry Westlake, a local expert in wooden boats, considers Buttercup’s repatriation to Pender Harbour to be timely. The PHLHS has achieved a level of expertise and dedication, he said, that will keep the boat in good condition while being stored in an appropriate environment.

The crew will leave Gibsons on Thursday, depending on the weather, and will stop overnight to sleep on shore with a leisurely arrival around noon on Sunday in Madeira Park.

The three crew members have years of seagoing experience: one is a wooden boat craftsman, another is a fish boat skipper, while the third is a researcher who has published work in boat journals. They are calling themselves Punk, Bingo and Slim and have taken their names from an archival photo of fishermen who plied the waters in 1908. Though the trio wish to remain anonymous, that’s not the only reason for the aliases. It’s a reminder that a journey on the water would have been necessary in decades past before the Sunshine Coast had roads. The watery highway would have been filled with small boats being rowed by Punk, Bingo and Slim to shop at market or to visit sweethearts.

For this latest voyage of repatriation, a GPS phone app on board will tell interested spectators the location of the boat at any given time. The crew welcome photos of the boat on the water, and they will likely be passing the Halfmoon Bay Country Fair’s festivities on Cooper’s Green on Saturday. Click on the website and go to the section marked Buttercup to follow the voyage.

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