Aho’i Mench came close to losing his vintage wooden sailboat — and possibly his life — during a fierce storm on Juan de Fuca Strait on Labor Day weekend 2010.
Mench and his son, Riley, were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter during the storm and had to abandon Mench’s 26-foot boat, Pia. A former boatbuilder, Mench had extensively restored Pia when he bought the 1938 Danish-built spidsgatter almost 20 years earlier.
And he would do the same again.
The badly damaged boat was recovered the day after the storm, resting on a rocky spit about six miles from where Mench and his son were rescued. She had a hole about 18 inches carved through her starboard side, several of her frames were broken and the cockpit combing and cabintop rails had been torn off.
A longtime friend of Mench’s, music writer and commentator Lynn Darroch, just released the above video, a short film set to jazz music that tells the story of Pia‘s shipwreck and extensive restoration. It’s a tribute to old-world craftsmanship, perseverance and the deep emotional ties that bind boat owners to their vessels. It’s worth watching.