This is Our Town: Sam Fry

Sam Fry and his model of Spike Africa - Tim Dustrude photo

Sam Fry and his model of Spike Africa – Tim Dustrude photo – Click to enlarge

This is Our Town series returns with this spotlight on Sam Fry…

Sam Fry is building a scale model of the sailing vessel Spike Africa and I got a chance to talk with him about it and see his progress. The model is absolutely stunning, especially considering that everything on it is custom hand-made by Sam in his shop right here on the island.

Originally from California, Sam was at one time a psychologist working at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park but after several years, he gave that up for an auto body shop which he did for a number of years, taking advantage of the trade skills he had learned in addition to college and graduate school.

In 1981, he and his wife Pam moved to Friday Harbor, and he would make semi-regular trips down to California working various large jobs until finally the money wasn’t worth it anymore and he decided he wanted to be home in Friday Harbor.

Just a couple of years after moving here, he bought a 1940’s fishing troller in need of complete restoration, the Halcyon, and began a long, painstaking rebuild, and transformed the old work boat into a trophy winning beauty, which you can see in several issues of Woodenboat Magazine and on posters for wooden boat shows, as well at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend next weekend.

But the whole point of today’s story is his latest project: a custom scale model of the Spike Africa. Sam began working on this ship model just around the time that the Cask & Schooner building was being renovated, about 4 years ago. It is truly an incredible piece of work. Every brass fitting, every turnbuckle, every railing, steering wheel, compass, every deck plank – all of it, was made by Sam from scratch. Soon it will be finished and sometime this Fall or early Winter it will be moved to the entryway of Cask & Schooner and you will be able to admire his craftsmanship while you wait for your table at the restaurant.

Click here to see a photo gallery of images of Sam and this beautiful boat.

Click any image to enlarge, and then click left and right arrows (or use the arrow keys on your keyboard)to see adjacent images. All photos by Tim Dustrude

Posted on September 6, 2015 at 10:43 am by

Categories: Around Here


  1. I would LOVE TO SEE THIS model Sam! You are such a shipwright guy!! REALLY COOL!

    Comment by tom henry on September 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm
  2. This is artistry beyond words.

    Comment by Dennis Moser on October 20, 2015 at 2:14 pm

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