Meet the Craftsman: Kurtis Aelick
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a broad reach is a point of sail with the wind slightly abaft the beam. I have found this to be a comfortable and generally fast point of sailing and as a colleague once pointed out – “back when we weren’t as safe on the water you wouldn’t spill your drink when sailing on a broad reach”.
Growing up on Manitoulin Island overlooking the main channel in Little Current, it wasn't hard to be drawn to the water. In the summers the docks were filled with boats from all over the great lakes and the streets clamoured with people. From this I developed a love of sailing at a young age, learning to sail on an Alcort Sailfish (similar to the Sunfish).
When it came time to figure out what to do with my life I decided to act on a suggestion from a teacher and pursue a career in wooden boatbuilding. This was a much easier decision to make than trying to figure out which university to attend, I would be following what felt right at the time.
My formal training started at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, class of 2001, where I received an associate degree in traditional wooden boatbuilding along with certificates in sailmaking and rigging. This was an intense time of all things wooden boat for me surrounded with like minded people and instructors who helped me develop as a craftsman. My time there is truly a highlight of my life and helped me develop and finesse my woodwork skills. I have since had experience restoring wooden boats and a not so brief stint repairing and restoring violins which allowed me to further support my drive for excellence.
I have come full circle and have started a shop of my own now in my hometown on beautiful Manitoulin Island, on a small farm overlooking the North Channel surrounded by some of the nicest freshwater cruising in the world.
I am excited to be in a position to help you realize your dream of owning a wooden boat. I find the most rewarding part of my job has always been the satisfaction and joy my work brings to my customers and their families. If you have a project that you’ve been waiting to get started I would encourage you to move forward with it. If I’m not the person to help you with it, I encourage you to find someone that can.
If you would like to discuss how we can work together please contact me by phone or email. If you would like to follow along with what’s happening in the shop you can subscribe to our newsletter here.