DOUG LEEN - Tugboat man
Classic Boat|March 2021
Vietnam vet, park ranger, dentist, small-craft conservator and tugboat skipper.... meet Ranger Doug!
BRUNO CIANCI

Born in the State of Washington in 1946, Doug Leen is a lover of nature. A veteran of the Vietnam War, during which he built airstrips with the US Navy for two years, he has owned a number of boats, including two wooden tugs, the first of which – Winamac – sank during a parade held on 23 May, 1991 at ‘FraserFest’ in Vancouver, after being hit by Harken 6. “I bought, restored and drove the Winamac for a year and a half before she sank”, says Leen. “I raced her twice, perhaps three times. I recall taking a third place in Olympia once, and a fifth place in Seattle. Tug racing is still popular and is sort of tongue-in-cheek; it’s not about racing as all the boats are limited by their hull displacements and, to a lesser degree, horsepower. It’s more about testosterone and fun.”

Leen, who spends most of the year on Kupreanof Island, near Petersburg (Alaska), currently owns 15 craft, many of which have been found abandoned in a state of rot, and were finely restored by him. Among these are six canoes, two specimens of Norwegian faerings, two skiffs built by Davis Boat, a dory from Saint Lazaria and an aluminium Feathercraft that was also found in derelict condition. Two of the above craft, a 14ft (4.3m) double-ender built by Davis and the dory, were respectively named Onkel Ole and Sven, after Doug Leen’s great uncles who had immigrated from Norway.

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