Sakamoto Brothers Boatbuilding at Osland
Above is the beautiful gillnetter Bee, built 1933 at Osland. She might be double-ended or round-sterned, but hard-chined (vee-bottom) which is very unusual. It’s launching day. There’s another boatshop in the background, along with one or two houses and a substantial deer fence. This may be one of the earliest streamlined pilothouses. Photo from the collection of Don Macmillan.
Osland is a small Icelandic settlement on Smith Island in the mouth of the Skeena River, the village has almost disappeared today. After seeing the sleek Bee, and reading Ryan Wahl’s account of how the Wahl shipyard adopted a Sakamoto hull model when the Sakamoto’s were interned during WWII, I can see a group of brilliant inovators. Bee was well ahead of her time and I would love to know how she ran.
Below is from the “Living Landscapes” website
Sakamoto Brothers (Minoru, Toshio, Toshiyuki, Katsushige, Koichi)
The Sakamoto family moved from North Pacific Cannery to Osland in 1931. Risaburo and his wife Hatsue had six children, five boys and one girl. The sons formed the Sakamoto Brothers boatbuilding shop. Around 1933 they purchased a floating hangar from Prince Rupert’s first locally-based, but unsuccessful, seaplane outfit. The Sakamotos had the hanger towed to Osland and transformed it into their boat shop. They built a number of gillnetters every spring. One year, according to the youngest brother Koichi, they launched as many as thirty boats. One of the brothers, Toshio, designed some of the boats, including the Dorcas, a gillnetter which was on display near the Museum of Northern BC in Prince Rupert for many years. Koichi also remembered that he designed the Bee, the first ’speed boat style’ fishing boat. A departure from the fishing boats was the Hazel Point, built on the lines of a pleasure boat as a dispatch boat for Oceanic Cannery. In later years it was used as pleasure cruiser and was docked at the Prince Rupert Yacht Club. Unfortunately, the names of the other boats they built are not known.