Campbell River is a coastal community on the east coast of Vancouver Island where in early fall a large run of Chinook Salmon returns to the river to spawn. Those fish that have matured to over 30 lbs are called “Tyee” salmon.
Around 1910 Ned Painter, a local boatbuilder, began building beautiful lapstrake cedar-planked rowboats 14′ in length and 4’2″ in the beam. These rowboats became very popular with local sport fishermen. Painter’s boats were renowned for the way they carried a heavy load and still comfortably handled the choppy tidal waters around Campbell River.
A local industry grew up around these boats featuring professional salmon guides who worked the “Tyee Hole” every season. In 1924 the world-famous “Tyee Club of British Columbia in Campbell River” was founded. To qualify as a member, one must, while fishing from a rowboat handled under oars alone, land a Tyee salmon weighing over 30 lbs. Many celebrities of the day fished from these boats including Zane Grey, Bob Hope, and John Wayne. For the complete history of this famous rowboat see the article The History of the Tyee 14 Fishing Rowboat – A Century Old and Rowing Strong.
A hundred years later flotillas of these rowboats still ply the river mouth every fall, a fishing guide at the oars and one or two sportsmen holding their rods anticipating a strike. In 1988 professional guides Bill Herkus and Mike Barker asked, “If we could we would build a Whitehall Spirit® Tyee 14 for ourselves and other fishing guides.” The lines were taken from the original boat owned by Bill who had guided for over forty seasons. This became the model known as the Whitehall Spirit® Tyee 14.
Since the Whitehall Spirit® Tyee 14 was introduced back in 1990 this fishing model received great acceptance in the Campbell River Tyee salmon fishing community with over fifty Whitehall Spirit® Tyee 14 rowboats now located there. We have shipped many Tyee 14 fishing models to Wisconsin and Michigan to fishermen and professional guides who use them to row troll for muskies.
The Tyee 14 best suits those who require a little more space and room for more gear and perhaps prefer to carry a small outboard motor for covering longer distances where necessary. Almost all fishing models are custom builds specifically for their owners. Some of the custom features can be seen in the detailed pictures below.
If traditional oars needed our Hybrid Spruce Leathered Carbon Shaft & Blade Traditional Oars or the all Carbon Fiber Traditional Oars are the best available. 7’6” for a non overlapped grip or 8 ’length for overlapped grip. Fishing Guides favored 7’6” length for traditional rowing while row fishing.
This Classic Whitehall Spirit® Tyee 14 rowboat is right at home on the deck of a yacht, at the lake cabin, on a trailer in the garage or parked on a dock. If the boat is going to be stored outside on a Dock Bunk or Boat Dolly or small boat trailer, we recommend adding a Sunbrella cover and Lexan battens to keep it pristine. If tying up to a dock is part of the scenario, consider adding a set of Tie-up Lines and Fenders to your order.
The Whitehall Spirit® Tyee 14 is custom built by master craftsmen in our shop in Victoria, BC Canada. It is a fishing boat built to last 100 years or more providing fishing and rowing pleasure for generations. Our commitment to the highest quality plus superior design makes this the best boat of its type in the marketplace. It is CE certified, and US Coast Guard approved. Built-in buoyancy makes it virtually unsinkable.
Maintenance involves cleaning the teak and applying a coat of exterior teak oil and requires only about three hours per year. See the article on Care, Storage & Maintenance of your Classic Whitehall Spirit® boat.
Over the past twenty-five years, we have built hundreds of Tyee 14 rowboats. All models are a traditional rowboat, but can be ordered as a slide seat traditional rowboat, or as a sailing rowboat, or all of these modes combined in one boat.
Call or email us at Whitehall Rowing & Sail and we can provide information regarding customization of the Tyee 14 to suit any specific requirement. Our truck and driver will deliver your Classic Whitehall Spirit® with accessories right to your driveway or cottage anywhere in Canada or the mainland USA. We also ship worldwide and Whitehall Spirit® rowing boat owners are now located in over 52 countries.