Jason Crosby had me at Milkbone. I was perusing his many videos of commercial fishing in Alaska and on the West Coast (get a taste at NF.com), when I ran across a Sitka sac roe short set to arguably the biggest single from an Atlanta band named Follow For Now, a group I did indeed follow as an Atlanta teenager in the 1990s.
I am more intrigued by Jason's project of rebuilding a 93-year-old wooden seiner with every new thing I learn about it. Not only did he start fishing on the boat when he was 13, but he has familial connections to the people who built the Genius at Skansie's shipyard in Gig Harbor, Wash.
Fate, it would seem, brought the Genius back to the family when Jason bought her at auction last year. But anyone who has been in this industry for even a short time knows how small it really is. We are all connected, whether it be by boats or by the people who work them. It should be no surprise that this Puget Sound fisherman moved to my East Coast hometown to study music and documentary filmmaking and ended up moving back home to fish and film, buy an heirloom boat and have his story end up on my desk. We even have kids the same age. That's the way it works in fishing. Everything ebbs and flows, but we're all members of a larger family.
The Genius has been out of the Crosby/Skansie family for less than two decades, but the amount of work she will need to be seaworthy again truly makes her a labor of love. It is quite possibly the kind of project only family would understand.
Jason is lovingly documenting the resurrection of the Genius in Port Townsend, Wash., with video shorts that are sure to enthrall boat enthusiasts of all ages. The once-rote work of wooden boat repair has somewhat of a cult following now, largely because it's not well understood these days. Jason's work could change some of that. He hopes to blend his video shorts with family interviews and create a full documentary.
I can't wait to see both finished projects. Read the full feature by freelance writer and seiner deckhand Sierra Golden in our September issue on page 26. But if you would like to take a more personal stake in the success of the Genius, visit Jason's fund-raising site.
Photo by Cathryn Coats: Fisherman and filmmaker Jason Crosby stands near the bow of the Genius in Port Townsend, Wash.