November 8, 1956


Berwick, Nova Scotia

Thursday, November 8, 1956

Baddeck Boat-Building Success Developed From Yacht For Bell

BADDECK, Nov. 6 - If the late Dr. Alexander Graham Bell of telephone fame hadn't wanted a yacht built it would be unlikely that Baddeck would be boasting of the Pinaud Yacht yard today. It was the great inventor's decision to have a yacht built at Baddeck and he invited Walter Pinaud here to do it. Mr. Pinaud liked Baddeck so well he decided to stay and that is why today in eastern States and many parts of Canada the name Pinaud is synonomous with high quality yachts.

This bit of local history dates back about a half century when Dr. Bell, after gaining world fame through his invention of the telephone, spent a number of months each year at his palatial home near Baddeck carrying out inventive experiments. At the same time Walter Pinaud and his two brothers were building yachts in a yard near Sydney.

Even in the few years they had been in Sydney, the Pinauds had established reputations as builders of fine yachts. That was why Walter was selected by the discriminating Dr. Bell to build a yacht for cruising on the beautiful Bras d'Or Lakes and the rougher ocean waters outside.

This event that ha its beginning by Mr. Pinaud's association with the famed inventor led to the establishment of the Pinaud Yacht Yard and the solid entrenchment of Baddeck as one of the leading centres for the building of top quality yachts in the Atlantic provinces.

In the years that lay between the laying of the keel for Dr. Bell's yacht and the present day, Walter Pinaud and his sons have built dozens of yachts - sail and power, large and small.

As quality appears to be the keynote to success in any business so it is with the Pinaud yard nestling in a little cove within the shelter of scenic Baddeck harbor. That quality that has become a hall-mark for Pinaud-built yachts was reflected in the craft built for Dr. Bell. So well pleased was the Bell family with the yacht that Dr. Bell's daughter and her husband, Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, now retired president of the National Geographic Society, ordered a 54-foot yawl to be built at the Pinaud yard. That yawl still sails. Years ago it was one of the craft which took part in the races for the Coronation Trophy at Halifax. Later Mr. Pinaud built a yacht for Dr. Grosvenor's son, Dr. Melville Grosvenor, assistant editor of the Nat-

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ional Geographic Magazine.

The founder of the Pinaud yard came from a family long identified with the sea and ships. His father, martin Pinaud fished out of Prince Edward Island and built the boats from which he fished. Walter Pinaud's two brothers, John and Wilfred were boat designers and builders.

Walter Pinaud's association with Dr. Bell was a memorable one. He had a big hand in building the fastest boat in the world of its day. That was during the First World War when Dr. Bell designed the famous HD-4, a hydro-plane type of boat that was propelled by an airplane engine. With its throttle wide open it could skim over the water more than 70 miles an hour. It was designed as a motor torpedo boat but the war ended before the experiment was completed.

As Mr. Pinaud's sons grew, he instilled in them an interest in the craft that he and his father before him followed. It was an avocation that came to the boys naturally. Today the pair of them, Ralph and Fred Pinaud are actively associated with their father in the yacht yard. Even Mr. Pinaud's daughter
Catherine, couldn't resist the lure of the sea and boats. She is employed in the yard office and has the same appreciation for the beauty of design and performance as her father and brothers have.

The Pinauds build pleasure craft exclusively. They range from sixty-foot yawls and motor cruisers to sailing and power craft under 30 feet. One of the latter types designed recently by the Pinaud family is a 27-foot sloop. Their first one was built for R. A. Borden, grandson of the late Sir Robert Borden, a Canadian prime minister during the First World War. This sloop is becoming popular with yachtsmen and the Pinauds are ready to produce more the same type.

Many of their boats are built wholly of Nova Scotia wood. Oak, for the most part, comprises the frame, keel and stem. Mahogany planking is used in some of the more expensive types.

At the time this article was being written, the yard was building a 42-foot, twin-engined power cruiser for yachtsman of Hamilton, Ont. Having sleeping accommodations for six to eight people, this craft was planked with mahogany and had a deck of teak wood.

The Pinaud yard has kept well in step with mechanical progress. While the same methods of exacting craftsmanship are employed, power tools of various kinds make the task less laborsome.

As in the case of most boat building firms in Nova Scotia where craftsmanship is a "must", there is little shifting in employment. The firm's key men have been in the yard for years. There is 78-year old Rod MacLean for instance. "He's still going strong as a general ship's carpenter, and I'd hate to have to follow him", Ralph Pinaud observed. He had the same thing to say for Maurice Watson, another veteran employee who has contributed his part in the maintenance of the yard's high quality of workmanship.

While Pinauds design many of their own boats, they also build boats to the specifications submitted by firms of architects and designers. For instance, not long ago they completed a 36-foot auxiliary sloop for a Minnesota doctor according to specifications drawn by the prominent firm of designers and brokers, Philip Rhodes, Inc., of New York. The firm of Eldridge McGuiness Inc., of Boston, is another company for which Pinauds have built yachts.

All the Pinauds like their work. Ralph Pinaud says there is a continuing demand for pleasure craft and the yard expects to keep going straight ahead.

In addition to the satisfaction of enjoying a growing reputation for quality-built yachts, the Pinauds feel they are contributing something worthwhile to the community's economy. And they are. It's "fresh money" they're bringing in - money that would be missed if there were no boats to build.

While boat-building is their livelihood, boat sailing is a hobby with the Pinaud family. The elder Pinaud sails a 36-foot cutter and he doesn't wish for a better hand to handle a sheet or the helm than his daughter Catherine. Ralph is an accomplished sailor, and Walter was an international snipeboat champion.

It was the great Dr. Bell who lured Walter Pinaud to Baddeck. That was another good thing the famous inventor accomplished because it did put Baddeck and Pinaud Yacht Yard on the map, as a place where really fine yachts are built.