Long BeachPeter Beck has been a dedicated Model Boat Shop participant since 2011. During that time he has built over 100 boats in various sizes ranging from a four inch catamaran to a 115 sail nine foot long.
Starting June 20, the Wilson High School grad will take over the shop.
After being closed for the past four years, the Long Beach Parks, Recreation & Marine program is back and Beck will be the store manager, at 5119 E. Colorado St.
“I hated it at first,” Beck said of going to the boat shop as a freshman. “I’m a pretty quiet kid, but there was something about sitting down and working with my hands and taking it one step at a time that really excited me.”
The store will be open for seven weeks – June 20 through August 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The walk-in program is for children ages 7 and up. Registration costs $65 and can be completed online at bit.ly/3GTbakn.
Rod Ogilby and Clyde W. Ellerman first opened the doors in 1948, according to the Long Beach Parks, Recreation & Marine webpage. Ellerman operated it for 17 years, from 1961 to 1978. After a four-year lull, Ellerman’s daughter Jo Ann Pike reopened the shop and began running the program in the summer of 1982. After his father’s death in 1999, the annual Sea Festival Model Ship Regatta was renamed in his memory.
Beck, who will attend the University of California, Berkeley in the fall, said he just tried to contact parks, recreation and the department to see if he could handle the boat shop.
“The building is still there and everything has been in place for four years,” he said. “Parks and Rec put Ted Stevens in touch with me and he helped me through the process. They had no idea what to do with the installation. When I reached out they were thrilled because the manager retired.
Stevens said he remembered a Grunion Gazette article and thought he should get in touch with Beck.
“We’re counting on him to lead the program,” Stevens said. “We love his enthusiasm. It is awesome. It was a shame the previous person had retired as we couldn’t find anyone else to teach him. Everyone is thrilled to see this program coming back.
On his website, modelboatshop.com, Beck writes about learning the basics of sanding hulls, keels, and masts. After a few summers at camp, he started building boats at home. He learned to sew and use the variety of power tools needed to build his boats, including a bandsaw, through YouTube tutorials and trial and error.
Through his website, Beck receives a few custom orders to design and build model ships for individuals. Recently, he received an order from the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club to build model boats to give out as rewards.
Last summer, Beck worked at a Duffy Boats subsidiary called Newport Boat Models, based in Costa Mesa. The company builds miniature boats from scratch for its customers. Beck could have worked there again this summer, but he thinks he has found a better option.
“There’s a big shade tree at the boat shop,” he says. “I remember spending days under that tree sanding the keel of my 12-inch model sailboat,” he said. “Our family’s summer vacation had to be scheduled around the dates the program was running.
“Being able to walk down the street and handle the program I grew up in is more appealing.”