Oregon native Jim Rard has introduced hundreds of cruisers to the joys of Alaska’s untamed coasts.

Like many small boys, Jim Rard was fascinated by boats. While there were myriad fishing skiffs and canoes populating the rivers of his logging-focused hometown of Sutherlin, Oregon, Rard’s eye was always drawn to proper seaworthy sailboats. Rard’s youthful dreams required a vessel, and — to his inquisitive but inexperienced mind — the easiest way to acquire one was to pick up his tools and build his own steed using his fledgling carpentry skills. “The first boat that I ever built was off of a picture,” recalls Rard, some 55 years later, with a laugh. “The only problem was that I couldn’t see what was below the water, so I assumed that it was flat!”