Above, Eric and Bent Jespersen, 1995.
From left to right, Bent, Ross and Eric Jespersen.
The crew at Jespersen Boat Builders fluctuates between 6 and 8 employees, each bringing varied experience and background to the business. A common interest in boats, building and their use has kept the skill level high. We encourage the discussion of new ideas and approaches and endeavor to find the most practical solutions. The versatility of the team is important and allows us to respond efficiently to new construction and repair work alike. Our emphasis and expertise lies in modern wood construction and repair to all types of wood boats.
Jespersen Boat Builders has established a reputation in the industry for quality wooden boat construction, restoration and repair. The Jespersen name has become synonymous with fine craftsmanship and custom boat work.
Bent Jespersen was born in 1936 in Odense, Denmark and grew up in Aalsborg. He followed in his father's footsteps when he trained as a boat builder in Aalborg, starting at the age of 15. At 19, two weeks after completing his apprenticeship, Bent immigrated to Canada. He made his way to the west coast where he met his wife, Jannie (DeVries) in Port Alberni. For a time, Bent ran Rivercraft boat-works, building production cedar runabouts sold mostly by Sears. In 1962, Bent, Jannie, little Karen and Eric moved to Sidney. Peter and then Julie were born in Sidney.
Bent went on to become foreman at Philbrook's Shipyard in Sidney during the sixties. A string of large Bill Garden-designed powerboats were built during this time. With the shift to polyester fiberglass construction at Philbrook's in the 70's, Bent decided to accept a position with the United Nations teaching boat-building in Ghana, West Africa.
Upon returning to Sidney in 1973, Bent returned to Philbrooks but was soon lured into a wooden boat building project that Philbrook's had turned down. That was the beginning of Jespersen Boats. Bent's close relationship with Bill Garden helped fill the order book in the early years.
There have been many articles written about the work at Jespersen's shop and of course the boats.
Bent's oldest son Eric, has taken advantage of the boat rich environment he grew up in. Now in charge of the business, he enjoyed working alongside his father until Bent’s retirement in 1995.
Three generations of Jespersens remain involved with the business, boating and sailing (Ross Jespersen).