I remember during my first trip to China that I experienced a similar feeling that our guests in 2002, Steve and Lisa, had when they stayed aboard the Mei Wen Ti for their anniversary.
During my very first meeting at the shipyard the engineer and his team took me on a tour of a new 80-foot fishing vessel that they recently completed so that I could get an idea of their work. The fishing boat had a distinctive clean wood smell and look, I noticed that they hadn’t sanded the wood as I could still see plane marks.
The foreman explained with the help of an interpreter that the Mei Wen Ti would be built using the same basic construction methods, and added that while the craftsmanship would be the same, the last time they had built a junk of the style and size of the Mei Wen Ti was sometime in the 1940s. While I was confident that their skills would accomplish the job, it was a surprise to know that junks like the Mei Wen Ti hadn't been built in such a long time. This would explain why she drew crowds in China.
Through the many entries from our guest logs, I've been able to get a sense of how other people experienced the Mei Wen Ti, so from time to time I'll share them here.
People often ask why I chose to build a wooden boat. I tell them it is because I believe wooden vessels have their own character and each a unique heart and soul. As it turned out, the Mei Wen Ti have proven my theory right.