Ion Barnes - President

Ion Barnes is from the third generation of a family of sailors, born and raised in Victoria BC. He was trained as a ship repair machinist for HMCS Dockyard and as a marine engineer with Fisheries and Oceans. He later became a stationary engineer and worked for Cowichan District Hospital for 29 years until he retired. He has been active in the Cowichan Power and Sail Squadron for the past fourteen years where he taught safe boating skills. He enjoys building or repairing most things and also has a love for photography, boating and cooking


Len Mayea - Secretary

I’m a local. I was born in Duncan and have fond memories of fishing in Cowichan Bay with my Dad in his 12-foot clinker built dinghy. I’ve taught in Duncan, Britain and New Zealand but since 1971 I taught in Lake Cowichan Schools. I retired in 1999.

I’ve enjoyed building dinghies and sailed them in the lake in front on my home in Youbou. I even acquired a 34-foot cruiser, Edac, originally built in 1914 and hoped to restore her, but she had too much rot, so I reluctantly stripped her and cut her up. In 2004 I acquired Marcelle, a 32-foot pilothouse sailboat and have spent years restoring her to pristine condition.

I have been a member of the Cowichan Bay Wooden Boat Society since 1988 and served as Secretary/Treasurer from 1996 until 2010 but I want the Cowichan Maritime Centre to become a place for wooden boat enthusiasts, and an interpretive centre for our maritime history, so I once again became a Director.

I delight in procuring and preparing the wood for the Kids Boat building booth and love to watch the youngsters create their own model boats


Victor Lironi - Director

Victor came from a sailing family and grew up in and around boats in the UK. Arriving on the West Coast in his twenties, he and his father raced a Lightning sailboat out of Kitsilano YC and went on to build a Thunderbird 26 ft cruising sloop, using it to explore the Gulf Islands.

Victor's professional career as a marine instructor began when he started work as the fleet captain for the Guided Cruise business started by Bosuns Charters in Sidney, and continued when he took over the sailing programme at Brentwood College where he was a housemaster, adding instruction in navigation and boatbuilding to the curriculum. In the summers he worked as an instructor for his wife, Maureen, who owned Canoe Cove Charters, a sailing and power boating school.

During this period Victor became a CYA racing instructor as well as a Learn to Cruise Instructor Evaluator, and joined the ISPA, International Sail and Power Association ,when it was formed in the 1990's where he is now a director.

He continues to work for a group of yacht charter companies as a captain and instructor on both sail and power boats, and for the ISPA, training instructors.

His own boat is HANNA, a wooden gaff rigged Tahiti Ketch. Launched in 1949 she is a classic beauty, and an ongoing exercise in maintenance and restoration.


George Karras – Director

As professional seafarer and Master Mariner, I have a lifetime of experience with boats and ships.  I owned and operated commercial fishing vessels, skippered tugs on the BC coast and was captain of deep sea cargo ships around the world.  In the last 15 years I was fortunate to cap my seagoing career by working for Transport Canada Marine Safety. It was my opportunity to give back to the marine industry that I love by helping mariners advance in their careers and boat builders to comply with the regulations, and by promoting good seamanship, safety and protection of our waters. 

The one constant in my life has been my love for vessels of all types, their design and seaworthiness, no matter what type or size. I have been an amateur shipwright and have owned my present pleasure boat, the MV Falcon Rock, for 15 years during which I have kept her in good shape.  It is with this passion and knowledge that I hope to help the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society as a Director.


Carmel Nelson – Director

I grew up on the East Coast of Canada enjoying summers at my grand­parents' cottage on the Northumberland Strait. Always happiest being on or near the ocean, I went from one coast to the other. My husband Dave introduced me to boating on this coast and of course insisted I take the Power Squadron course, which I gladly did. Our adventures included boating trips to Hot Springs Cove, Bamfield area, Pedwell Harbour, Pedder Bay to mention a few. Some of our ocean adventures also included some week long kayak treks in the Bamfield area. Recently we've been fortunate enough to purchase our latest "project" from the CWBS. It needs a bit of TLC and power, which when ready, will no doubt give us many years of enjoyment.

I've been an active member of the Cowichan Valley Dragon Divas for the past 2 tear􀀘 and :know how much our group appreciates being able to call the Cowichan Maritime Museum "home".

I look forward to helping out wherever and whenever I can as well as act as liaison between our 2 groups. I can appreciate that there are exciting times ahead with the pier restoration project!


Lew Penny – Director

I grew up on the East Coast of Canada working wooden boats in the fishing industry, other workboats and enjoying recreational boating. During the recreational years owned a classic wooden sailboat for over 14 years cruising the beauty of the Gulf Islands and beyond. I recently sold this cherished possession.

After retirement in 1999, moving to Cowichan Bay gave me the opportunity to join the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society and have been an active member ever since. During those years I have held many positions on the Board of Directors, helping to fulfill the vision to build a community based maritime museum and small boat shop.



Doug Johnson - Director

Keep an eye out here for Doug's photo and bio.


Glen Gratton - Director

My background was in the consumer food industry, initially with General Mills in Ontario and then in British Columbia where I was with a natural foods company and prior to retiring, ownership of a wholesale coffee roastery.

I grew up in the late 40’s and 50’s in a small Ontario village on the shores of Lake Huron where fishing was a significant part of the town’s economy. But today, some 60 years later, it is all gone. There is nothing left in place to remember a century of important local history.

In contrast, on my first visit a few years ago to the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, I was very impressed with what a good job was being done in preserving and presenting the local maritime history. Each subsequent visit, reinforces that first impression.

Although my experience in maritime issues is limited, I fully support the mandate of the Maritime Centre and am happy to help the ongoing efforts in whatever way I can.


Dave Sharrock - Director

Steve Taylor

My name is Steve Taylor and I joined the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre two years ago.  I am happy to be serving my 1st term on our board of directors.

I recently retired from a 35 year career as a teacher and administrator in the B.C Public School System. Throughout the years I was always able to mature my interest in working with wood. I taught woodwork and construction courses in a variety of different settings.

The first day I walked into the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre’s workshop, I knew I had found  a place where I could spend some time. After familiarizing myself with the shop, I have taught two different courses and I look forward to being involved in others in the future.

As a 1st term director, I plan to listen and learn about the history of the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre. Moving forward, I will work to make sure our workshop is well used and well equipped. I also am very excited about our  Pier Reconstruction Project. The new pier will be a huge undertaking. When completed, I believe it will be a jewel to Cowichan Bay and the entire Cowichan Valley.


Geoff Vale - Director

Geoff Vale, currently resides in Mill Bay. He has been interested in marine and nautical positions all his life. From 1976 – 1982 he was the senior Hull and Cargo Surveyor for Marine Design Associates Ltd, Victoria. In 1982, Geoff was Chief Officer of M/V “Mai”.

From 1984 – 1995 he was Marine Surveyor for Ship Safety Transport Canada. From 1995 to present he works for Lloyds Sub Agent for Central Vancouver Island. Geoff with his marine background brings many skills to our Cowichan Wooden Boat Society.

We are pleased to have him on our board of Directors and we appreciate his keenness to volunteer.