George Edwin William Monk, 1894 - 1973

Ed Monk, Sr., one of the premier naval architects of the Pacific Northwest from the late 1920s through the 1960s, designed everything from dinghies to sailboats to power boats. (During World War II, he even found himself designing military patrol boats, fishing boats, tugs and towboats.) Yet the Monk legend is connected more with classic power cruisers than with any other style of boat.

Monk was born in Port Blakely, WA.  In 1934 his first book, Small Boat Building, was published, followed by Modern Boat Building in 1939 (Revised again in 1973.)[1]

Monk began his career as a shipbuilding apprentice in 1914. He then went on to work at the Blanchard Boat Co. on Lake Union, where he met naval architect Ted Geary. In 1926 Geary hired him as a draftsman. Around 1934, Monk designed and built the 50' yacht "Nan", which he and his family lived aboard at the Seattle Yacht Club. Originally he kept his design office aboard Nan, using a small corner of the saloon. That little corner was just big enough for Ed's drawing board, a client and himself. This experience made Monk ideally suited to consider the needs of liveaboards -- built-in dining nooks with windows low enough to see out of comfortably, galleys with good-sized sinks and ice-boxes, adequate ventilation and lots of storage space. "Some of the nice things about living aboard are that the motor is always warm and dry and ready to start. You never have to worry about freezing and, in fact, it starts more easily in winter than summer. In summer, one can anchor away from the city and commute; in winter, you are as snug as can be, with all the comforts of home."

Monk moved his office to the Grandy Boat Company in 1940, and later to an office at the Marina Mart on Westlake Ave. In 1947 he moved again, to the National Building, near the Coleman Dock on the Seattle waterfront. This was convenient for his daily commute from his home on Port Madison.

Monk died in 1973 at age 79, after a successful and prolific career.

-by Rick Etsell


  1. Modern Boat Building, Revised Edition, by Edwin Monk, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973, ISBN0-684-15257-6
  2. Ed Monk and the Tradition of Classic Boats, by Bet Oliver, 1998, ISBN 0-920663-60-5

Ed Monk's yacht "Nan":

Ed Monk's "Nan"

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