Cedric Baldwin (1901-1945), the manager of McBryde Sugar Co., Eleele, Kauai, from 1938 to 1942, and an avid deep sea fisherman, was the inventor, in 1941, of a unique small boat drydock.
He needed access to a drydock to enable him to keep his fishing cruiser, Ono, in good trim, and since there were no drydock facilities for small boats then available on Kauai’s Westside, he decided to build his own “seagoing” drydock for use at nearby Wahiawa Bay.
As he envisioned it, the Ono would sail into shallow water as close as possible to Wahiawa Bay’s sloping sandy beach without grounding.
Then his drydock, mounted on wheels, would be driven down the beach and into the water to pick her up and be hauled to shore, where maintenance could be performed on her within the drydock.
Baldwin made a rough drawing and gave it to his mill engineer, Arthur Kruse, and to Frank Pugh, the principal of the Kalaheo Vocational School at Kalaheo School — which was in operation from 1926 to 1952, when it was replaced by the Kauai Vocational School at Kauai High School.
Kruse and Pugh decided his idea would work and made the drawings from which Kalaheo Vocational School students then did the work.
All their material was McBryde scrap.
Inside dimensions of the drydock were 12 by 38 feet, and its rigid framework was made with boat cradles in which were mounted four steam plow wheels seven feet in diameter.
At the rear was a platform on which was mounted an old automobile engine that provided the power to drive the drydock into the bay. Once the drydock was driven out in the water to the top of its wheels, the Ono would sail into the drydock and be blocked up between piers.
After the Ono was secured, a cable from shore was hooked to the rear of the drydock and it was pulled to shore by a tractor.
Navy LCDR Cedric Baldwin was killed in action on Feb. 19, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima.