Spring 2008 - Retired Tugboat Association



Spring 2008 - Retired Tugboat Association
Spring 2008
We’re off to the Wooden
Boat Festival in Olympia.
Not a lot of news to report
this time. Instead, let’s
focus on the direction of the club.
Photo by Tom Blackwood
Notes from the Wheelhouse
Some brief history of the club: It started as a bunch
of families who had old tugs. Many lived aboard.
Others just used their boats for recreation. Later,
we attracted a few families who did light towing.
The group was social, but had other advantages.
It was a source of problem solvers. All old tugs have
problems, be it a broken tailshaft or leaky decks or
poorly working domestic water pumps. It was good
to meet others who faced the same problems. Also
open for discussion were children and later grandchildren.
cruise, meet up, troubleshoot, or just shoot the
breeze. It’s often helpful just to get a recharge of
good “tug energy.” And, who doesn’t want to hear
about a new good coffee shop or ice cream parlor?!
Today, we’re all faced with a few new challenges.
One big one is rising fuel costs. Plus, there’s rising maintenance costs and, well, rising costs of
everything! We can have some events at a house
or restaurant. And, we can vary on-water locations
around the Sound, so it is easier for people to attend without having to take their boats too far.
We do need to hear from you, on what you’d like the
club to do. Let us know!
We have planned a gathering on the OLMSTED in
Everett for May 31. You can come by boat or car.
There are several old tugs on the river there; a good
nucleus for a gathering. We hope to see many of
you there.
Many tugs have gone away, and new ones seem to
appear to take their place. But, the same things are
still true: these old boats need lots of attention, and
it’s nice to have the support and camaraderie of
others of like minds!
- Robin
The newsletter and occasional member list helped
us contact friends to plan cruises, a weekend
gathering at a good anchorage or a get-together at
a coffee shop or ice cream parlor. We helped folks
who were thinking of buying an old tug get guidance
and locate tugs for sale.
This weekend marked the 24th annual tugboat
races in Seattle. Reportedly the largest tugboat
race in the world, tugs in three horsepower classes
raced along the waterfront in Elliott Bay. The races,
and a tugboat “Parade to Post” were part of the annual Seattle Maritime Festival’s Family Fun Day.
Again, not a lot has changed. It’s a good way to
buy or sell a boat, and it’s great to get together to
For more photos and race results, see page 18.
Tug News...
About the IRTA
The International Retired Tugboat Association is a community of tugboats
and workboats, mostly retired, and
tugboat and workboat enthusiasts.
We get together to share tall tales
and information about buying, selling,
owning, maintaining, and appreciating
these unique boats.
Notes from the Wheelhouse ............................................................... 1
We are not collecting membership
dues this year. We have enough in
the treasury to send out the newsletter, so we are not requiring dues.
Please keep us updated of your
contact information and information
about yourself, your boat, your location, etc. And, we hope to see you at
a meet soon!
Salvage, by Nita Foraker ................................................................... 10
The Corkboard ..................................................................................... 2
Spring Rendezvous: May 31st in Everett ........................................... 3
Summer Rendezvous: TBD ................................................................. 3
Bitts & Pieces ....................................................................................... 4
Classified Ads ....................................................................................... 5
Member Profiles .................................................................................. 8
Who Are We? ....................................................................................... 9
Events & Announcements ................................................................ 16
Photos from Past Events .................................................................. 17
Seattle Maritime Festival 2008 ....................................................... 18
Flag Etiquette .................................................................................... 21
Tugboat Notes .................................................................................... 20
Tugboat Mysteries ............................................................................. 21
Quick Survey & Suggestion Box .................................................. insert
Update Your Info for 2008 Roster ............................................... insert
Email Us
If you have questions about the IRTA,
Kae and Robin can be reached by
email, at [email protected] ,
or by phone or mail, if you prefer.
If you have any questions about
the newsletter or the web site,
please contact Tracy and Giles, at
[email protected] .
If you would like to suggest other
news or events that would be of interest to our group, please let us know.
IRTA Web Site
More info, pictures, and more, are
available at www.retiredtugs.org.
Share your stories, pictures, questions, news and tall tales online!
Spring 2008
The Corkboard
The club is a conduit for your ideas! What club activities are you
interested in? Please share your ideas: Dockside Sunday brunches? Meet-ups at cool local museums? Tours of marine and related
industries? Summer flotillas/parades? Meets & dockside events?
Work parties? Insurance, if possible? Group fuel buys, if possible?
Stories & photos in the newsletter? Classified ads? Swap meet and
book exchange? Or, something else? There’s a form that you can fill
out and send in, or drop us a note or email ([email protected]
org). Thanks!
International Retired Tugboat Association
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Spring Rendezvous: May 31st in Everett
It’s time for a Spring Rendezvous on May 31st -- 1 pm, on the OLMSTED, located on the Snohomish River in
Everett. Sorry for the short notice, but we hope you’ll be able to come! Our little spot on the river is home
MISS DOOLITTLE. Bring your boat and join in the fun for the weekend, or drive up and join us for the party!
Please bring something for a potluck at about 3 pm. Let’s see, is that... six bells of the afternoon watch?
If you’ll be coming by boat and are not familiar with the river, please give Giles & Tracy a call at (425) 5914888. We’ll arrange a spot to meet up and pilot you in from the port of Everett area. If you’re coming by
car, directions are below.
Please bring your ideas, of course, on what you’d like to see from the club! If you think you’ll be able to
come, please let Robin & Kae ([email protected]) or Tracy & Giles ([email protected] or
425-591-4888) know. Or, just show up! We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone.
From I-5 Northbound, take the Pacific Ave. exit (Exit 193). At the end of the exit, turn right (onto Pacific
Ave.). Follow the road as it bends to the left. When the road ends, turn right (onto Hewitt Ave.). At the next
bend in the road, you will see a store on your right, a co-op that sells dog food and horse supplies, etc.
Turn off the road onto the gravel lot just past the co-op (you will basically be driving straight off the end of
Hewitt Ave.). Follow the gravel area around the back of the co-op and cross the railroad tracks. Park along
the shoreline. Please be cautious about crossing the railroad tracks. It is a private crossing, so the trains
do not slow or whistle when they approach, and it’s surprising just how sneaky those trains can be!
If you’re coming by boat, there should be plenty of places to tie up for the weekend. Or, if you’re driving
and you’re looking for a place to stay overnight, the closest hotels are: the Holiday Inn (3105 Pine St., 425339-2000), the Best Western Cascadia Inn (2800 Pacific Ave., 425-258-4141), and the Everett Travelodge
(3030 Broadway Ave., 425-259-6141). A little further away, on the bay side of Everett, is the Inn at Port
Gardner (1700 W. Marine View Dr., 425-252-6779).
Summer Rendezvous: TBD
Now is the time to plan our late summer rendezvous. Bring your calendar and your ideas to the Spring
Rendezvous Weekend or let us know what you’d like to do and we’ll vote for you!
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
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Bitts and Pieces
A reminder! We’re putting together a membership directory for 2008, which will be sent out to all members (only) later in the year. Please send us a NEW update form (on the last page) unless you sent one to
us in the last year, and if possible, PLEASE send us boat photos and histories or project updates. Thanks!!
Tugs & Stuff ...ONLINE
Here are some great places to visit online. If you have a spot to share, or have a favorite, please let us
know and we’ll include it in the next issue!
Brian Campbell keeps a COOL BLOG on his web site, www.campbellmaritime.com. Click on “Captain’s
Log” to read his interesting and humorous daily accounts of work, life, and tugboats.
Mark Wilkinson wrote to tell us about the GREAT BOAT MODELS he builds. He does commissions, too!
Check out his work at www.plungercove.com, or call him at his studio, Plunger Cove Studio, (604) 9888597.
Jesse Ruth has some BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS of working tugs in the Puget Sound area, taken while working as
a vessel agent in the Seattle area, on www.atuglife.com, and promises more great photos to come!
Mark Thompson has a web site sharing PHOTOS and STORIES of his 3 retired Canadian workboats, at
www.classicworkboats.com. They are now in Traverse City, MI. Thanks, Mark!
Request for Pictures!
Please send us pictures of your boat! We’d love to gather pictures of all our boats for the roster and for
sharing with the group: exteriors, interiors, engine rooms, projects, cruises, etc. Include a note to let us
know a little history about your boat and what projects you’re working on! Photographers: if you’re able to
catch a shot of someone else’s boat during a meet or event, please send it to us and we’ll post it & pass it
along. It would be much appreciated! (It’s the hardest thing to catch a picture of yourself, isn’t it?)
Also, we’ve had a request for pictures from Olympia Harbor Days last year - if anyone has any they’d be
willing to share, please send ‘em our way and we’ll compile them. We have a few pictures from last year’s
events and will be posting them on the web site, as well. If you have any others you’d like to share, please
send them to us in email ([email protected]) or by US mail (to the address on the back of the
John Earle sent some video of Olympia Harbor Days. Thanks, John! We’ll post some clips on the web site.
We have a few more pictures from the Seattle Maritime Festival, too, which we’ll post on the web site, as
well. If anyone has more they’d like to share, from this year’s events or years past, send ‘em our way!
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
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Oswell Foss
Built in 1940 at Foss Launch & Tug in Tacoma, Washington
Yellow cedar & fir • 74’ x 19’ x 9’ • 8 cyl 450 hp Enterprise engine
4 cyl Cummins aux • 4kw Yanmar Gen • 2500 W Inverter • 900 Gal fresh water
6105 Fuel • 600 Gal holding tank
2 Dbl Staterooms w/ sinks • Boat will sleep 8 • Nice shower in head
New galley / settee, 2 refrigerators, propane cooktop, Dikinson diesel stove
If interested call Jim & Sue at
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 5
For Sale
See this ad or post your own (wanted or for sale) in the Classified Ads section of our website,
CAT D-343TA 300 hp, 5 kw KOHLER Gen, FUEL: 650 gal, FRESH WATER: 135 gal, 3 BERTHS, FURUNO
Tugboat TEAL - Owners Comments
The motor vessel TEAL was built and operated by Alaska Packers Association (APA) and served their
salmon fishing interests from Chignik, on the Alaskan Peninsula, to Ketchikan and south to Birch Bay.
She then worked in the logging industry from Bellingham to Olympia before retiring with the Tacoma
Tugboat Company.
TEAL is a traditional Northwest Coast deep draft, round bilge, plumb stem, elliptical fantail stern workboat, with raised pilothouse and classic sheer lines. She is design number 1500 by Edwin Monk Sr. and
Lorne Garden.
She has proven to be extremely economical to operate and maintain and is in excellent condition, receiving on-going care by her current owners.
You have seen TEAL in maritime festivals and tugboat races from Olympia to Commencement Bay. She
deserves to continue to represent our Puget Sound maritime history.
Interested? Give us a call! Jon or Pat 805.967.8824 or (805)252-5291.
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
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For Sale
See this ad or post your own (wanted or for sale) in the Classified Ads section of our website,
ELF - symoblically named as a “graceful water beast of burden” - is looking for new caretakers :-)
Built in 1902 in Crawford & Reid Shipyard, Tacoma, WA. Worked for Olson Tugboat Company until 1916,
when she went to work for Foss as “Foss #15” until 1970 and, following a few months with Olson, again,
as “Karlyn”, for Tate Towboat (including working on building the Bangor Submarine Station) as “Skookum Cache” until it was bought by Karen and Earl VanDiest in 1989. Renamed to her original name
of “Elf,” she was retired from towing and has undergone extensive renovation since the, including new
decking, tongue & groove sides, portholes, flooring, refrigeration (cold plates), auxilliary engine, hydraulic steering, doors, bunk room, 2 VHF radios, radar, anchor chain, and more!
The Elf was built with clear, at least 800 year old Douglas Fir! The grain is so fine on the boards, you
can’t count the lines. She is double hulled, with the inside planking 3” x 12” and the outside hull 2”
x 8”. And, much of the outside planking is covered with a 4” x 1” layer of iron bark wood, to protect it
from contact with logs. The bulwarks are 10-12” x 8” solid yellow cedar with an iron bark caprail. The
deck planks are fir 3-1/4” x 3-1/4” and set with 6” x 1/2” square nails. In 1993, new teak doors by
master violin bow maker, Michael Vann, were installed.
Current power is a naturally aspirated, air-start, 360hp V12 Caterpillar D386, burning 6-1/2 - 8 gals.
diesel an hour, running at 800-925 rpm. Top speed approx. 11-1/2 knots at 1235 rpm.
Asking: $125,000. Interested? Please call 253-380-6746 (Karen or Earl VanDiest) or 253-307-5754
(Skip VanDiest).
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 7
FOR SALE OR TRADE: 1946 45-ft. steel river tugboat. 265hp Cummins, 15 kW generator, full size stove
and refrigerator. Engine room is full walk around with 55 gallon compressor, arc welder and bench. New
kitchen cabinets. Great liveaboard or fun fishing boat! Asking $55,000 or trade for a motor home or travel
trailer & truck. For more information, call Johnny McBrown at 360-432-8765, Shelton, WA.
(Ad seen recently on www.craigslist.com)
About 40’ may be available in Everett, on the Snohomish River. If you’re interested, please contact Brian at
If you have extra equipment, tools, or spare parts that you’d like to advertise to other folks in the club, or if
you’re looking for something specific, let us know and we’ll put it on the web site and in the next newsletter.
Thanks for Finding Us!
A few people have written to us saying that they used to be members of the club, but hadn’t been getting
newsletters for a while. Our apologies if we inadvertently lost you, and thanks for finding us, again! We’re
always trying to find folks who have been lost from our lists, so if you know of anyone else, please ask them
to contact us or send us their info.
And, a big welcome to the folks who have found us from the web site or from word-of-mouth, etc. We’re
thrilled to have you aboard.
Ron Sloan
Ron was a member of the club previously, and found us, again. He writes: “I’m a commercial fisherman
(think I had the Nova when first joined) that has a soft spot (in the head??) for old tugs. Also a broker now
too in the off season. Would you believe I could have got the Challenger for $10.00 at the Marshall sale??
Had an accident on the way up (hit a deer/fender into tire) and got there an hour late. Heard the guy got
her fired up, hauledout haircut/shave and steamed to Ak! I’d still like to find a large tug, over 80’ & with
some beam, and a deal of course though I doubt the $10 will happen again-GRRRRRRR! My current boat
is the Wet & Wild an 80’x22’x11.5’ steel tuna boat with CAT 353 main, 3 gensets, and two airblast systems, etc. Nothing that would grab the tug crowd, or me, it’s just a tractor. Let me know if you hear of a
large tug. I have my own 300’ wharf to moor her in Windy Bay and do my own work, woodwork too.”
Ric Shrewsbury and FEARLESS
Ric Shrewsbury, of Western Towboat, purchased the ex RUBY II, ex BREEZE, ex DISCOVERY, now the FEARLESS, 52x15x6, with a 160 hp Washington Diesel. He says, “This vessel is still working here and there but
mostly retired.”
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
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Here is a picture of FEARLESS, sporting Western’s livery:
Tugboat Andie and EXCALIBER
Photo by Tracy Wang &
Giles Sydnor
We got a great email from Captain Andrea McDonald (a.k.a. Tugboat Andie), who owns EXCALIBER. The
EXCALIBUR was built in 1908, by Wallace Shipyard in Vancouver, B. C., which would go on to become British Columbia’s most prestigious and productive shipyard of World War II. She is 93 feet long, powered by a
CAT 375 Diesel, and is being restored as a charter and training ship.
EXCALIBER has had many names: OSPREY VII, LE MARS, S. S. LANGSTON HUGHES, and ILLENE, as well as
a previous period of time as EXCALIBER. She towed under the names LE MARS and EXCALIBER for a number of different companies. Thanks for the introduction, and welcome, Captain “Tugboat Andie!”
Who Are We?
We all love tugs... big and small; wood, steel, iron; working, retired, semi-retired, you name it! Some have a
boat (or a project!?), some are looking for a boat, and some just love to admire these unique vessels, with
their beautiful lines and interesting histories. Most of us are in the Puget Sound / British Columbia area,
but we have representation on the “other” coasts, as well: the North Coast, the Right Coast, and the rest of
the, er, “Left” Coast! Here are some miscellaneous stats about our membership at this time (we’re still trying to repopulate our rosters with folks & boats from prevous lists, so stay tuned as we update our stats):
146 Members / Families
100 Members with boats
123 Boats in the Roster (and trying to find more!)
And where are we? 3 members are in Alaska; 18 in British Columbia; 7 in California; 1 in Colorado; 2 in
Florida; 1 in Georgia; 1 in Idaho; 1 in Massachusetts; 1 in Maine; 2 in Nevada; 2 in New York; 6 in Oregon;
1 in Pennsylvania; 1 in Texas; 88 in Washington; plus a few on email only and a few that we need updated
addresses for (hint, hint, if you know someone who’s dropped off the list, send ‘em our way!)
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 9
Nita Foraker shares an excerpt from her upcoming book, Salvage. This is Chapter 3, part 1. Stay tuned for
Part 2 in our next newsletter...
by Nita Foraker
Chapter 3: Fred Devine - Early Career
Mark Freeman once told me “When there is a
marine accident, the companies involved don’t
want the incident reported in the newspapers or
magazines, and work extra hard to this end”. And
how true that statement is, and the hardest part of
doing this book was the research, there is so little
available in the news media, most of what I found
was provided by the family and the company log of
jobs after the building of the Salvage Chief. There
isn’t much on Fred Devine’s early career, just a few
newspaper articles mentioning that he was the
diver on the salvage job.
As we have seen, Devine was only 15 (1913) when
he purchased his first diving suit for $75. and a
diving company. Pretty impressive for such a young
man. This was also during the war years of World
War I.
An old postcard showing the I-5 bridge shortly after being built
Still a young man at the age of 17, Devine worked
on the Interstate bridge across the Columbia River.
When the Interstate (I-5) bridge, (before it was a
two span bridge and renamed Interstate Bridge),
Devine helped set foundation piers in 1915. He
must have been considered a good diver even at
the age of 15. Some people are just born to their
Spring 2008
chosen trade. I suspect Devine was such a person.
Originally the bridge was to be built from plans of
1890, with a railroad deck and an upper wagon
road deck. However, the original plans were scuttled when the bridge work was abandoned. The
railroad didn’t want to include a wagon road and
finally in 1905 they managed to get their way and
built their own bridge minus the wagon road.
However, the Vancouver community, which by the
way, had been for a number of years, pushing for
a wagon road across the Columbia. They realized
Portland had to be enlisted in their fight too, if
they were to succeed. On February 14, 1917 the
new “wagon road” was dedicated and the bridge
opened for traffic the next day. This first span replaced a ferry run at the same location.
I also believe this bridge helped in moving military
supplies and personnel from Fort Lewis south.
WWI (1914-1918)
During World War I (1914-1918) Devine kept himself and his company divers busy like other local
divers during this period. There was more then
enough work to go around, building underwater
ways and pier supports for Standifer Shipyard in
Vancouver, Washington. He was also under contract to Grant-Smith-Porter Shipyard in Portland.
Most of his work was in the Portland/Vancouver
After WWI Devine and his divers continued in diving, salvage and construction work in the Vancouver/Portland area.
Train Wreck - July 11, 1918
Fred’s early diving career was impressive when you
think about what divers of the day used in diving
International Retired Tugboat Association
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(Salvage; continued from page 10)
equipment. Devine was 20-years-old when he was
brought in on his first body recovery job, resulting
from a train wreck. Just before the end of WWI a
tragic railroad accident happened on the Clackamas River and Fred was called in to recover the
body of the train engineer.
It is Thursday evening, July 11, 1918 to be exact,
when a Portland Railway Light and Power Company
freight train rumbling down the tracks crossing the
bridge over the Clackamas River near the River Mill
Power-Plant. When suddenly the bridge collapsed
plunging the head of the train into the river killing
the engineer and conductor and seriously injuring
the brakeman. The trolleyman H. Kleineline narrowly escaped injury. When the bridge collapsed
two electric engines and two boxcars plunged into
the river.
We need to back up a bit and look at some serious
concerns about the bridge itself. There is some
question as to whether the bridge had been condemned or not at the time of the accident since
wagons had been denied access to the roadway
on the railroad bridge because the planking on
the bridge was deemed “unsafe”. A PRL&P VicePresident, one Mr. Fuller, categorically denied the
allegation that the bridge had been condemned
but offered no reason for the bridge collapse. That
would have to be decided when the authorities
investigated the accident and the condition of the
bridge. However, he did verify that it was true the
company had refused access on the bridge to all
wagon traffic. But why!
The PRL&P Co., (ex-Oregon Water Power Railway
Co., ltr-Portland Electric Power and eventually
Portland General Electric), ran electric engines
providing passenger service during the day and
freight and lumber service at night into Portland.
They used the Springwater Division lines between
Portland and the outlying small communities along
Spring 2008
the Clackamas River. In 1903 the line went from
Portland to Estacada.
The PRL&P had built several “electric railroads“
which extended from Portland on a trolley car
system to the outlying areas. The Springwater line
was one such line which began in Sellwood, a community now part of Portland and was completed
to Gresham in 1903. By 1904 the line went to
Cazadero dam a newly completed site just south of
Estacada, bringing the total length of the Springwater line to 34 miles of standard gauge track. The
entire line from Sellwood to Estacada and beyond
was electrified. The electric trolleys could run the
entire line. Electricity was provided by the new
Cazadero power plant located on the river. The line
served both passenger and freight trains. Despite
being essentially a trolley line, it was originally
built to heavy steam locomotive specifications, so
it could easily handle the light diesel locomotive
freight traffic. In 1940 the line was sold to Portland
Traction Company.
The nearby River Mill Power Plant started service in
1911 and was also the first hydro-plant to encounter migrating fish upstream and a fish ladder was
built in 1912 on the river. The power plant is located just west of Estacada.
To get back to the accident, the hero of the day was
Trolleyman Kleineline. He was in the engine when it
plunged off the bridge into the river but did manage to get out and swim to the surface of the water.
He stated later that he stayed with the engine when
he heard timbers cracking, especially when he saw
timbers falling all around him, but he admitted he
was tempted to jump when he first heard the timber cracking sounds. Once in the water he swam
clear of the wreckage and surfaced in a small
clearing in the midst of the shattered timbers and
climbed out. He then heard the brakeman, Ralph
Kearney, crying for help and went to his aid helping
International Retired Tugboat Association
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(Salvage; continued from page 11)
to free him from the top of one of the demolished
boxcars where he was trapped.
When questioned about the accident, Kleineline
reported that the motorman (engineer) William
Murray (45) had stayed at his post and rode the
train engine down into the water but he didn’t think
he was able to escape. Conductor A.G. Kinder’s
(47) body was recovered by other trainmen from
the rear boxcar where he had been killed instantly.
The shattered floating bridge timbers had held the
crushed boxcar up partially above the water.
The first thing the PRL&R officials needed to do
was recover Engineer Murray’s body. They called
in Fred Devine to dive on the wreck and recover the
body and once this was done, salvage of the two
engines could begin.
At the time of the accident Devine was employed at
the Grant-Smith-Porter Shipyard, a large shipyard
located in Portland with a second yard in Aberdeen,
Washington. They built ships during WWI for the
Devine with his tender Irvine Matoom recovered
the body and also did the rigging for the recovery of
the two engines which were pulled out of the water
by crews and equipment belonging to the railroad
company. Since Murray’s body was still in the cab
of the electric engine at the bottom of the river, it
was a difficult job for Devine because of the strong
currents in the river and all the debris in the water
from the bridge. Diving on any kind of wreck, be it
train or ship etc., can be hazardous to a divers life.
Engineer Murray had been with the PRL&R company for seventeen years and left behind a wife
and four children. Conductor Kidder had sixteen
years with the company and left a wife and five
daughters. Brakeman Kearney had been with the
company for just a short time before the accident.
Spring 2008
Train Derailment - February 1, 1954
Our next train derailment involves a unit of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway. I have included
this job in this section only because it also involved
working for a railroad company and didn’t include
use of the Salvage Chief.
A little history on the railroad itself to give a bit
of background. Today the railroad is part of the
Burlington Northern (& Santa Fe Railroad due to a
merger of the two in 1970. The SP&S is also known
as “The Northwest’s Own Railway”. The SP&S was
built by James J. Hill, who at the time also built the
Great Northern Railway and controlled the Northern Pacific and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Railroads. His GN, NP, & CB&Q lines connected
Chicago with Seattle.
The SP&S Railroad was never connected to Seattle.
Originally named the Portland & Seattle Railway to
dupe Edward Harriman, Hill’s nemesis, and owner
of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads, into thinking he was building a line to Seattle. The two men had an ongoing battle as to who
would control the rails in the Pacific Northwest and
the Pacific Coast states.
On July 26, 1909 Hill bought the rights of the Oregon Truck Line and started grading work in the Deschutes canyon (where the derailment happened)
near Bibbs. Crews for E.H. Harriman’s DesChutes
Railroad began work in the canyon shortly after,
both men building a line toward Bend, Oregon. Hill
won the contest, as it did become just that where
Hill was concerned, and on October 5, 1911 Hill
drove the ceremonial golden spike to complete
the rail to Bend. The golden spike came up missing shortly after and many believe Hill pocketed it.
Maybe it was real gold after all!
Derailment of Engine No. 867
In 1954 after Devine finish reconstruction of the
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(Salvage; continued from page 12)
Salvage Chief he was contracted to salvage a
railroad engine from the bottom of a river. When he
saw the job, he knew it was his kind of job, a big
It is a stormy black night, and it is pouring down
pelting rain and cold, very cold, as it can only be on
a midwinters night here in the Pacific Northwest. It
is Monday night, February 1, 1954, and Engine No.
867 is speeding along on it’s normal run through
the Deschutes River Canyon pulling fifty-seven
freight cars behind the three unit engine. Engineer
Ernie Barton tells Head Brakeman, Bill Dougherty,
“to go to the back of the engine units and check
on the train”. A simply precaution on his part as
they are in the canyon where the river is squeezed
through a narrow gorge, creating a massive wall of
raging water.
Left in the lead engine cab with Barton is Fireman
Earl Sutton. The train is coming around a sharp
blind curve and the two men are unable to see the
massive landslide that has just occurred up ahead
on the track. A few minutes previous another train
had passed safely going the other way, so there
is no thought of any danger or problems ahead.
But as Engine No. 867 rounds the curve, it plows
head-on into a massive wall of rock, dirt and mud
careening over the 25-foot embankment, then
breaking loose and dropping into the raging river
disappearing out of sight.
Back in the last engine unit Dougherty hears a
deafening roar echoing through the canyon and is
suddenly thrown violently against the wall of the
locomotive. Behind him, he hears wood splintering with an explosive force as the loaded boxcars
catapult through the air in every direction. Also
heard is screaming steel as the train tears up the
track sending steel track in every direction, causing a shower of coloured sparks like the fourth of
July. As fast as it has happened, it is over and just
Spring 2008
as suddenly a deathly quiet settles on the bizarre
scene from hell. All that can be heard now is the
roar of the storm filled river.
Then a cry of “Derailment” is heard up and down
the line, a cry no railman ever wants to hear. It
doesn’t take long before someone notifies the
station agent at Maupin, a small village about
2.5 miles back up the line. He in turn notifies the
Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad head office.
Before long railroad officials are rushing to Portland
knowing they have a salvage operation to get underway. Not knowing the extent of the derailment,
or even if there has been a loss of life, they need to
salvage and clear the track as soon as possible.
Back at the scene of the derailment the train crewmen are checking their numbers, unfortunately two
are unaccounted for, the engineer and the fireman,
as well as the lead locomotive. The full extent of
the derailment and the damage done is in evidence
at first light of day. The tragedy is disheartening,
the engine and the two missing crewmen are no
where to be seen.
To look at the scene at first light, it had to remind
onlookers of a battlefield scene, with equipment
strewn everywhere. There are seventeen cars haphazardly thrown about, with some of them clinging
precariously to the embankment down at the waters edge. There is lumber, coal and canned goods
strewn all over the canyon banks between the solid
rock canyon wall and the swollen wild river. It is a
surrealistic landscape, only in ones worse nightmare can one even imagine such a scene. Railroad
ties have been reduced to the size of toothpicks or
pulp, rail car trucks are buried deep into the gravel,
a coal car standing precariously on end threatening
to topple, even a refrigerated car at rest 50-yards
downstream from where it left the track, hovering
at the river’s edge threatening to plunge into the
roaring river.
International Retired Tugboat Association
(continued on page 14)
Page 13
(Salvage; continued from page 13)
It didn’t take long for cleanup crews to arrive on
the scene, coming from near and far, all wanting to
help. By first light come the railroad troubleshooters with their railroad derricks. The line must be
cleared as quickly as possible for the other trains
that are due to come down the track.
possible and who can get the job done. He is also
known as the man who never says he will try but
that he will do it. The tougher the job, the bigger
the challenge, the better he likes it. He considers
a challenge always welcome, otherwise life is just
plain dull.
The men have their work cut out for them, the
cleanup will be tedious, dangerous and dirty work
in this narrow violent canyon, and to add to their
problems, they will have to work on a long narrow
dangerous slippery ledge.
His interest and his love of the challenge must
have really “sat up and taken notice” that day the
railroad men contacted him. He has never had to
locate a train engine in a river before and probably
never would again. He must have thought “Now
there’s a real challenge!”, in his wildest dreams he
never expected to be confronted with first having to
find and then raise a train engine out of a river. He
knows the Deschutes River, he has fished it many
times over the years and knows how violent it could
be in the winter months, and he did not kid himself,
he knew it wouldn’t be an easy job.
As the cleanup crews and the railroad derrick crew
clean up the scene of the derailment, other crews
are hard at work trying to locate the missing locomotive and the two missing men that were in it
at the time of the accident. Those looking for the
engine are using probes and electronic sounding
equipment, working up and down the rock embankment. Other crews are searching downstream
looking for the bodies of the engineer and fireman,
all to no avail. When they aren’t found in the river, it
is assumed their bodies are trapped in the sunken
engine, a fair assumtion. So around the clock vigil
is set up on the off chance the bodies will float free
of their iron coffin.
However, seems everything the men try, fails! They
are trying to locate the men and the engine in an
alien world. These are land based men and they
know nothing about working on or in the water.
The company decides to contact the Navy and the
Coast Guard but in the end they aren’t much help
in trying to locate the engine either. Finally someone suggests that maybe they should get someone
who does know what they are doing when working on the water. Someone suggests getting Fred
Devine and he is contacted.
Devine has created a name for himself over the
previous thirty years as a diver who can do the imSpring 2008
Once on the scene of the derailment he scrambled
down the embankment and after taking one look
at that swollen wild river he knew he would not
be using any divers for this job. It would be far too
dangerous and he valved life too highly to ask any
of his divers to go into that hell hole. So, how could
he locate the engine and the two men?
First things first though. On any job there can only
be one boss, and to this end the railroad men put
themselves under the direction of Fred Devine. He
would be the “Supreme Commander” in charge of
the SP&S Railroad crew, the General Construction
Company as well as his own salvage men. After all,
someone who knows what they are doing needs to
be in charge.
First order of business, Devine had the construction company bring in a huge electromagnet from
Astoria which was then hooked to the construction
company’s eighty-foot boom on their crane. Devine
then had the crane operator swing the electromag-
International Retired Tugboat Association
(continued on page 15)
Page 14
(Salvage; continued from page 14)
net out over into the river in hopes of locating the
engine this way. When that didn’t yield any results,
more electronic devices were brought into play to
comb the river torrents from the muddy and rocky
embankments. But again, all to no avail.
Where could that engine be? Seems everywhere
the salvors looked they found nothing but disappointment. The days went by and still the Deschutes hid her secret of where she was hiding the
engine and the two men.
It didn’t take long for the word to spread about the
salvage operation in progress. The salvors soon
had a large audience on the cliffs overlooking the
river. Anxious relatives of the missing men, officials and the curious, all braving the sharp cold wet
winter weather. And they would stay for the duration of this salvage operation.
So far nothing has worked, so Devine decides to
try something new, he would fall back on what he
knew best. After all he had been working on the
water since he was 15 and he had learned a few
tricks over the years and it was time he started
thinking like a seaman again.
He had his crew rig up a flat bottom surfboat type
barge, similar to the type he often used in searescue work. It would be risky business using it
in the raging river but no more risky than working
in a raging surf on some beach. Devine had the
barge secured by cables to each side of the river.
If a man lost his balance or the barge upset, the
man or all the men on the barge could conceivably
be swept downriver or even smashed against the
sharp rocks lining the canyon walls. To help stabilize the barge a bucket was tied off the barge to act
as a sea anchor. The men using long pipe poles
searched up and down the storm swollen river from
the barge, still they found nothing.
Spring 2008
Devine’s mind was working overtime as usual. He
was entertaining an idea, that maybe, just maybe,
the river swept the 128-ton locomotive downstream. Could it really have been swept further
downstream? How far, he had no idea, but thought
it could very well have. He ordered the men to extend their search further and further downstream
from the original site.
Finally after much probing, a shout could be heard
nearly 100-yards downriver from the site where the
locomotive had entered the water from the man riding the magnet boom. Could they have finally found
it? Although nothing could be seen in the mud
filled rushing water, the probes definitely had hit
something made of metal. Lloyd Holliday, a railroad
telegraph lineman, brought his probe up and found
grease and green and yellow paint on the pipe-rod
threads. Devine and everyone knew they had finally
located the lost engine.
Now the big job begins and the big question — how
to get it up and out of the river? But first the salvors
have to determine if the two railroad men are still
inside the locomotive and how to get their bodies
More probing is done to determine the position the
engine is in and how it is laying on the river bed.
The salvors are thinking it is probably on it’s back
or side as determined from the grease on the
probe. Grease could only have come from the
trucks of the engine. It also seemed to be laying
just about 15-feet deep with the uppermost part
just 5-feet beneath the water surface. Also determined it is lying at right angles to the shoreline.
International Retired Tugboat Association
(to be continued in the next issue...)
Page 15
Events & Announcements
Upcoming Events
May 31: IRTA Spring Rendezvous Weekend
...with a meet-up on Saturday (the 31st) at 1300h and potluck at 1500h on the after deck of
the OLMSTED on the Snohomish River in Everett. More details on page 3.
TBD: IRTA Late Summer Rendezvous
Now is the time to plan our late summer rendezvous. Bring your calendar and your ideas to
the Spring Rendezvous Weekend or let us know what you’d like to do and we’ll vote for you!
Rumor has it, the sun is coming soon, and with it, more Northwest events! Here are some:
July 3: Foss Waterway Seaport Working Waterfront Museum Re-opening, Tacoma, WA
Tacoma’s Working Waterfront Museum will be reopening after extensive repairs to this historic dock. Visit the 4,000 square foot interactive exhibit, “Navigation: Finding Your Way,”
here from the San Francisco Exploratorium through the Fall. For more information, visit www.
fosswaterwayseaport.org or call 253-272-2750.
July 4th Celebrations (at least a few of them):
Everett Waterfront Celebration: fair, usually an open house at the Naval Station, fireworks
Gasworks Park/Lake Union: fair (12:00 pm) and fireworks (10 pm)
Myrtle Edwards Park: “Fourth of Jul-Ivars” fair (12:30 pm) and fireworks (10 pm)
Roche Harbor: fireworks
Tacoma Freedom Fair: fair (10 am), air show (1:30 pm), fireworks (10:10 pm)
July 4 - 6: 32nd Annual Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, Center for Wooden Boats
Includes “live music, on-shore skill deomstrations, food vendors and plenty of classic wooden
boats ranging from motorized lauches and runabouts to sailboats, rowing craft and large
cruisers.” Visit www.cwb.org or call 206-382-2628 for more information.
August 16: Foss Cup, Bellevue Park, Bellevue, WA
Here’s another tug-related event, but on a different, er, scale! The Foss Cup is a radio-controlled tugboat competition, held at Bellevue Park, at 9 am. Spectators are welcome, or if
you’d like to participate, contact Randy Flodquist, Northwest R/C Shipmodelers at 206-5226306, or visit www.shipmodelers.com.
August 29-31: Olympia Harbor Days, Percival Landing & Port Plaza, Olympia, WA
The tugboat races are scheduled for noon on Sunday, the 31st. Boat touring is scheduled for
Saturday, if you are interested in participating or touring. The festival on shore runs all three
If there are other events that would be of interest to the group, please send them to us so we
can add them to the newsletter and our online calendar at www.retiredtugs.org.
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 16
Photos from Past Events
Photo by Tom Blackwood
Last Spring’s IRTA Meet, in Port Orchard, WA.
R.W. CONFER (left).
See their new deck
house modifications
at this year’s Spring
Meet on May 31!
Tom Blackwood and Janis Bialko visit with Kae
Paterson (below)
Karen and Earl Van
Diest (right), of ELF
Photos courtesy of Debbie and Dave
Grimm, of REBOUND.
JOE, looking sharp at the dock (below)
Giles Sydnor, Tracy Wang, Robin Paterson, Tana
and Rex Hasart, enjoying a potluck on OLMSTED.
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 17
Seattle Tugboat Races 2008
The 24th annual tugboat races in Seattle brought
out about 30 tugboats, including a parade entry
by the 100 year old EXCALIBER, formerly known
The SHELLEY FOSS was certainly the most decorated with flags.
TEAL (below) and OLMSTED sported the IRTA
A slight delay in getting the festivities started
gave the tugs a chance to play push-o-war...
Plus there was time in the afternoon for visiting.
The Coast Guard rescue demo was a crowd pleaser.
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 18
Classic Tugs started off the race heats, with nine
And finally, the big Unlimiteds unleashed their
horsepower upon Elliott Bay.
Crowley retained the crown, as HUNTER handily
defended its motto, “Fastest Tug in Puget Sound.”
Photos by Tracy Wang & Giles Sydnor
Next up were the Harbor Tugs, throwing a little
more wake.
Race Results
Here are the race results and official times for the course along the Seattle Waterfront:
Class C “Classic Tug Race”
OLMSTED (7:44)
PARTHIA (8:18)
TEAL (8:38)
FLYER (8:54)
MAGGIE B (9:12)
TEXADA FIR (11:21)
IRON BARK (15:33)
Spring 2008
Class B “Harbor Tug Race”
RED BLUFF (7:36)
ANZIO (7:48)
GLEN COVE (8:01)
International Retired Tugboat Association
Class A “Unlimited Tug Race”
HUNTER (5:55)
VALOR (6:25)
AMERICA (6:31)
TRITON (6:37)
EMMA FOSS (7:05)
Page 19
Tugboat Notes
- by Capt. Nick Roman
Captain Nick Roman, who worked on harbor and coastwise tugs out of Vancouver, B. C., from 1947 to
1968, writes us with some interesting notes about some Sound tugs. Thanks, Capt. Roman!
ATREVIDA: ‘Atrevida’ is Spanish for ‘audacious.’ Originally built as a ferry boat, my first skipper’s job was
on the Westview - Blubber Bay (Texada Island) run. I relieved the regular skipper for 2 weeks, in the early
‘60’s. I read somewhere she was converted to a pleasure boat. I would like to see a picture of the conversion.”
ARCTIC STRAITS: in the late ‘40’s and early ‘50’s, when I was decking on the harbor tug ARTCTIC STRAITS,
our main job was towing IMPERIAL BARGE X, carrying diesel and gasoline products, from Ioco, B. C. - Port
Moody to False Creek. Every six weeks, we would tow this barge up to the B. C. Forest Products logging
camp at the top end of Pitt Lake. BARGE XI carried bunker oil only. I remember a Joe Keegan (any relation
to Dawne & Tom Keegan, who are members of the Westcoast Work Boat Association?), who was a bargeman on Imperial XI for the Imperial Oil Co. of Vancouver.
TROJAN: The TROJAN, which was a bed & breakfast when I visited Poulsbo, WA, in 1990, was the old C. P.
YORKE. It was one of my last towboat jobs. I was mate on her in 1968.
National Maritime Day
National Maritime Day is coming up on May 22nd. In 1933, Congress created National Maritime Day. It
honors the contributions and sacrifices of the merchant marine and celebrates the maritime industry. May
22 was chosen, as it was the date that the American steamship Savannah set sail, in 1819, on the first
ever transoceanic voyage under steam power, from Savannah, Georgia, to Liverpool, England. In 29 days,
4 hours, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. To observe the date, one is to display the U. S.
flag at “home or other appropriate place.”
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 20
Flag Etiquette
Although the “W” flag usually indicates “requiring medical assitance,” Chapman’s Quick Reference Guide to Nautical Flags says that you can fly the “W” flag when leaving participation in an
annual yacht club cruise.
But one question which we couldn’t find a direct answer to is this - on a single mast, with port and starboard spreaders, on which side should one fly the IRTA burgee? If anyone knows, please tell us and we’ll
share the answer in the next newsletter. Thanks!
Tugboat Mysteries
Every now and then, do you wonder to yourself, “Whatever happened to this boat that I used to see...”
Here’s our current list of “where are they” boats, as well as boats folks have seen around and would like to
know more about. Does anyone know more about them - current owners, plans, latest news, home ports,
etc.? If you’ve been wondering about a boat, let us know - maybe someone knows more!
Atlas (Port Townsend)
Atrevida (we’d love to see pictures of the conversion!)
Dutchman (Anacortes)
Magic (Port Townsend)
Marilyn (Seattle)
Mystery (Port Orchard)
Owl (Port Townsend)
Patricia Ann (La Conner)
Polhemus (Seattle)
Raccoon (Port Orchard)
Reliable (Bainbridge Island?)
Skillful (Seattle)
Tiger Rose (Friday Harbor)
In the Next Issue...
Stay tuned for the second part of Salvage, chapter 3, plus John Earle’s “Tugology 101.” And, we’ll report
back on the results of our club survey. As always, send us your photos, notes and articles!
Spring 2008
International Retired Tugboat Association
Page 21
Tug’s Eye View of the
Seattle Tugboat Races (pg. 18)
Preview of Salvage, by
Nita Foraker (pg. 10)
In This Issue:
International Retired Tugboat Association
c/o Tracy Wang & Giles Sydnor
2625 Colby Ave., #3-202
Everett, WA 98201
Address Correction Requested

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