ON THE WATERFRONT WITH DAVID G. SELLARS: Adventures on both sides of the Strait
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The 11th 164-foot yacht from Westport Shipyard’s Port Angeles plant, Harmony, sits at a dock in Boat Haven. -- Photo by David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
The drill ship Joides Resolution dominates Victoria's Ogden Point with its 200-foot derrick.
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Victoria News
The large trawler American Dynasty sits impaled on the bow of a Canadian Navy ship in Esquimalt Harbour after the American ship suddenly sped up and lost control.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
The refurbished 38-foot Coast Guard arctic survey boat is ready to be trailered back to its host ship, the icebreaker cutter Healy in Seattle.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Members of the Gross family gather on a dock at Port Sidney, B.C., prior to the start of the Port Angeles Yacht Club's predicted log race named in memory of Dr. Alvin Gross. From left are Ted Gross, Gary Gross, Rick Gross and Chuck Gross. Chuck, who now skippers Eldorado, and Gary are Dr. Gross' sons. Rick is Dr. Gross' grandson, and Ted is a cousin to all.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Pearl, a 45-foot Chris Craft, is owned by Al Davis and is shown at the D Float at Port Sidney Marina, B.C., prior to the start of last Saturday's Dr. Alvin Gross Predicted Log Race.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Sunny Sue, a 36-foot Sabre, is shown at D Float in the Port Sidney Marina, B.C., on the day before the April 27 predicted log race of the Port Angeles Yacht Club. Stve Debiddle owns the boat.

By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist

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My wife, Mardi, and I took last week off and went to Victoria aboard the MV Coho to spend time with her mother, a dear lady whose family dates back to the first non-native child born in Fort Victoria in the early 1850s.

Going to Victoria gives us a little time to relax, eat in a handful of our favorite restaurants and, of course, an opportunity to observe the diverse waterfront of southern Vancouver Island.

Approaching Inner Harbour, the ferry passed Ogden Point, where the ­Joides Resolution is moored.

She is a Cypriot-flagged drill ship that has been moored in Victoria since the middle of February.

The 470-foot-long ship, built by Halifax Shipyard in Nova Scotia, has a drilling derrick that is more than 200 feet tall.

She was originally built and launched as Sedco/BP 471 for use as an oil exploration vessel.

In 1985, she was converted to a scientific research vessel and is now used to take core samples from the ocean floor to monitor the environment.

Passengers on the Coho will see the Joides Resolution until May 29, when she leaves for two months in Alaskan waters, then to Busan, South Korea, in time for the end of the monsoon season.

Vessels collide

The big maritime news of the week in the Victoria area involved a ship that has a little history in Port Angeles.

American Dynasty, a 272-foot factory trawler based in Seattle, collided with the moored Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg at C Jetty in Esquimalt Harbour.

American Dynasty was making her way to the graving dock at Victoria Shipyard for maintenance when a series of unexplained electrical events caused the ship to surge from a speed of 1˝ knots to about 8 knots.

Within the space of only a couple of minutes, she rammed into the Canadian warship.

The port bow of the Canadian ship was damaged, and the factory trawler sustained a huge gash on her bow.

American Dynasty was unable to drop her anchors in an attempt to slow her forward progress because they were lashed to the deck — a shipyard requirement to avoid damage to the dock caused by an unintentional deployment.

The catcher-processor also was tethered fore and aft to tugs that apparently found it necessary to cut their lines loose when the ship surged.

Numerous aspects of this mishap are being investigated by a bunch of folks from the appropriate Canadian and American agencies, and I suspect it will be quite some time before the cause of the collision will be known.

In October 2006, American Dynasty moored to the Port of Port Angeles’ T-Pier.

She had been fishing Pacific whiting off the Oregon coast and came dockside for stores, including a tractor-trailer load of fresh fruits, vegetables and frozen food that was delivered by Charlie’s Produce of Seattle.

While ship’s personnel hoisted maintenance and repair parts aboard the vessel, Rainier Petroleum loaded 45,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The factory trawler then headed back to the Oregon coast to continue fishing off Coos Bay.

In memory of Dr. Al

Last weekend, the Port Angeles Yacht Club held the second annual Alvin Gross Memorial Log Race in the waters between Sidney and Victoria.

Although the event dates back to the 1960s, with the passing in 2011 of longtime yacht club member and former commodore Dr. Alvin Gross — who won the event an unprecedented 12 times — the club’s membership voted in 2012 to create a new plaque and rename the event in the Port Angeles dentist’s memory.

The concept of a predicted log race is similar to that of a road rally for autos.

There are multiple checkpoints and a 15-minute window that each contestant must finish within or be disqualified.

Each participant must use a “fixed throttle” for the event.

Prior to starting out, each boat traverses a measured mile to determine its respective throttle setting for the contest, from which the captain of the boat cannot deviate under penalty of disqualification.

This is not a speed contest, but rather a predicted-time contest.

Al Davis, a former commodore of the yacht club and a former winner, has commented in the past that this type of race is all about the navigator; the boat captain is all but irrelevant.

The winner of this year’s event was David Miller aboard his Nauticat motor-sailer, Papillion, and the navigator was Bob Morrison.

Runner-up was Frank Benson on Tatoosh, a 45-foot Chung Hwa trawler that carried navigator Bob Brummett.

Davis and his navigator, Jim Ball, brought Al’s 45-foot Chris Craft, Pearl, home in third place, followed by Steve DeBiddle aboard Sunny Sue, a 36-foot Sabre, accompanied by the boat’s prior owner, Chris Zook, as the navigator.

Eldorado, a 35-foot Chris Craft that Dr. Gross had owned for more than 50 years, came in fifth with his son Chuck at the helm and grandson Rick at the compass.

No. 11 hits the water

Early Thursday morning — really early — Westport Shipyard in Port Angeles launched Harmony, the 11th 164-foot yacht built at Westport’s 120,000-square-foot facility on Marine Drive.

The yacht remained at the haul-out dock throughout the day as personnel and contractors ran through their checklists before firing up her engines and powering up her systems prior to taking her over to moorage at the Boat Haven.

During the course of the day, Westport personnel also performed an incline experiment, designed to test the stability of a new vessel.

The experiment consists of moving heavy weights about the deck and recording the angles of heel that are produced.

The data are then used to calculate the vertical position of the center of gravity.

When a yacht is constructed, all components used in construction are weighed, and the data are used to calculate the vertical position of the center of gravity.

If the center of gravity is too low on the vessel, it will return to center with a hard snap, causing personnel to be cast about.

If the center is too high, it will cause the vessel to heel over.

If necessary, ballast is moved or added to achieve the required stability.

Platypus activity

Platypus Marine, the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer next door to Westport on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, returned Spin Cycle to the water.

She is a West Bay Sonship 58 that was built in Delta, B.C.

Marty Marchant, Platypus’ director of sales and marketing, said the yacht visited Platypus for about a month for a freshening-up.

Personnel built new countertops in the galley to complement the new cook top.

New flooring was installed in the guest head, lighting was upgraded in the salon, and a new chart plotter was installed on the flying bridge.

Platypus also loaded a 38-foot arctic survey boat (ASB) onto a trailer for transport to the Coast Guard base at Pier 36 in Seattle.

The boat is a utility vessel than can be loaded onto the icebreaker cutter Healy (WAGB-20) for use by up to nine scientists as they pursue their research activities in the Arctic Ocean.

Marty said the boat was at Platypus’ facility for about a month.

When it first arrived, it was taken to the Port Angeles Boat Yard, where a contractor hydro-blasted the hull with equipment that generated about 10,000 pounds per square inch of water pressure.

Marty said personnel then repaired corrosion issues that were exposed by the blasting process and repainted the hull.

PA Harbor filler-up

Tesoro Petroleum on Tuesday bunkered Polar Enterprise, an 854-foot crude oil tanker that is owned by ConocoPhillips and a familiar fixture on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS, route.

On Thursday, Tesoro refueled Alaskan Explorer, a 941-foot double-hull crude oil tanker — also a TAPS regular — that is operated by the Alaska Tanker Co. and owned in part by BP LLC.

On Friday and Saturday, Tesoro provided bunkers to the Crowley-owned articulated tugs and barges Vision and Pride, respectively.

Today, Tesoro was scheduled to Overseas Martinez, a 597-foot petroleum-products carrier whose hailing port is Wilmington, Del.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the waterfront.

Items involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. Email dgsellars@hotmail.com or phone him at 360-808-3202.

His column, On the Waterfront, appears every Sunday.

Last modified: May 04. 2013 6:40PM
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