DAVID G. SELLARS ON THE WATERFRONT: Officially derelict sailboat cut up in pieces
By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist
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The ferrocement boat was sitting on the hard at the Port Angeles Boat Haven storage yard after being hauled out of the water earlier this year when the state Department of Natural Resources declared her to be a derelict vessel and earmarked her for disposal.
Last month, Global Diving and Salvage spent a day breaking the vessel up with a small backhoe and loading the detritus into a couple of drop-boxes for transport to a landfill.
For the past few years, Esther Marie garnered some unwanted notoriety.
The gale-force winds of last November caused the boat to drag her anchor, and the wayward vessel was corralled by the Coast Guard in the area of the fish pens off Ediz Hook.
She was secured to the Coast Guard’s buoy at the west end of the harbor until the winds subsided.
Then the owner of the sailboat, Doug Zimmerman, returned her to the anchorage from where she had broken free.
Just before Christmas 2008, Esther Marie broke loose from her moorings and ended up on the rocks at Hollywood Beach.
For two days, the boat was thrashed upon the rocks in front of the Red Lion Hotel by the ebb and flow of the tides.
A good Samaritan, Fred Rodolf, brought his 76-foot Alaskan tour boat, Lu-Lu Belle, around from the Boat Haven and towed the stranded boat off her perch at high tide.
Once free of her rocky roost, Esther Marie was temporarily moored between two float-guide pilings at City Pier.
Found to be free of any significant damage, she was moved out into the harbor — where DNR eventually gained custody of her.
In the Port Angeles Boat Yard, Craig Hutchinson of Walnut Creek, Calif., has his boat, Lightning, sitting on the hard.
She is a 41-foot Tartan sailboat that he recently purchased in Bremerton.
Craig spent Wednesday removing the mast with the help of Admiral Crane and local waterfront fixture and raconteur Paul Alessi.
Craig said that he was getting the boat ready for shipment to the San Francisco Bay area, although initially, his plan was to sail Lightning to her new home.
I asked him what came of that plan, and he responded by saying: “Owner error.”
Originally, Craig said a couple of his friends were going to sail the boat with him to California, but for whatever reason, that did not come to pass, so Craig decided to go it alone.
He left Bremerton and began to make his way west. Along the way, there wasn’t much wind, which meant Craig had to motor his way through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
He snapped off the accelerator lever out in the Strait.
He was able to work around this mishap and continued west.
Then the transmission became stuck in low gear and could only make about 500 rpm — but he was still able to make headway and continued on his journey.
Once in the open ocean, there was wind aplenty, so Craig set his sails.
But it wasn’t long before the mainsail ripped.
Craig said that he had a lot of sail aboard Lightning, but there was only one mainsail. At this point, he had no choice but to turn back.
Once back in the Strait, he realized that the batteries were losing their power because the engine’s low rpm output was insufficient to maintain a steady charge.
Along with diminishing battery power came the total loss of his electronics.
Added to the heap of problems Craig had encountered was the fact that he had not slept for three or four days, and admits that he wasn’t thinking all that clearly.
He found himself outside of what he thought was Port Townsend in the middle of the night but couldn’t be sure because he had no paper charts.
His cellphone also had gone dead, so he contacted the Coast Guard for help.
The Coast Guard contacted Vessel Assist of Port Hadlock — Craig was a member — and a boat was dispatched to tow him to Port Angeles from the waters off Freshwater Bay.
Craig readily admits that there were a whole host of issues within his control that caused his troubles upon the water, but he said the one thing he did do correctly — and which he urges all mariners to do — is to become a member of BoatUS and subscribe to its Vessel Assist boat-towing services.
Also on the hard
Mike and Yvette Sabin of Port Angeles also have their boat, Sea Chest, in the Port Angeles Boat Yard.
She is a 42-foot Grand Banks Classic that was built in 1972. They bought the boat five years ago in Port Townsend, and Mike said she had a lot of deterioration from sitting outside in the water.
Mike told me he was seduced by the fact that the boat had a new Northern Lights genset, four new fuel tanks, a new furnace and some new electronics.
He said he made an offer to purchase Sea Chest based on the new stuff aboard the vessel — and, unfortunately, the owner accepted his offer.
The past five years have been spent restoring the 40-year-old wooden boat, which is powered by twin Ford Lehman 120 horsepower diesel engines that allow the boat to cruise at a comfortable 8½ knots.
The Sabins have the boat on the hard this week for bottom paint and a new boot stripe.
Mike said his brother and nephew are helping with the project, and as long as the vittles and grog keep flowing, they keep working.
Once the refurbishing project is complete, the Sabins will sell the boat and, as is their wont, will be looking for another challenge.
Port Angeles Harbor watch
Last Sunday, Tesoro Petroleum bunkered Alaskan Frontier, a 941-foot double-hull crude-oil tanker that is under contract to BP LLC, the British multinational oil and gas company that is headquartered in London.
On Tuesday, Tesoro refueled British Courage, a 755-foot LPG tanker that is flagged in Great Britain.
Tesoro provided bunkers Wednesday to the 791-foot-long crude-oil tanker British Laurel, also flagged in Britain.
Wednesday was a busy day: Tesoro also refueled the 440-foot-long Russian-flagged dry-cargo ship Simushir.
On Friday, Tesoro had its refueling barge alongside Alaskan Explorer, the 941-foot-long sister ship to the Alaskan Frontier.
On Saturday, Tesoro bunkered Tosca, a 597-foot petroleum-products carrier that is flagged in Liberia.
Tesoro also refueled Overseas Los Angeles, a 600-foot-long petroleum-products carrier that is flagged in the United States.
David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the waterfronts.
Items involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome.
Email email@example.com or phone him at 360-808-3202.
His column, On the Waterfront, appears Sundays.
Last modified: August 04. 2012 7:11PM