DAVID G. SELLARS ON THE WATERFRONT: Unmanned-aircraft system installed on Westport prototype cutter
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Contract workers install an unmanned-aircraft system aboard Westport Shipyard’s Solution at Port Angeles Boat Haven. —Photo by David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
The Coast Guard cutter Sea Devil is hoisted out of the water for maintenance work and repainting.

By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime columnist

An unusual-looking apparatus was installed Thursday on the foredeck of Solution (GRC 43), which is moored to Westport Shipyard’s dock at Port Angeles Boat Haven.

Solution is a 142-foot composite material craft that Westport built on spec to U.S. Coast Guard guidelines incorporating modifications to make her adaptable to military and defense applications, port security and navies domestically and internationally.

GRC 43 took two years to design and build.

It represents Westport’s introduction into the arena of defense and security vessels that patrol the world’s troubled waters and keep homelands safe and secure.

As I watched the work Thursday, the contractor that installed the mechanism was Insitu, a Boeing-affiliated company that designs, produces and operates unmanned-aircraft systems.

I surmise that Westport’s sales department is assessing the viability of unmanned-aircraft systems technology on the GRC in the company’s continuing process of demonstrating to prospective clients the vessel’s overall durability and versatility.

Seasonal preparation

Platypus Marine, the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer next door to Westport on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, hauled Sheba Queen out of the water early last week.

She is a locally owned, 34-foot trawler yacht built by Chung Hwa in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1977.

According to Brad Hale in Platypus’ sales department, the owner anticipated the upcoming boating season by having Platypus inspect all the systems aboard the vessel to ensure that they are fully operational.

By the time the yacht goes back into the water, she will also have a fresh coat of bottom paint.

Also at Platypus, Sea Devil, an 87-foot Coast Guard cutter, was taken out of the water for maintenance.

Sea Devil is attached to the Coast Guard’s Maritime Force Protection Unit at the Navy submarine base at Bangor.

Her mission, along with a companion cutter of like size that is similarly equipped, is to protect submarines as they transit Puget Sound.

I understand that the cutter will be sandblasted, repainted and refit with new equipment while stowed in Platypus’ big Commander Building

Trans-Pacific feat

Linda Weber-Rettie was the lone American woman competing against 10 Japanese sailors in 1981 as they sailed nonstop from San Francisco to Kobe, Japan, in the Transpacific Yacht Race.

Linda finished sixth out of 11 in a non-handicapped race, and her 52-day record pace for a woman’s trans-Pacific crossing has never been beaten.

Now Linda Newland and a retired public education administrator, a maritime attorney, sailing instructor and staff commodore of Island Yacht Club in Alameda, Calif., she’ll no doubt have interesting stories to tell this Wednesday at the Northwest Maritime Center and Wooden Boat Foundation in Port Townsend.

As featured guest at Wooden Boat Wednesday, Capt. Newland will share photos taken onboard her boat during the race and speak of the events that she attended on behalf of her sponsor upon arrival in Japan.

Wooden Boat Wednesday is a free event that begins promptly at noon and typically lasts for 90 minutes.

Seating is limited and requires advance registration by phoning the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., Port Townsend, at 360-385-3628, ext. 101.

Or send an email to chandlery@nwmaritime.org.

By the way, to whet your appetite for Linda’s appearance: She and the other contestants in the trans-Pacific race were not allowed to use electronic steering devices and had to rely on wind vanes.

Electronic navigation devices were prohibited; celestial navigation was the order of the day.

Open house

The Port Angeles Yacht Club will hold an open house Sunday, May 4, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. that will provide the general public with information on how to enjoy the water that defines our community.

During the open house, representatives of the Port of Port Angeles, Port Angeles High School Sailing Club, Olympic Peninsula Paddlers, Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association, Feiro Marine Life Center, North Olympic Salmon Coalition, North Olympic Sail and Power Squadron, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and yacht club will provide information and demonstrate equipment related to on-water activities.

Information on the Boat Haven marina and boatyard services will also be available.

The power squadron will conduct free vessel safety checks for any boat at the marina or brought to the event, and 2014 decals will be provided for those boats that successfully pass inspection.

The yacht club will have numerous power and sailboats open for tours. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact yacht club commodore Randy Volker at info@payc.org or by phoning 619-884-4599.

PA Harbor watch

Last Sunday, Tesoro Petroleum provided bunkers in Port Angeles Harbor to Blue Sapphire, a 623-foot bulk cargo ship that is flagged in the Marshall Islands.

Tesoro on Monday bunkered Overseas Sifnos, a 720-foot petroleum-products carrier.

After she left Port Angeles at 1 a.m. Thursday, she developed engine problems in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The tug Brian S escorted the Sifnos back into the harbor and stood by until she was relieved by a Foss tug.

I understand that a contractor arrived at about noon Thursday to work on the ship’s engine.

She was at the refinery in Ferndale on Saturday, according to vesselfinder.com.


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

Items and questions 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: April 19. 2014 6:58PM
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