BREAKING NEWS: Tall ship from Port Townsend runs aground; all aboard evacuated

  • Monday, June 23, 2008 2:04pm
  • News

Peninsula Daily News and The Associated Press

PORT TOWNSEND — The 95-year-old Adventuress, a 133-foot gaff-rigged schooner based in Port Townsend, ran aground today in Wasp Passage, San Juan Islands.

The Coast Guard was notified that the sail training tall ship had run aground at approximately noon.

The Washington state ferry Sealth along with the Coast Guard have completed removing all 27 passengers and crew safely from the Adventuress. No injuries have been reported.

Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles launched an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew to the scene as well as a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Bellingham.

The Coast Guard said it will conduct an investigation into the cause of the grounding.

It was en route to the Victoria Tall Ships Festival, which begins Friday.

No pollution has been reported.

“She’s a tough old ship,” said Catherine Collins, executive director of Sound Experience, the Port Townsend company that sails the two-masted schooner.

Collins told The Associated Press that the Adventuress had previously run aground in the 1960s and came out of the experience without a scratch.

“We’re not worried,” she said, adding that the ship was not taking on water.

“As soon as the tide comes in, they’re going to float her.”

High tide was due at 10:08 p.m. today.

The Adventuress had 15 passengers and a crew of 12 on board when it went aground, Collins said.

According to the company’s Web site, the wooden boat was built as a pleasure yacht in 1913 but was quickly transformed into a working boat, serving as the pilot boat for San Francisco Bay for 35 years. The Coast Guard used the tall ship to patrol off San Francisco during World War II.

After years of neglect sitting on the beach near Sausalito, Calif., the Adventuress was brought to Seattle by new owners, participated in several youth education programs and eventually was bought by the nonprofit Sound Experience for educational and other trips in Washington’s marine waters.

(We have a reporter flying to the scene from Jefferson County International Airport. A complete report will appear in Tuesday’s editions of the Peninsula Daily News.)

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