DAVID G. SELLARS’ ON THE WATERFRONT COLUMN: Vessel with history to be refurbished in Port Angeles

ON WEDNESDAY MORNING, Capt. Rick Medenwald, who is a project manager at Platypus Marine, and Dave Malone, department head of the mechanical division, brought the MV Northwind to the Port Angeles Boat Haven from Port Townsend.

According to Capt. Charlie Crane, director of sales and marketing for Platypus Marine, Capt. Rick and General Manager Bruce Bryant, along with the owner of Northwind, are developing a work list prior to the vessel being hauled out and put into the Commander Building for refurbishing.

Northwind is a 130-foot steel riveted yacht that was built in 1930 by the Monitowoc Shipping Corp. for Charles Martin Clark Jr., a wealthy American industrialist.

Drawing 8 feet, she is powered by twin 360-horsepower Paxman-Ricardo V-12 diesel engines, cruises at 12 knots and has a range of 3,000 nautical miles.

For 80 years, Northwind has traveled the world and hosted her share of celebrities from the notorious to the rich and famous.

John Profumo, the British diplomat, and Christine Keeler, a British showgirl with whom he became entangled, were guests aboard the yacht, as were Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth, John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie Kennedy, and Sir Winston Churchill.

In 1960, the Dalai Lama was a guest for seven days, and onboard the yacht is a conch shell that was engraved by Tibetan monks with an inscription that reads, “Presented to the Captain and crew of M.Y Northwind with grateful thanks for the safe passage to Bombay Harbour of His Holiness the Dali Lama 1960.”

During World War II, Northwind was owned by the British government and served as a torpedo-net tender and personnel transport.

She also participated in the evacuation of Dunkirk, France, from May 26 to June 4, 1940, when hundreds of boats of all sizes and description ferried more than 338,000 Allied troops from the harbor and beaches of Dunkirk to waiting naval and merchant ships.

For the last few years, Northwind has been moored at the Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia, conducting cruises and tours of the Gulf Islands, the rugged West Coast and whale watching in Johnstone Strait.

Tug back on duty

Mitchell Herbert was in the Commander Building on Marine Drive.

She is an 80-foot tug that has spent the last 20 years pushing submarines around at the Bangor submarine base.

Capt. Charlie said she was hauled out last Monday to have new zincs installed, her props polished and a coat of PropSpeed applied, and a shave and a haircut (scrape and paint the bottom).

When personnel were scraping the bottom they had to dodge flying eels as they jumped out at them from their hiding places among the mussels, oysters and barnacles that were growing on the hull.

The tug was back in the water Friday afternoon and headed to the Navy base at Kitsap to resume her duties.

Coat of paint

Vrolljk is also in the Commander Building getting a new coat of paint applied to her hull.

She is a 34-foot Rhodes Swiftsure sailboat that is owned by Sequim resident Steve Marble.

The boat’s name is Dutch for frolic, which Steve enjoys doing in our local waters, and he also enjoys taking on the open ocean SEmD which he did when he sailed the little craft to Hawaii.

Transport oiler

Richard G. Matthiesen is moored to the Port of Port Angeles’ Terminal 1 North.

She is a 615-foot transport oiler that is under contract to the Department of Defense.

According to Chandra “Hollywood” McGoff of Washington Marine Repair, the topside repair company on the waterfront, personnel were onboard during her 36-hour layover repairing chock, replacing piping and rebuilding a guard rail.

Happy birthday!

Today is Capt. Bill Larson’s 80th birthday.

Capt. Bill is a great friend to all mariners who are fortunate enough to know him; he possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of all things maritime.

He obtained his first boat when he was but a wee lad, and for more than 60 years had a keel of one description or another beneath his feet.

He became a licensed master mariner when he was 18 years old and held his license for 57 years.

In 1993, Capt. Bill became the full-time captain aboard the tall ship Lady Washington, and also spent two years as one of the captains on the educational schooner Adventuress.

Throughout my stint as the writer of this column, he has been very helpful to me, and I join with his friends and family in wishing him fair winds and following seas as he continues his journey through life.

Fuel flows

On Monday, Tesoro Petroleum refueled Alaskan Navigator, a 941-foot crude oil tanker on her way to Valdez, Alaska.

Tuesday, Tesoro had its refueling barge alongside Seaservice, an 807-foot tanker that is flagged in Hong Kong.

They then moved their refueling barge over to Sea Harmony, a Panamanian-flagged bulk cargo ship that left Port Angeles for Grays Harbor, where she picked up her cargo and is now underway to Yatsushiro, Japan.

Wednesday was busy a busy day for Tesoro.

They refueled the Crowley-owned articulated tug and barge Commitment and the SJN Intrepid, a 610-foot bulk cargo ship. They also refueled the Polar Endeavour, an 854-foot crude oil tanker that is on her way to Valdez, Alaska, for another big gulp, and American Progress, a 600-foot tank ship that is also on her way to Valdez.

On Friday, Alaskan Frontier, sister ship to the Alaskan Navigator, was in for bunkers.

Saturday, Azuma Phoenix was refueled.

She is a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship that made her way to Kalama on the Columbia River to take on her cargo.

Tesoro also bunkered Alpine Eternity, a 597-foot tank ship flagged in Singapore.

Today, Azov Sea, a 594-foot Liberian-flagged tanker, will anchor for bunkers.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate.

Items involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome.

E-mail [email protected] or phone him at 360-417-3736.

His column, On the Waterfront, appears every Sunday.

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