Thursday, September 24, 2015

Olympia Harbor Days Vintage Tug Races (Tuggers Vol. 65)

Tom Blackwood, Thistle Dew 37VT46

In the Capitol city of Washington State each year over Labor Day there is a race of vintage tugs.  That is, tugs that are over 25 years of age, have a tow bitt and have served towing.  In the past, some of the boats have been well over 100 years of age of which some were formerly steam powered.  Though not a "real tug" the powers that be have been very kind to our Lord Nelson Victory Tug community and for years we, onboard Thistle Dew, have served as the finish line boat with the official race committee and timers on board.  Last year we had our NW LNVT rendezvous here with a very nice line up of boats for the public to view and enjoy.  This year we had four LNVT tugs and were again asked to precede the racing tugs and "clear the course" for the start of the race, which we did, as Thistle Dew proceeded to the finish line to set anchor.  Because of the fun we all had just a few weeks earlier at Port Orchard, Thistle Dew, Wally, Tug E. Bear and Pet Tug mustered together and headed out.  Well, we wanted to look good so we set up in a diamond formation.  The photo below was captured by the local newspaper "Olympian" staff showing the state Capitol in the back ground.

L to R Thistle Dew, Tug E. Bear, and Pet Tug. 

The  Wally was there too, just out of view as he was pulling into the formation.  Both on the way in and the way out we did some "fancy" formation change ups much to the enjoyment of many observers.     On board one of the tugs was the local radio broadcaster doing live spots and a couple of times he referred to us saying "like the Blue Angels on the water".  Well, I 'm sure all of our LNVT stunt drivers will now be carrying Sharpies and will be happy to give autographs.  

Another fun time time on the water in the great Northwest.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

When to change the engine's impeller? (Tuggers Vol. 65)

Q: When is the best time to change your engine impeller?
A: Before a vane breaks off!

Hjortie's 37VT33 broken impeller after only one year

An engine impeller looks like a gear with rubbery veins that spin and flex as the pump works.  Over time impellers absorb water and are exposed to severe stresses.  This causes the veins to warp, bend, or in the worst case, break off.  Lack of use can be just as damaging as the impeller can dry out and its veins take on a permanent set. Once the impeller is damaged, it cannot pump the full amount of water the engine needs.  In addition, detached vein pieces can easily clog the heat exchanger and cause the engine to overheat.  

It's recommended that the impeller be replaced annually.  Using glycerin when installing the new impeller can help keep things running smoothly.

So, when is the best time to change your engine impeller?  Before it needs it!  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Just in from the Seymours, Sally W 37VT42

It's a cloudy Sunday morning after five superb days aboard Sally W.  We are off Holbrook Island with guess who? Met up yesterday with Martha and Roger, Fram 37VT71, afternoon and dined on salmon, sweet corn and apple pie. 

Sally W with Fram in the background

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Going Home

Captain Mike Dunn heads home aboard Wally 41VT02 from Olympia, WA.  Mike was the Association's host for the great Port Orchard, WA rendezvous this year.  Definitely a fabulous Summer! 

Float Plan (Tuggers Vol. 65)

Tom Blackwood, Thistle Dew 37VT46
Got a float plan?  We hope the answer is yes.  What is a float plan?  It is planned itinerary of where you expect to be and when you expect to be there.  Moreover, it's a good idea to include the names of those that may be traveling with you.  And your boat?  Sure you know how to describe your boat, but does the friend, relative or neighbor with whom you are going to leave this plan know how best to describe your tug.   First, let them know, it is NOT a Nordic Tug.  All the standard stuff of type, length, hull and top side color, registration or documentation number plus that MSC number.  Make it easy, should you not show up, for you to be found or described.  
Some of us have programs that "drop bread crumbs" along our actual courses that are plotted on a computer chart your designee can follow.  Others say we'll call and check in at certain points, and another way may be passing waypoints or points of interest along with speed made good by using text messaging.  These can make it fun for your designee to "ride along" and be a viable safety check should it be needed.  Give it some thought, make it a habit and keep chugging up the waters.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

News from Tug E Bear (Tuggers Vol 65)

The FOOFARAW Military Appreciation Day [Foofaraw is defined as  “much ado about nothing”] was put on this weekend by the Olympia Yacht Club, Chamber of Commerce, and the Chehalis Tribe (they provide 200 pounds of Salmon, yumeeee!) In one of the pictures below you will see TUG E. BEAR 37VT62 in the middle [see red arrow in photo] of the crowd headed out to our Outstation. This is quite an event. We had 43 boats and around 300 people. Weather was beautiful.

Lil Toot 37VT75 makeover (Tuggers Vol 65)

Lil Toot 37VT75 is in the last stages of bringing her back to original condition. We have installed two new Marine Air units, one being a 16,000 and the other being a 12,000 BTU. We have stripped all the outside varnish and currently putting the 8th coat on, Decks have been redone and currently putting new butyl in all the deck seams and we are Algripping all painted areas outside. She is transforming nicely and I will have pics for you soon. Unfortunately we have done no cruising this summer due to all the work that has been done.    
Terry and Eleanor

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Last Hurrah of Summer (Tuggers Vol. 65)

Ted Shann, Tug E Bear 37VT62

This was an article about the recent Harbor Days published in the The Olympian on 9/7/15. Unfortunately Wally 41VT02 was to the left of Thistle Dew 37VT46 and was not in the picture.  We cleared the race course and went to the finish line for Thistle Dew to get set up as the official finish line boat.  Before we reached the finish line we did a "TB" (Tom Blackwood or Tug Boat, if you prefer) maneuver similar to one performed at the 2015 NW rendezvous for the "Hollywood movie premier."  [See the video:]  The reviews were great!  Fun weekend and I think all had a good time.  

Fall is upon us and it looks like this is the last hurrah for Summer.  Fortunately for us we will be doing our yearly Military Appreciation Day Foofaraw in Olympia, Wa. on Friday 9/11/15.  [Foofaraw is defined as  “much ado about nothing”].  It sounds like 43 boats and 350 people will be attending.  Kim and I have done this cruise for over 30 years and seems there is never a problem getting boats signed up.  Kim and I barbecued salmon for the event for 5 years.  About 259 pounds of salmon!  What a job.  I would always kid with her on the way home that night and ask if she would like to go out for salmon for dinner.  Can't print the results of that conversation! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2015 Harbor Days - The Olympian

Excerpted from The Olympian web page

"A trio of tugs head out to the race course for the 2015 Harbor Days Maritime Festival and Tugboat Races Sunday along the Olympia waterfront. The annual races featured three separate heats broken up into varying tugs sizes.Small tug class: Maggie B., Cedar King, Atka Harbor class tugs: Ranger, Mary Anne, Teal, Petron Competing, but not order of finish: Large tugs: Galene, RW Confer, Thea Belle..."

Steve Bloom Staff photographer, The Olmypian 

[Note from LNVT Association Editor.  L-R: Thistle Dew 37VT46, Tug E. Bear, 37VT62 and Pet Tug 37VT60.  There were actually four LNVTS present.  Not quite in the photo is Wally 41VT02.]

"Tugs assemble for the 2015 Harbor Days Maritime Festival and Tugboat Races Sunday along the Olympia waterfront. Staged in three heats race results were in the following order of finish as follows, first to last: Small tug class: Maggie B., Cedar King, Atka Harbor class tugs: Ranger, Mary Anne, Teal, Patron Large tugs: Galene, RW Confer, Thea Belle..."

Steve Bloom Staff photographer, The Olympian

Read more here:

Tug Racing Tips

From the Olympia Harbor Days Vintage Tug Races, tom Blackwood writes...

"You have a better chance of winning at the tug races if you can go super-sonic."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lighting for the Stateroom (Tuggers Vol 65)

While at the NW rendezvous we went aboard  Renegade and saw they had cleverly added light in the stateroom. I was so excited that when we got back the first thing we did was buy lights and today I installed them myself! The 8 ft LED string is under the lower arc. Take a look. No photo enhancing was necessary.



Home Depot has the light for $50.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Response to Tuggers|Summer 2015 article "Check Your Tug's AC"

Trev Croteau, Hjortie 37VT33

The article "Check Your Tug's AC"   [Tuggers Summer Issue No. 64 - ed.] was well done and timely.  To the right is a snapshot of one of Hjortie's 37VT33 AC Main 30A boxes.  The hazard is quite apparent.  It's was a very hot, humid Friday night.  I had been running my AC.  I woke up at 2am as the tug state room was quite warm.  I quickly noted the AC was off.  After careful inspection all outwardly signs of issues didn't reveal an issue.  But I shut everything down.  Knowing that it's best to work these challenges in day light.  With the help of Allen Hansen,  "go to" mechanic, a detailed inspection was done.  We took a meter to the entire circuit.  Inside the Tug and all the way to the on shore power outlets.  Luckily Allen decided to pull the panel of the box.  Wow!  The culprit, a loose neutral wire [red arrow points to it in the photo].  We suspect this was a situation existing for some time.

It's a reminder that issues can be concealed.  Perhaps my maintenance routine needs to include a neutral wire inspection?

Thanks to Ted Shawn, Tug E Bear 37VT62 for the article. 

LNVTs in action (Tuggers Vol. 65)

LNVT Ménage et trois 
Tom Blackwood, Thistle Dew 37

It was on the Northwest Annual LNVT Rendezvous's out sail from Bremerton to Poulsbo that three of our tugs went out to play.  Sisters of the same family they were.  A 49 footer along with her sibling 41 and 37 footer.  Being of the same fine family lineage one would expect them to be on their best behavior for a pleasant Sunday afternoon cruise.  Well!  You should have seen them.  As soon as the Washington State ferry Hyak, in from Seattle with all its cars and passengers came on the scene, they started to play and frolic about like kids when Mom and Dad can't see.  Polar Mist 49VT07 so tall and stately was maintaining a sure and steady course.  As soon as she eased back on the throttle, Wally 41VT02 pulled up and how nice the two looked so prim and proper reflecting  well upon the family lines.  Then came Pet Tug 37VT60.  You could see it in the waves.  "Hey, I wanna play."  Soon Pet Tug was nudging Wally in closer and closer to Polar Mist and for a moment or two their lineup was as pretty as a picture.  Weaving about closer in then farther apart; one ahead of the other and then all along side.  They even played follow the leader switching the lead as they went.   Frisky and frolicly they carried about for well over an hour.  At one point they even set up their own race starting from throttles all at idle to a full bore full throttle smoke belching bone in the teeth race.  Crossing in front of them was their ol' friend Thistle Dew 37VT46 who had to spin the RPM's all the way to the top to keep from being run down.  Luckily for all, Allen and Sally Seymore were on board with their cameras and see more they did.  Admiral Howell was there too and seemed not to want to forget a moment of what was playing out in front so he captured some of these dare devil kids on his video.
Here's the link to the video:
[photo credits:  Tom Blackwood]

Wally 41VT02, Polar Mist 49VT07 & Pet Tug 37VT60

Allan Seymour taking the perfect shot
Formation of tugs

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

LNVT Action Video featuring the 37, 41 and 49...

The following video footage was recorded during the 2015 Northwest Rendezvous.  The event was a photo shoot in support of the LNVT coffee table book.  

Polar Mist and Lady Cruise North (Tuggers Vols 64 & 65)

Macy Galbreath, Lady 37VT08

 On June 29 Pat and Ken on Polar Mist 49VT08  and Bill and Macy on Lady 37VT08 met in Montague Harbour on Galiano Island, BC, Canada.  We were looking forward to heading north through the American San Juan Island and Canadian Gulf Islands, across the Strait of Georgia, through Desolation Sound and up into the Broughton Archipelago, a group of islands between the west coast of mainland Canada and Vancouver Island.  It is a cruising paradise- mountains dropping into the water, beautiful bays, few settlements, a couple of towns, and a handful of marinas.  It was Macy’s and Bill’s third trip up there and just another one of many for Ken and Pat, but we were ready for the adventure.  

For northwest boaters all the places north – the Islands and especially Desolation Sound are very popular, and anchorages are filled with boats during the summer.  The Broughtons are less crowded probably because you need to go through 5 tidal rapids to get there, plus it is a lot further north.  The rapids are pretty much non-events if you time going through at slack or near slack.  The first three rapids are done together with the timing based on slack at Dent Rapids which can be the most turbulent.  Going north this trip we went through the first three and then waited a couple of hours and took the other two rapids later in the day near the next slack.

What were the highlights of the trip?  For Pat and Ken, who usually cruise up in the Broughtons in the fall, it was seeing the area when marinas, restaurants and places are open.  They were surprised that it was not too crowded and that you could still anchor and feel alone with nature.  They did get to a couple of new places.  Of course, having Lady rafted alongside most places was new too.  Ken said it was like cruising on an 86 foot boat with 15 foot beam or a 49 with a 30 foot beam with a crew fixing dinner and cleaning up every other day.  For several years, we have called Polar Mist “the mother ship” but this trip she proved it, providing water, food and laundry services on a few occasions!

For Bill and Macy, the highlights were going into many new places – our favorites wereTribune Bay on Hornby Island, Booker Lagoon where we had to go in at slack and were treated to a black bear walking the beach the next morning; Lady Boot Cove; Crease Island Nook (a new one for Ken and Pat); Waddington Bay, and Shoal Bay with the best view of all.  We also checked out several more anchorages for a possible future visit.

Fortunately we also got to do what tugs are supposed to do: towing distressed vessels.  When entering Joe Cove on Eden Island, Ken met Paul Nattall from Garden Bay, BC and Bob Morris from Gibsons, BC on Paul’s sailboat that had lost itsengine fresh water pump, a couple of days before.  They were getting ready to send one off in the dinghy 10 miles or so to Echo Bay.  We prepared to take them in tow the next morning.  After several attempts to get Polar Mist over where they were anchored, Ken decided there were too many shallow spots and rocks.  So Bill took our dinghy and pulled them out to deeper water.   Ken then took them alongside and we all headed for Pierre’s Marina at Echo Bay.  After an easy passage, Paul invited us to stay for one of Pierre’s special event dinners - prime rib.  Fortunately the parts were ordered and Pierre picked them up at Port McNeil the next day..  Via email, we know they got everything working and made it home.

Finally, when heading home, we stopped at Roscoe Bay in Desolation Sound – a lovely anchorage with 30 plus boats already anchored.  Here we could only go in at high water over a drying bar.  LADY went first with Bill calling out water depthsto Ken on POLAR MIST who draws 6 ft.  We stayed a couple of nights and hiked one day up to Black Lake where we went swimming.  Great fun.

After a night visiting friends of Ken’s and Pat’s on their own island in the Gulf Islands, we spent our last night rafted together in Montague Harbour where it all began a month earlier.

Fun at the NE Rendezvous (Tuggers vol. 64)

Sally Seymour, Sally W 37VT42

Tuggers from around the northeast gathered in Camden, Maine July 24-26 for their annual rendezvous. Sixteen owners, one past owner, and one wannabe couple, totaling 35 enthusiasts, came together from North Carolina, Ohio, the Chesapeake, New England and Quebec.   Several were first timers at an LNVT event.

Four owners tied their LNVT's to the dock at Lyman-Morse at Wayfarer Marine.  Allan and Sally Seymour from Camden aboard Sally W 37VT42; Roger Lee and Martha Burke from Belfast, ME aboard Fram 37VT71; Andy and Alice Mutch from Southport Island, ME aboard Loon 37VT57; and new owners Ken and Heidi Maitland from Duxbury, MA aboard Victorious 37VT26.

Skies cleared as the cruise headed up Penobscot Bay to Warren Island for a Maine lobster bake. (Photo: Loon 37VT57) 

Opening night kicked off with potluck fare including a delicious array of custom sweets. New and old acquaintances met to talk "tug." (Above:  Attendees enjoying the the lobster bake.  Below: Jeanne Niccolls, Knock Off 37VT66, holds up her lobster dinner.  Aaron Lincoln holds the famous Maine Whoopie Pie, weighing in at 8 pounds) 

Loon, Sally W, Fram and Victorious in front of the Curtis Island Lighthouse

The end of a perfect day!

Special thanks to Bob Allnutt, Loren Reich, John Arey and Allan and Sally Seymour for their photos.  You can all the photos from this event at  

Upper Dutch Door Retainer (Tuggers Vol. 64)

Victorious 37VT26 has three different lengths of Dutch door retainers aboard. These are used to prop the door open.  They can be used while underway or at anchor to increase ventilation into the pilothouse.

Penobscot Bay Cruising

It can be a little foggy in Penobscot Bay, ME.  This photo was taken from Sally W. 37VT42.  Trailing in the fog is Victorious 37VT26.

Good Idea: Stern Anchor Rode Locker (Tuggers Vol. 64)

This stern anchor rode locker on Sally W. 37VT42 occupies normally unusable space in the lazarette. Note the deck plate through which the rode can pass.

Adding exterior lights (Tuggers Vol 65)

From Peter Reich, Teddy Bear 37VT15

After seeing how great Sally W. 37VT42 lights looked at the NE rendezvous, we decided to add 6 to Teddy Bear.  I pulled power from the aft cabin lights and installed a switch in the valence.

The lights came from and LED bulbs from