Agnes R Alpine 1 2
Donna 1 2
Gayle 1 2
Idle Hour 1 2
MS Electron 1 2
|I started putting up this collection of
salmon troller pictures because of the inspiration generated by Rob Tillitz' website and his book
"Bootlegger's Cove", which I highly recommend.
It is a work in progress. I will add more pics as they are scanned from a collection of slides I took in the 1970s and early '80s.
All pics are by Charlie or Cindy Clifton unless otherwise credited.
Unattributed captions are from my memory, which is suspect. I encourage anyone to write me with additions or corrections. Some of the names of the boats and fishermen I can't remember, so identification or stories relating to them would be appreciated.
This page is getting to have so many photos, it is starting to take a while to load.
Updated: 4/12/2013 with Mike Hakanson's story of LaVern.
I can't believe I just ran across the American Albacore Fishing Association website where they have lifted and posted pictures from this site as if the AAFA had taken them. No credits to Mike White, Mark Stone, Kip Wood or me or anyone else who took the pictures. A woman from the association called me after I wrote her an email. She saw nothing wrong with that. Hope she doesn't run across my string of crab traps. I bet she doesn't know which one has the cat tied in the middle of the buoy line.
-Charlie Clifton F/V Idle Hour
|#1. Skippy Matson on Rose Ann was one of a group of high liners out of Eureka which included Richard Maddox on the Sandra Sue, Earl Harvey on the We Three, and Kenny Strong on the Wasp. ~1978|
|#2.Vinland (Frank Martin) and Kathline Ann (Steve Fosmark, Frank's son in law) anchored at Domingo Creek. Note clouds at the top of the hills. If these boats were anchored in daylight, it was honking outside. ~1978|
|#3. Allstar Sr. -
Marvin Tolonen writes: "To fill you in the Allstar Sr. and the Phantom were built by Ed Martin
and his son Duke who were the owners." |
3a. I believe this is off Orford Reef. ~1978
|#4. Viva -
Richard Ennis. Richard was one of the
pioneers of the South
Pacific albacore troll fishery. In December 1990,
Viva rolled over 980 miles southwest of San Diego on her way to South Pacific tuna grounds.
The deckhand, Terry Groat of Crescent City, got off but Richard was trapped and went down with the boat.
This photo is on the tuna grounds off Oregon ~1978.
3/16/2011 Barbara Stckel writes: "... the deckhand that was with Richard
Ennis when theVivarolled was named “Terry Groat” – he’s still fishing, two weeks ago I would have said out of
Crescent City, now I’m not sure!
|#5. The Hill brothers, Ellis and Gene from Astoria, ran the Wyoming and the Elna H. Here they are anchored in Nellie's Cove. Kenny from Eureka Fisheries told me one time they built a sauna in the plant at the foot of E Street. He came into the plant and they were all running around naked. Brother John had the Garda Marie. ~1978 photo|
|#6. After Wendy, Donna Lee was the famous Capt. CaCa's
second boat. She had one of the longest running 6-71s in history. It was installed, used, before WW II. When he keyed
his mike to speak, I knew who it was before he said a word.
Brother George says he remembers that day in Nellie's Cove. We were trying to get Ron to bring us something in his dinghy but it was blowing Billy be Damned and he couldn't make any headway so he gave up. (Note the buffalos charging offshore.) I bet Ron $20 that George could paddle the SportYacht over with a bin board since we had no oars. He did it but decided he'd use Ron's oars for the upwind trip back. ~1978
|Donna Lee wasn't very big but man could she buck! Taken between Rogue River and Orford Reefs. ~1978|
|#8. Eureka 2010 - Trio III has always been one of my favorites of the classic trollers. I knew Eino Poteri who owned the boat for a long time and visited him in Astoria several winters. I think she had a wood stove in the foc'sle at that time.|
|#9. Eureka 2010 - Trio III has a great ass!|
|#10. Poor picture, but I put it up because I think it's
We are thinking this might be the Harold J. ,,Built 1936 Seattle ,,,can anybody confirm?
|#11. Les Wilson began building the Peggy O as a sailboat before WW II.
After Pearl Harbor, there were no materials for pleasure boats so he finished her as a commercial salmon troller.|
Son Jerry came aboard and eventually took over the boat in the '60s. Although we lived 25 miles apart in Oregon, I met him for the first time at breakfast at the Vista del Mar. He subsequently owned the Caremi and the Pacific Rose. He was one of my best running partners.
Jerry John "Whitewater" Wilson died in 2005. His son, Ben, continues the family tradition fishing the Pacific Rose. ~1978 photo
|#12. Winchester Bay 2010 - My heart sank when I came upon the Peggy O up on blocks.|
|#13. John Skamser owned the Alpine in the 70s.He fished her from central California
to Winter Harbor, BC.|
Deckhands included Mark Stone who owned and ran Svea and Gary Thomas who had the Jean Anne.
Gary was run down by a Norwegian freighter in his boat. He stepped off the boat onto a floating hatch cover as she went down. An East German stern trawler saw the collision and launched a skiff down the stern ramp. They zoomed over and picked Gary off the hatch cover. He didn't even get wet.
Marvin Tolonen built her and fished until selling her to John. He was a master craftsman with a superior eye for design. Not many 40' boats could blast freeze 10 tons of albacore.
Capt. CaCa wrote: " Charlie: I just remembered another good story about Marvin Tolonen.
After he sold the Alpine to John Skamser, he leased the Vallhalla II for a couple of tuna seasons while he built his first steel boat, the Seawind. Now, Marvin told me that he didn't know diddly-squat about steel construction, so he took a welding class at Clatsop Community College. Well, about 2/3s of the way through the class, the instructor told Marvin that he could be certified and that his over-head welds were perfect! Marvin answered by taking off his apron and gloves and walked out of the class to start working on the Seawind.
The Seawind is one of the most beautiful and functional trollers that I've ever seen. Other than the stateroom at the aft port corner of the wheelhouse, it has completely unobstructed vision from anywhere in the house, including at the raised table in the galley.
A couple of years later, Marvin obliged Tim (of the Dorothy H.) by agreeing to help him build a sistership to the Seawind. (Ed. note: Marvin writes it was Dick Hanson, not Tim.) Sooo...by the next spring, the new boat was nearly finished. I was in Warrenton to buy some crabpots so I stopped by to take a look. I asked Marvin how everything turned out. Being the consumate perfectionist, he replied, "I just don't understand it! I can't figure out why this boat is 4 inches longer than the Seawind!"
ps: Marvin's dad's boatyard was commonly call the Astoria Boat Works.
Skamser sold the boat to Lynn Martin. She went down with Lynn, Terry Mason and Donie Warnock fishing for box crab off the central Oregon coast.
|Alpine bucking up the hill. ~1978.|
Marvin Tolonen's Seawind lying at the dock in Ilwaco with 31 tons of albacore aboard. -7/26/98 -
After selling the Alpine, Marvin built another classic, this time of steel.|
Brother George wrote me amazed that the rudimentary design drawn on notebook paper, shown on the smugmug site, could have been used to build Seawind. Marvin replied: "Hey Charlie, it's a fact that if you build the boat first, draw the plans after, the plans will be more accurate". Hard to argue with that. ~ 3 Seawind photos provided by Marvin Tolonen.
|#14. Constitution running with it out on the tuna grounds. - ~1978
A fisherman remembers: "VEL,IT'S LIKE THIS ABOUT THAT CONSTITUTION,,,,,GUY NAMED NILS CAME FROM NORWAY AND
WAS ON A SCHOONER NORTH FISHING HALIBUT UP IN ALASKA,,,THEY WERE DELIVERING A TRIP INTO KETCHIKAN AND HE WENT TO
THE JUDGE TO SEE ABOUT CITIZEN SHIP PAPERS,,,THE JUDGE ASKED IF HE THOUGHT HE WAS READY FOR TEST,,,NILS SAID
"YA YOU BETTCHA UDGE",,,,,JUDGE SAYS TO NILS,,,,"TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION",,,,,,,,NILS SAID
,,"YA YOU BETTCHA UDGE,,,VEL THEY HAILED 50,000 AND ARE IN RUPERT DELIVERING NOW."
|#15. Snowhite was in the Siuslaw River in the 1970s when Pablo came and bought her. He fished her into the 2000s. ~1978|
|#15a.Eureka 2010 - She's still hanging in there. Getting some new deck beams and stern tanks.|
|#16. Destiny - Carol Ennis Dahlquist believes she was owned by Wilbur Northup. ~1978|
|#17.Art Graf on the Loyal was a very large man who fished with his cat.
I believe he died on his boat.|
Roger on the Capistrano looked like a pirate. Sometimes he acted like one, too. ~1978
|Art Graf with his cat. -Kip Wood photo ~1977|
|#18. Christe II was a Eureka boat owned
by Roy Johnson. |
Svea heads for Fields Landing.
|#19. Phantom - Owned and built with his dad, Ed, by Duke Martin ~1978 Send info.|
|#20. Southern Belle
2/6/2012 - Mike McCorkle writes: "During WW II the boat came down from the north west to fish soupfin sharks around the Channel Islands.
It was new and named the ''Mary Ann S'',and was owned by John Selford. John made a lot of money fishing sharks and after the war the liver market went away.
John fell in love with San Pedro and moved there and began fishing Albacore in the summers and tied the boat up in the winters.
He sold the boat in the early 60's to Bill and Shig who made a bait boat out of it for Tuna and Albacore. They named it the ''Southern Belle''. After a number of seasons they sold it and it went to Euerka to Troll, fish crabs and Pink Shrimp.
Last crab season it sank at the dock in Cresent City and the owner said in a story I read that he may not raise it and fix it up, I don't know how it ended up. WB7642 Mike McCorkle" Send info.
|#21. Mark "Sven on the Svea" Stone fished the 32' double ender from Newport to Eureka. He also fished on the Alpine with John Skamser. In the photo she leaves the anchorage at Humboldt River Coast Guard toward Fields Landing. Asked in 2010 about the whereabouts of the Svea, he said, "I don't think anyone had the dedication necessary to keep her going." - ~1978|
|Mike White fished with his Dad Charlie White, on the Gayle (above) in the 70s. -Mike White photo.|
|Mike White:"Charlie White's first boat was Phyllis B. The picture was taken at Noyo before the mooring basin was built. The Phyllis B was lost. It broke loose from the dock with two other boats and went aground under Noyo Bridge. My Dad sold the wrecked boat. He then bought the first Gayle which was named the LaVern. My Dad changed the name to my Mom's name, Gayle. Then he had the other Gayle built by the Makela Brothers. It was launched in 1971." -Mike White photo.|
|Charlie White's first Gayle,
-Mike White photo.
4/12/13 Mike Hakanson sent this letter about LaVern's final days.
|Trollers rafted up in Coos Bay. Bobby Cox's Kristy, Charlie White's Gayle, John Figueiredo's Sea Valley and Tom Estes' Pacific Dawn. -Mike White photo.|
|-Mike White photo.|
|John Figueiredo enters the Noyo River. -Mike White photo.|
|Tom Estes on the Pacific Dawn off Astoria. ~1972 -Mike White photo.|
|Kip Wood worked on, ran and owned
a variety of boats. He sent in some pics.
Kip: "...an old news paper from the Bandon Wide World. It's me in the Dago after spending the night off Tower Rock just north of Blanco Reef. The Bandon bar was breaking and the 44ft coast guard boat had to take the breakers broadside and knock the top off the wave so that I could surf the breaker in. The pic was shot just as I crossed the Bar. The pic doesn't do justice to the situation."
|Kip: "Here is the Agnes R when I was working for Bill Eoff."|
|Kip:"This is the Anastri when I started running it in Eureka." -Kip Wood photo.|
Kip:" Fred Cole and me on the tuna grounds. Kip Turner took the pic. Our running group was the coneheads.
We have orange highway cones on our heads. This was about a hundred mi off shore of Newport the day before
the Sept 15 blow when 8 boats sunk by 8 am in the Morn.
More Kip: "Hi Charlie; The boat is the MS Electron. During WWII it was a cable layer in southeast Alaska. It was a diesel electric at the time thus the Motor Ship designation. Leonard Hall (the train guy) in Coos Bay owned it for years. I ran it when Mike Smith of Newport owned it in 1978."
|Jeff Feldner on the Darle off Heceta Head. -Kip Wood photo.|
| 36' Victory was a Columbia River gillnet
hull with a raised foredeck built in 1919. I bought her from Bruce Tower of Toledo.
My brothers George and Rick (pulling a fish) were on this trip in 1975. - likely a Ron Betts photo.
|I bought 43' Idle Hour from Rodney Atkins in Eureka in 1977. She was built in 1948 and lost her stern in 1964 during the tsunami in Crescent City. Her bat wings made for a nice ride. I sold her to a guy who took her to Yakutat.|
|Bobby Cox's Delta Pride entering Noyo River. She sunk on Cleone Reef. Captain and crew got off. -Mike White photo.|
|Bobby Cox and Kristy in Astoria. ~1970? -Mike White photo.|
Chris Rampley writes: "It was really cool to see a picture of Bobby Cox on his old boat. When I met him in Ilwaco he was already about 70 and running the beautiful Kristy. I saw his wife a few years ago. She was mad at him, said he had some kind of hip replacement or knee replacement so now he was gone all the time, running around the docks BS'ing."
Mike White: "Bobbie Cox is 85 years old now and still fishing the Kristy. Last tuna season he and his wife Cecelia were 800 miles off shore fishing." -Mike White photo.
|Mike's brother, Mitch White's first boat Nina. -Mike White photo.|
|Donnie Koski's Marilyn Gail.
The boat was lost on the beach south of Eureka. Captain and crew were saved. -Mike White photo.
Vernon Trevellyan writes:"I fished on my dad's boat MV Marilyn Gail for Albacore out of San Diego. He had bought the boat in 57 as a project and we fished with the Norwegian fleet out of Seattle during tuna season. It was a Edwin Monk design built by Jacobson yard on the Seattle ship canal. It had cat power and a twin disc converter. Our captain was Charles Mc Clees of San Diego who was known in the fleet as a highliner."
Then more info came in: "...my father,Vernon Trevellyan Sr., was the owner of the Marilyn Gail from about 58 to the mid 60s. We kept her at Harbor Boat and Yacht in San Diego for the Albacore season. If my mother had had any idea how dangerous commercial fishing was I never would have been allowed the opportunity to be a boat puller and lose a pound a day to seasickness. I remember my bunk in the foc,sle (damp for two weeks straight) I could feel the bow flex inward when we plowed into each wave. Do you know any more about Donny Koski who was on the boat when she went down off Eureka? I do remember our Captain (Mac) Mc Klees) mentioning that she was flattened going into Eureka one time and later was seen at the dock with kelp hanging around the cross trees."
8/22/2012, Mike White writes: "Somebody asked about Donnie Koski and his son Daryl. After Donnie lost the boat he retired. He passed away in the mid seventies. His son Daryl boat pulled with a few other boats. Daryl fell into the Noyo River and drowned in the early eighties. Plus Bobby Cox is still fishing. He is off shore right now fishing tuna. He is a amazing guy."
|Charlie White's Gayle on the ways in Sausalito. -Mike White photo.|
They are spectacular full size with the background. The Ft. Bragg guys way up in Queen Charlotte Sound.
|Mike White: "We were fishing tuna.
A big blow was coming and a Canadian fisherman said he knew of a spot we could get out of the weather.
I remember he got to the islands first and jogged for about 2 hours in about 40-50 miles winds waiting for
the rest of us to get there. Then he led us in to the sound.
We tied up to a barge that was anchored there. There was a mining town there. We would all get on one boat and go into the town and eat and drink with all the workers of the mine. They treated us real good.
Black bears would be all over the beaches. Two of our guys went in and killed two deer and we had a prawn trap on our boat. We were catching 50-60 prawns a night. We had a good time and ate surf and turf a couple of meals.
We were in there 3 or 4 nights before the storm passed.
We had good fishing off the Canadian coast two or three seasons in row. We went into a place called Winter Harbor, too. I don't have any pictures of there."
|Mike White:"The plane was the only other way into the mining town. It came in twice a day."|
|"The only difference between this operation and the Titanic
is that the Titanic had a band."|
I remember this day at Falcon Cove in 1976. Captain CaCa was rowing with George in the stern. I could have sworn there was much less freeboard. I was sure we about to be swimming. Victory in background. - likely a Wade Richardson, F/V Virginis, photo.
|Newport, 2010 - Lee Taylor bought Nile II about 10 years ago in derelict condition and got her fishing again. -Mark Stone photo.|
|Newport, 2010 - Donna in Newport. Jim Crawford and Tom Shafer were previous owners. She spent some time as a dragger. -Mark Stone photo.|
|Newport, 2011 - Mark Stone: "Helen McColl awaits her fate on the banks of Yaquina Bay. This year she is 100 years old." -Mark Stone photo.|
|Brookings, 1977 - Jack Nelson's Patricia was one of my favorite boats. Here she lies with Denny Boy and Njord to her starboard and Magnet facing them.|
| Eureka, March 1977 - This is probably the last photo
of Earl Harvey's We Three. Like the Idle Hour, she also had bat wings. She went down on the Humboldt Bay bar shortly after this was taken. I very often
found good fishing around him. "Think about it."|
His son, Lee, had the ____________ . Lee taught me the tack inside Fox Rock. "You've got to go close enough to the rock to hit it with a beer bottle." That was after I didn't go close enough and bent the davits to the gunnel.
| 2010 - Chris Rampley's Henrietta W.
He writes: "You know, I had to rebuild a pump the other day, cussing and searching for "the right tool"
as the wind was rocking the boat and the rain was pounding. I asked myself what the hell I was still messing about
with boats for.|
Then, when I turned around at the top of the ramp, I saw her, and my heart melted again." - Chris Rampley photo.
| Kenny Strong's Wasp off Domingo Creek.
I remember being on his boat in the Eureka City Marina for about an hour while his burly, red headed deckhand Daryl stropped and honed a fish knife. He had a stange half smile on his face and never said a word. Finally, he stopped. When I looked at him, he broke into a wide, crazed grin as he effortlessly shaved hair off his arm.
Capt. CaCa writes: "Sooo...one time, after a prolonged NW blow was about to abate we were all getting geared up to go fishing. Kenny staggered down the old Eureka docks toward his boat, the Wasp. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of bucks and some change. He threw it all into the bay, "Wellll, looks I'm really broke now! Gotta go fishing!" Urp! "Untie me!" -photo~1978
|Active II at the Eureka City Marina with a box of crab alongside. 1977 photo.|
|Jerry and Di Goodman fished Arcturas at the time of this photo in Newport. She was built in 1928 . 1974 photo.|
| Victor Edwin Morris III was a good friend who
fished with me on the Victory in 1974.|
In 2010, when I walked into Schiewe's gear store for the first time in 30 years, Roy remembered several stories about our adventures. I thought my engine running away at his fuel dock would be the first but it wasn't.
Roy Schiewe: "At the beginning of the season Victor came in and bought a set of rain gear, promising to 'pay me in the bite'. At the end of the season, he came in and said he was a little short but hadn't forgotten. Then in the fall, on a windy, rainy day he came into the store and laid a huge slab of elk backstrap on the counter. It was delicious."
I think of Victor often, especially when expressions come out that I first heard from him. Victor died June 28, 2006 of natural causes. 1974 photo.
|Mark Stone's Svea at the Florence City docks on the Siuslaw River around 1977.|
|Glen Lutz on the Irene H around 1974. They broke the mold after he was built.|
|5/4/2013- Just found this picture of Reliance I. I remember Paul used to call everyone "Pal". He also brings back memories of the Portland Trailblazers. I remember him and the Finn and Betts and all the Oregon guys rooting for them as they won the NBA championship with the greatest comeback of all time. (Ron Betts' "Donna Lee" off the bow.)|
Anybody have a picture of Reliance I?|
Ron Betts writes:
"Sooo, Paul Ward was among a small fleet bucking a stiff Nor'Wester along Spanish Flats when he radio'ed that he was taking on water, "My one inch Jabsco can barely keep up!" Well, I was ahead of Paul in the parade headed for town, so I turned around and then fell back in line right behind him, just in case his situation worsened. Just off Gorda Rock the Reliance I stood up on a sharp swell such that I had a clear view of nearly the entire deck. I radio'ed, "Hey, Paul! You still taking on water?" He replied, "Gawddamn right! My one inch bilge pump still can't keep up with the leak!" I asked him what kind of pump was on his deck hose? He replied, "What the hell does that matter?" But that it was another one inch Jabsco. "Say, Paul...I think I've got this'un figgered out! Why don't you take the deck hose outta your gaffin' hatch? Huh?"".
|John Hill's Garda Marie. ~1978.|
|John Hill and the Garda Marie in 1978. Brother of Ellis and Gene, there is a picture of him at his 90th birthday party on the Smug Mug site.|
|1/9/2014 -I received a nice note from
Garda (Marie) Fremstad Page:|
"The Garda Marie was built in Seattle in 1951 by Alf Hansen for my dad Fritz Fremstad who fished the boat for the next 25 years or so until his retirement. His very good friend John Hill who owned and fished the Lilja, bought it and fished it a few more years. After a couple more owners and time in Westport and Ketchikan it is now owned by a Mr Gagnon in Neah Bay and he is fishing with it. He is also having some restoration work done to it by Eric Bert at Modern Yacht Joinery in Port Angeles. There is a very nice current picture of it on his site - I will forward the link to his site just for the heck of it.
Thanks for your important contribution, it's so necessary we don't lose touch with this history.
Garda Marie Fremstad Page also sent in this vintage photo.
|Tom Shafer and the Donna in 1978. Gallahan used to call him "God".|
|Danny Campbell on the Mare Lee didn't hide his feelings about the NMFS. ~1978.|
|Kristy on the tuna grounds in 1978.|
|MS Electron in 1978.|
on the tuna grounds in 1978. Mark Richardson and I were up off Washington fishing tuna while Capt. CaCa
was having 100 splitter days around the Rockpile.
Cap'n CaCa writes: "...'nuther fishin' story about Tom Shafer's Donna fishing large Kings outside the North Heceta Banks- Sooo, just a few of us had been fishing through a pretty stiff Nor'Wester, catching 25 or 30 Large Kings, when the weather broke and the whole fleet piled on. Trouble was that this break in the weather meant FOG!!! Yep, it was really FOGGY! But the fishing picked up quite a bit! We were pushing the 'hump' for the day when I heard a ship foghorn's "FoooBahhaa! FoooBahhaa!" Now, this was when I ran the Donna Lee and didn't have radar, so I called Tom Shafer on the Donna and ask him if'n he had a freighter on his screen, "Yeah, but don't worry; it's about 5mi SW of us." I sez, "Uh, Tom...just where are you at?" It turned out that he was 5mi NE of me. Now, this was the guy that blasted InaGawdaDivida on his deck speakers whenever it got foggy!"
|Anybody know this boat?" ~1978.|
A fisherman writes: "I THINK WE'VE SOLVED THE MYSTERY,,,,,,JANENE,,BUILT 1956 EVERETT,,,,HENRY STOCK,,,,OUT OF TACOMA ,,,,,,I'M SURE THAT IT WAS IN THE SOUND WERE I SAW HER A LONG TIME AGO,,,,IN 1968,, I RIGGED A BOAT IN TACOMA AND WAS THERE ABOUT 1.5 MONTHS ON THE BOAT IN THE EARLY SPRING AND I LEFT THE 1ST OF APRIL FOR THE FAIRWEATHER GROUNDS,,,,,,,,SHE WAS THERE,,,,,,,,,,NORGE,,,,,,,,PS SHE IS STILL GOING HOME PORT SEATTLE,,,,,,,,,"
|Brother George was having a great time off 150 miles off Blanco. They were coming like grapes when I said to him, "We'll have a unit easy today." Then they shut off and we didn't get another fish that day. Final count: 454. ~1978.|
Idle Hour in the Siuslaw River with 10 tons of albacore. ~1978. |
Walt Fosseck's classic sailboat hull troller Otter> can be partially seen just off the bow. Walt has been fishing since the late '40s and is full of good stories. Looking at his cross tree, I remember when he told me about being anchored off Tahkenitch and was awakened late at night by a bright light outside. He went on deck and watched a fireball move back and forth along that cross tree for quite a while before disappearing. The Otter was tied in her slip in the Siuslaw when I visited in 2010 and Walt was still fishing her.
|Kip Wood: "The boat is the Migrant run by a guy named Gary. Jim used to own the Migrant and sold it to Gary and then bought the Migrator. The picture is in Eureka." ~1978.|
I think the name is Martle. Anyone have any info? ~1978.|
4/4/11 - A fisherman solved the mystery: "THE STEEL BOAT IS THE MARY LU,BUILT 1965 ISLETON,CALIF.. GEORGE FONTES"
5/3/11 - The Tempo is owned by Doug Morrison from Newport. In 2003 while looking for a new boat to replace the recently sold Metta Marie I ran across the Tempo for sale. I called the guy (can't remember his name) who told me the price which was too rich for my blood. But he told me that Doug was looking to buy the boat but would need to sell the Peso II first. So went to Newport and fell in love. I bought the Peso II in Jan of 2004 and Doug bought the Tempo at the same time.
Doug had bought the Peso from Mike Schroeder's widow after Mike committed suicide. She (Peso II) was built in Ilwaco in 1952 by Bob Gertula for Leroy Harrington after the Peso was sunk in AK (I'm told).
We live in Coquille and the boat is in Charleston. She is the 5th boat I've owned. The first two were Pacific City Dories both called Glory B. The second one I commissioned and ended up trading as down payment to Frankie Magnuson for the May (At the time Frankie also owned the Lobo). Then came the Metta Marie and now the Peso II. I have really been enjoying reading about the old days. Thanks for doing this history.
Rick Goche photo
Otter lies in the Siuslaw River when I visited in 2010. Walt Fossek has been fishing her for over 50 years.
Mark Stone has been lucky enough to hear many of the great stories of the incomparable Walt Fossek. He relates some here and promises to send more: "Otter was built in 1911 in Southern California by a yacht designer, builder, and racer named Matt Walsh.
In her heyday she was active in coastal racing and possibly in trans pac. There was an article in Wooden Boat a few years back profiling Matt and with a cool shot of otter in racing trim. You can go to their web site and search the archives. She had a number of rig configurations as evidenced by a couple of old mast steps under the focsle floor boards. After ww2 she was purchased by Melvin Paisley. He grew up in Portland OR and was a fighter pilot in ww2 . After the war, he and a couple of friends decided they wanted to sail around the world. He was good friends with Sterling Hayden. Hayden was acquainted with the Otter and knowing she was for sale, recommended her to Melvin. Melvin and his crew started south and ran in to problems off Peru. They cut short their voyage, and decided to go to Portland OR where Melvin owned a tavern. They were heading north some time in January of 1950, when they got into a gale off Cape Blanco. They suffered rigging damage & engine trouble. They were escorted/towed into Charleston by a 36’ USCG Motor Lifeboat. The Otter was further damaged when it broke loose and got under a pier or the Charlston bridge. Melvin & his crew were finished forever with voyaging. ( Melvin later wrote an autobiography including his adventures on the Otter). Abe Elfing came along, and offered them the salvage value of the lead keel for the boat. Melvin and his crew took the money and left. Abe, in his 70’s at the time had a dream of fixing the Otter up and sailing back to his native Norway. They towed her up to coos Bay where they operated a shipyard/ repair facility next to Hilstroms. They did some repairs while Abe’s sons Yonke and------talked Abe out of the Norwegian adventure.
Meanwhile, The Fossek bros. had finished building the Dixie Lee. The boys were sick of ship building, and plans to build a new boat for Walt were scrapped. They decided to buy one already built. They road tripped to every port from Seattle to Moss Landing CA.( The story of this family road trip in the 39 Nash is an adventure unto itself!) The first boat they looked at was the Otter. After all the traveling, they came back to the Otter. An Otter tale.
|Unlike so many other boats I revisited in 2010, Otter looks as good as she ever did. Karl Jennings comtemplates the water while I hope to find Walt down below. - 2010|
|Ed sent in this photo of Lilly II lying in San Diego around 1955. (Looks like she's packing some weight.)|