At 0120 Swift Trawler 47 crossed the Washington/Oregon border approximately 15nm from the mouth of the Columbia River. Shortly thereafter the night watch began to see increased commercial fishing traffic on the radar and AIS. With standing orders to track all contacts and apply course corrections for any vessel within a CPA of less than 2 miles the night watch effectively zig-zagged their way through the commercial fleet and motored throughout the night. The smell of brewing coffee and the sounds of Power & Motoryacht Magazine Executive Editor Jeff Moser’s cool jazz tracks offered a cosmopolitan ambiance to the oncoming watch, juxtaposing the somber, overcast, grey morning outside with 4 miles of limited visibility.
Riding the flood into Newport, OR, Swift Trawler 47 sailed into port for fuel and change of crew. Jeff and PMY’s Digital Editor John Turner disembarked for the long journey back to NYC. Norris Come, Managing Editor for Northwest Yachting Magazine arrived right on time and hopped on for the anticipated long leg to San Francisco.
Based on weather routing from Commander’s Weather and other sources, the decision was made to touch-and-go in Newport and continue on to Coos Bay, OR to wait out a low pressure system and place the boat in better position for a forecasted weather window Thursday morning.
As with all offshore passages, the best laid plans are consistently subject to change and such was the case for Swift Trawler 47.
At approximately 1424 at 43 39’.0 N ; 124 19’.9 W, 5 miles SW of the mouth of the Umpqua River mouth ST47 was traveling at 18.9 knots when it struck a submerged log or in Pacific Northwest speak, a deadhead. After an initial damage assessment it was determined the integrity of the hull was uncompromised but significant vibration indicated the vessel has sustained damage to the port prop. ST47 would have to make the bar crossing at Coos Bay on one prop.
With 90 minutes until slack tide at Coos Bay the ST47 would have to average 11kts on a single prop to cross the bar before it was likely closed for transit.
I contacted the Coast Guard Station Coos Bay issued a Securite warning and made known our intent to cross the Coos Bay bar. The Swift Trawler 47 put her head down and powered towards the entrance.
Swift Trawler 47 crossed the bar into Coos Bay in the early stages of an ebb tide and with her bow steady on the range markers, despite a 6’ swell on the beam, eased into the channel and safe haven. After tying up dockside and signing off on the VHF, with thanks to the Coast Guard watch commander, captain and crew sent an enthusiastic thumbs-up text to Beneteau for building a boat that delivered the speed and handling required to bring all ashore safely and unaided.
-- Captain Jackson Willett