Search This Blog

Monday, December 5, 2011

Poulsbo Yacht Club @ Bell Harbor Marina

A number of boats from the Poulsbo Yacht Club (PYC) made Bell Harbor Marina their home away from home this past weekend. Many of the visitors were decorated for the holidays.

Most boats in the fleet arrived December 1 and departed yesterday, December 4.

In addition to the unnamed vessel shown above, we recognized a number of PYC boats from the same event a year ago, including Freedom, a 51-foot LOA Offshore, M&M's Forever, a similar Offshore with a slightly longer LOA, and Intermezzo, a 41-foot LOA American Tug.

For purposes of comparison, here's a photo of the same PYC group taken on December 4, 2010.

On Sunday morning, as the boats departed, Santa seemed to have his back turned as Frosty waved good-bye.

Super Cranes Arrive in Port of Seattle

Late in the afternoon on Monday, Nov 28, three massive quayside cranes arrived at the Port of Seattle aboard the heavy-load-carrier Zhen Hua 9. Later this week, the cranes will be rolled onto Terminal 18. According to a news release issued by the Port of Seattle, these super post-Panamax cranes will allow port facilities to handle the largest container ships in the world.  Three additional super cranes are scheduled for delivery in mid-2012. The cranes are 185 feet high and capable of reaching 200 feet out over the water.

The Zhen Hua 9 is designed specifically to transport container cranes. Built in 1982 to a length of 225 meters, the ship is part of a fleet of 26 special-purpose, ocean-going delivery vehicles owned and operated by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd., which manufactures the super cranes. See

KING-5 News has posted an excellent video summary of the impact the new cranes will have on the port's ability to handle the new class of super post-Panamax container ships expected to arrive in Seattle within the next couple of years. According to Wikipedia, the super post-Panamax ships are 22-24 containers in width, compared with 12-13 containers for Panamax ships and 18 containers for post-Panamax vessels.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cougar Rendezvous

Washington State plays Oregon State tomorrow at the Clink (Century Link Field) in downtown Seattle, and seagoing Cougar fans have been arriving at Bell Harbor Marina for the past couple of days.

It's not difficult to find the boats that belong to Cougar fans. They're festooned with banners in the distinctive Cougar crimson and gray.

Here is a sampling of the Cougar armada in Bell Harbor Marina late this afternoon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Elliott Bay Traffic Jam

On Saturday afternoon, October 8, we observed the Crowley tug, Hunter, as it was dispatched to assist the container ship, Arthur Maersk, arriving with cargo from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Followers of this blog will recall that Hunter has won the Class A Unlimited tugboat race at the Seattle Maritime Festival every year it has competed since 1995. See our Saturday, May 14 entry. Hunter is considered the fastest tugboat on the West Coast.

According to the AIS data sheet at, the Arthur Maersk departed Shanghai for Seattle on September 30. It arrived in Elliott Bay at about 3:30 PM.

Normally, container vessels proceed directly to their berths in either the east or west waterway. But Saturday was not a normal day. Two vessels were departing the east waterway just as the Arthur Maersk arrived.

First, the MSC Fabienne, a 55,000 T cargo vessel owned and operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company, backed out of the east waterway with tug assist and departed for San Francisco.

Then, Zim Ningbo, a 91,000 T cargo vessel owned and operated by ZIM Integrated Shipping, made a similar stern-first departure from the east waterway, executing a counter-clockwise spin maneuver before departing Elliott Bay.

Finally, an hour after its arrival, the Arthur Maersk proceeded to its east waterway berth. During its hour or so wait, the ship drifted north of the ferry lanes awaiting clearance to enter the waterway. As it drifted, prevailing winds caused Arthur Maersk to slide gradually to the northwest, toward Pier 62-63 and the Seattle Aquarium. Acting at the direction of the ship's pilot, the Hunter and its companion tug, Chief, kept Arthur Maersk several hundred yards away.

Playing on the Pier

On Saturday, October 8, a group of urban design, landscape, and architecture students from UW's Department of Architecture created a temporary exhibition at Pier 62/63.

The exhibition displayed interactive sculptures that were intended to interpret Seattle’s waterfront and remind people that one of Seattle’s most extraordinary assets is the edge where the city meets the Sound. See

As waterfront exhibits go, we would rank this one near the bottom.  Late in the day, a newlywed couple was significantly more interested in taking a break from a post-wedding photoshoot than in exploring the students' handiwork.

M/V Polar Bear

On September 28 (a spectacular day in Seattle, by the way), M/Y Polar Bear entered Bell Harbor Marina.  

Polar Bear is a 102-foot super yacht launched earlier this year. She was built by Citadel Yachts, Tacoma, WA. See for further information.

According to, Polar Bear was conceived and built for "an experienced U.S. yachtsman." We have been unable to determine the yachtsman's identity. Our only clue is that Polar Bear is registered in Grand Forks, ND. indicates that Polar Bear is powered by twin 685-hp Caterpillar C-18B diesel engines. She has a range in excess of 5,000 nautical miles. Her generous 28-foot beam accommodates about 3,000 square feet of interior living space.

When her owner and guests desire to leave the boat, Polar Bear offers three options -- a small dinghy, a larger inflatable equipped with a 115-hp Yamaha outboard, and a beautiful Robalo sportfishing boat with a 250-hp Yamaha outboard engine.

We see many nice boats go in and out of Bell Harbor Marina.  But none nicer than this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scuffy the Tugboat(s) visit Bell Harbor Marina

Are you old enough to remember the children's book, Scuffy the Tugboat? It was first published in 1946. Scuffy was a toy tugboat who wished for "bigger things" than sailing in the bathtub. A man and his son took Scuffy to a small brook in a pasture, and soon the current carried Scuffy away. At first Scuffy was pleased. But the brook became a stream, and then a small river, and finally a large river, and Scuffy was overwhelmed. Just as he was about to sail off onto the high seas, Scuffy was rescued by the man and his boy and returned to the bathtub, where Scuffy was content to stay for the remainder of his days.

Well, Scuffy the Tugboat sailed into Bell Harbor Marina this weekend -- or, more accurately, several Scuffies sailed into the marina. The occasion was the Lord Nelson Victory Tug Rendezvous, held August 26-28 at the marina.

Lord Nelson Victory Tugs were produced by Lord Nelson Yachts, Ltd., Seattle, Washington, and built in Taiwan. The tugs are no longer in production, with the last hull having been laid in August 1998. All were long-range motor yachts designed in the style of a tugboat. A total of 861 Victory Tugs in three models ranging in length from 37 to 49 feet were built. See

Most of the tugs in attendance at Bell Harbor were 37' models, but we also saw a couple of 49-footers, including Polar Mist, which was polished to perfection for the rendezvous.

If these photos don't satisfy your hunger for photos of Lord Nelson Victory Tugs, go to the LNVT Owner's Gallery at Picasa where you'll find 99 separate albums devoted exclusively to these attractive vessels.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The Blue Angels visited Seattle this past weekend to celebrate Seafair, Seattle's annual summer festival. Although the squadron of six Boeing F/A-18 Hornets performed over Lake Washington rather than Elliott Bay, we caught several glimpses of the team as it took off from, and landed at, nearby Boeing Field.

During Seafair, we had a birds-eye view of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson, which was berthed at Pier 66.

The Sampson is an Arleigh Burke-class US Navy destroyer launched in Bath, Maine in 2006. She carries a crew of about 370 and is capable of speeds exceeding 30 knots.

Because of space constraints at Pier 66, where the Sampson was berthed, her bow projected a good distance into the entrance to Bell Harbor Marina, requiring private boats to exercise caution when entering and exiting the marina. US Coast Guard patrol boats provided escort and security during the Sampson's visit.

Despite its berthing at Pier 66, the Sampson set an anchor on the floor of Elliott Bay to secure its position. She weighed anchor only a few minutes before her departure at 8 AM Monday morning.

S/V Pallada

Yesterday, the Russian sailing vessel, Pallada, entered Elliott Bay. Pallada left Vladivostok on July 1 on a three-month trans-Pacific expedition. Immediately prior to its call in Seattle, Pallada visited Victoria, BC.

The Russian information agency, Rianovosti, reports that  Guinness World Records lists Pallada as the fastest sailing ship in the world, capable of speeds in excess of 18 knots. However, a search of the Guinness web site fails to support that claim. We could find no reference to Pallada on the site, but we did find a reference to the greatest distance covered under sail in 24 hours (766.8 nautical miles, or an average speed of 31.95 knots), leading us to believe that the agency may be stretching the truth when it comes to Pallada's capabilities.

Speed claims notwithstanding, Pallada is a beautiful sailing vessel and a welcome, if temporary, addition to the Elliott Bay waterfront.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Musical Slip Assignments at Vigor Shipyard

On May 10, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Sea-Based X-Band Radar vessel (SBX-1) crept slowly across Elliott Bay and into Vigor Shipyard on Harbor Island. See our May 11 post at Today, the SBX-1 crept ever so slowly out of the shipyard toward a temporary moorage at Duwamish Head, off West Seattle, to make room for a new tenant at Vigor.

The purpose of this short trip was to accommodate the Arctic-class drilling rig Kulluk, owned by Shell Oil, which arrived today in Elliott Bay after a two-week voyage from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. According to a report in Fuel Fix, Shell is moving the rig to Vigor Shipyard, where SBX-1 is currently based, for ongoing maintenance and planned, technical upgrades. Once Kulluk is berthed at Vigor, SBX-1 will return to its previous location for completion of the $27 million upgrade project that began in May.

The Kulluk was accompanied on its two-week journey from Dutch Harbor by Nanuq, a 300-foot oil spill response vessel that can store 12,000 barrels of recovered oil and has tools on board to collect crude from water. See

There was a veritable beehive of activity this afternoon, with radar platforms, drilling rigs, an oil spill recovery vessel, USCG patrol boats, and numerous tugs scattered around Elliott Bay -- not to mention the occasional Washington State ferry and even a wayward sailing vessel of indeterminate origin.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Elliott Bay Encounters, Revisited

Recently, we spent almost three weeks cruising north of Seattle. During our travels, we had two encounters that reminded us of Elliott Bay.

Do you remember our May 12 post entitled "A School Bus that Floats" ( Well, on 7:15 AM on June 28, while cruising north of Campbell River, BC at Chatham Point, where Johnstone Strait and Discovery Passage meet (see, we overtook an Alaska Marine Lines barge returning to Seattle from Alaska. The barge was nearly empty, and the only vehicles visible to us were a couple of pick-up trucks. There were no school buses in sight.

The other encounter occurred on July 2 at the dock below Chatterbox Falls in Princess Louisa Inlet. Adjacent to us was none other than M/V Compadre, a 43-foot bridge-deck cruiser built in 1929 by Stephens Brothers in Stockton, CA. We had seen Compadre at the classic yacht rendezvous at Bell Harbor Marina on June 18.

Compadre is currently owned by Rick and Cindy Randall of Bainbridge Island, WA, where Rick serves as commodore of the Eagle Harbor Yacht Club. For further information about Compadre and much better photos than the one above, see the excellent site maintained by the Randalls at

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Classic Yachts at Bell Harbor Marina

The Pacific Northwest Fleet of the Classic Yacht Association, in conjunction with the Port of Seattle, is sponsoring the Bell Street Pier Classic Rendezvous this weekend at Bell Harbor Marina. More than 40 classic wooden yachts, many of them built prior to World War II, will be on display. The event is purportedly the largest gathering of classic yachts on the West Coast. For further information, see

We watched a number of the classic vessels enter the marina yesterday.

Cle-Illahee is a bridge-deck cruiser built in 1929. Her name in a Northwest Native American dialect literally means "home on the water. She was built as a pleasure yacht and has never been altered from the original intent of the designer. Her hull is Port Orford cedar over oak frames, her decks are yellow cedar, and her wheelhouse and aft cabin are mahogany. For further information, see and

Honey Bee, an absolutely beautiful 42' Reinell Custom cruiser, was built in 1961.

Cinnamon Girl is a 34' Chris Craft built in 1951. She looks very similar to Honey Bee, doesn't she?

And, finally, there is M/V Olympus, a 97' fan tail motor yacht launched May 14, 1929 at the New York Yacht, Launch and Engine Company yard in Morris Heights, New York. At the time of her launching, Olympus was christened "Junaluska" in honor of a lake in North Carolina where her first owner spent his childhood summers. For further information, see

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Every so often, the view out to Elliott Bay is so beautiful that words don't do it justice. That was the case on June 15, about 8:45 PM, when the sun was sinking gradually toward the Olympic Range to the northwest. The soft evening light illuminated an outbound Alaska Marine Lines barge, the Sea-based X-band radar on the far side of Elliott Bay, a COSCO container ship being refueled, a passing Bremerton ferry, and a sailboat cruising just off the bow of JDS Kashima. See whether you agree.