Category Archives: NW boats and boaters

1899: the Old Columbia Lightship Sails Over Dry Land

Forty years after a lighthouse was built on Cape Disappointment,  the first light ship on the Pacific Coast arrived to take up its station off the mouth of the Columbia River. With no means of propulsion except sails, it was … Continue reading

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Remembering the Lightship Columbia

“The Coast Guard has signed the death warrant for the Columbia River lightship,” wrote Larry Barber at the end of 1979. Two congressmen had asked for “a reprieve,” he noted, after hearings in which fisherman and seafarers had voiced their … Continue reading

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Cape Disappointment Lighthouse–is 150 Years Old

Cape Disappointment is Washington’s Oldest Lighthouse There was a small ceremony this winter at Cape Disappointment Lighthouse that marked its 150 years of service to mariners. Cape D was the first light on the entire west coast, and all the … Continue reading

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Cascade Yachts: Building Boats for the Long Run

Portlanders Built Fiberglass Keelboats in 1956 The sport of sailing never got any respect in Portland. But that’s understandable. It’s 100 miles upriver from the Columbia Bar then another 10 to the home of the Willamette (River) Sailing Club. Dodging … Continue reading

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Is Ocean Rowing an Exercise in Futility?

 A Short History and Opinion on Ocean Rowing by P.Marsh (Work in Progress) In 1910, Bess Evinrude invited the boating public to “Throw Away the Oars” and buy an outboard motor. The future of boating changed–not for the better some … Continue reading

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Ray DeFir: Portland Speed Skier and Boat Builder (1930-2011)

first Man to Water Ski 1,000 Miles Non-Stop! Ray DeFir, an active and well-known figure in the Portland, Oregon boating scene for over 50 years, died in 2011 at the age of 81. Ray had a lifetime love of water … Continue reading

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Fake Orca No Subsitute for “Free Willy” in Astoria

Once upon a time, Hollywood made a movie starring a captive orca named Keiko, who magically leaped over the breakwater in Hammond, Oregon, and away to freedom at the mouth of the Columbia River. The movie was “Free Willy,” and … Continue reading

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The WWII Merlin Engine Set Speedboat Records in the NW

 And Destroyed the Quicksilver and Its Driver  in 1951            C. Peter Marsh In the years after World War II, as the US economy prospered, veterans settled down and soon began to look around for new forms of leisure. Many … Continue reading

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The Great Astoria Ferry War of 1927 by P.Marsh

Real Astorians Remember the Ferry Ride to Washington! Update: Owner of the Tourist No. 2, based in Puget Sound for over 40 years,  plans to return it to Astoria! Walk to the foot of 12th Street and you will see … Continue reading

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2011: The Nomadic Nautical Life of Allen and Sharie Farrell

Introduction: Allen Farrell spent 69 years building over 40 wooden boats on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. With his wife Sharie, he lived for almost 50 years aboard many of their handmade vessels or homesteading on the coast, continually … Continue reading

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