Alaska Packers 73 ~A Brief Underway

October 24, 2012

Dirk Nansen, agent for Waterline Boats and Boatshed Seattlecovers the Bellingham / Blaine / La Conner / Anacortes area.

Dirk is a licensed USCG 100 ton master, has completed many yacht deliveries and is also an engineer with extensive experience in the marine industry. He has owned and operated commercial vessels engaged in research and charter and operated up and down the west coast including extensive experience in Alaskan waters.

In short, Dirk is an experienced mariner. But he tips his hat to one more salty than he — Roland Culbertson. Recently Dirk had an opportunity to accompany Roland as he moved his boat — our listing — an Alaska Packers Tug. Here is Dirk’s report.

Yesterday, the owner of the Alaska Packers Tug and I shifted QUAIL from Laconner to Loverics to be hauled out and cleaned.  It was an interesting experience.  The current was running quite fast from the north in Laconner and the wind was blowing out of the west about 40 knots.  Roland, at 85 years, seems quite confident to run the boat by himself but had invited me along as his only crew.  Quail was tied pointed south so Roland simply untied the lines starting at the stern so the stern swung out into the current.  He then went below to fiddle with the engine (which, being a direct reverse, was not running) while the boat swung more or less crosswise in the channel with the bow just a few feet from some other boats tied below us.  I was getting a little anxious.  But then Roland casually strolled up to the wheelhouse and started the engine in astern, backed out in the channel a bit, then started it in forward and swung north to head for Anacortes.  All very relaxed.  We arrived at Loverics precisely at 4 PM as scheduled.  Entering the very crowded marina from the west through a narrow entrance with boats on all sides and the strong wind and current behind us got me anxious again but Roland had no problems and calmly maneuvered the boat in a slalom around other boats to get it lined up for the dry dock platform.  No bow thrusters here. The wind was so strong that it took the two Loverics tow skiffs about 15 minutes of hard work to get the boat positioned over the blocks but, it was finally hauled out.
The bottom had very thick clumps of mussels, which are getting to be a problem in the Laconner marinas.  They covered the keel cooler to the extent that the engine temperatures on this trip got higher than Roland had seen before (still only about 135 F).  Watching old Roland handle his boat so calmly and precisely was a great lesson in how it can be done.  This is a single screw, 73 foot tug with a directly coupled air start engine and he was able to maneuver it around in tight spaces with adverse current and wind with no stress at all.  Mostly he just relaxes at the wheel sitting back in his chair and steering with his feet.  Even tying up at the dock he just quietly goes about setting up the lines and doesn’t even ask for help.  In fact, he hardly said a word, other than brief answers to my questions, on the whole trip.  Of course, he has been running this boat by himself since 1960 building marinas and doing marine construction projects all over Puget Sound (including building Loverics’ marina).  That is 50 plus years of being a part of this one boat.

 Click the link to view full specifications, 79 photos, plus two videos and Dirk’s Broker comments on this genuine, reliable and sound Tug. Alaska Packers Tug


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