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Preview: TEAL – A Northwest Fisheries Patrol Vessel’s New Lease on Life

November 21, 2014

Welcome aboard M/V TEAL, a 78-foot Northwest fisheries patrol vessel built in 1927, and meet her owner, a courageous, adventurous woman – and perhaps the world’s greatest grandmother.


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– Today, we take you on a visit aboard a remarkable boat with an equally remarkable woman. The boat is “Teal,” originally an Alaskan fisheries patrol vessel, built in 1927 in North Bend, Oregon. She’s 78 feet, 91 tons, with two inch port orford cedar planking, a massive Washington Estep Diesel, turning a 55-inch wheel, she regularly logged 11,000 a summer on patrol, carrying various scientists and fisheries’ officials in comfort, up and down the inside passage in style. In the mid 60’s, Teal was sold to private owners, gradually fell into disrepair, until 1997 when a full restoration commenced. In 2008, Kit Pingree with no experience behind a ship’s wheel took ownership and oversaw the final leg of Teal’s full transformation, as well as her own. A lot of people – this would be a completely daunting boat to think about maneuvering and any kind of anchorage or docking, or…

– Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be in this position. It was crazy. I had the opportunity to get back on the water again. Eight years ago, I actually bought the boat. When I grew up, it was sailboats, and you know, we were always in charge of dock lines and fenders and the same when I bought this boat, um, the partner at the time was in control, and I was dock lines and fenders. I never was able to dock or run the boat, which is a big thing for me to tell women that are boating with their husbands. They need to know how to run that boat because if something happens to their partner

– [Male] It’s so critical.

– It’s so critical. Anyway, in buying this boat, the previous owner I’ll never forget him putting his hand on my shoulder when I’m trying to get her out. “She gets smaller,” and she does. I think of her as a little boat now because I feel like I’m a part of her and I can sense where she is, and how much I need for a turn and everything. But it was a real process. I had never taken her out of the dock by myself. Before, I hired a captain to get her out of the Port of Friday Harbor, and I was going to anchor.

– [Male] So you sat for your 100 ton captain’s license?

– [Kit] Just this last winter, I went for it.

– [Male] Right.

– [Kit] I had enough sea time hours on this boat to do the 100 ton, and now you know, I’m thinking that, now I single handle her by just planning in advance everything that I need to do and get ready before I leave, and then where I’m, if I’m anchoring or if I’m going to re-dock somewhere, I’m making sure my fenders and lines and everything are ready. She’s so heavy that everything’s slow and easy, and I watch what the current’s doing, and the wind’s doing. By the time I hit the dock, she’s dead stopped and right up to the edge.

– I’d love to have a look down below. I’d love if we could have a look in the edge room.

– Yeah, let’s go.

– Is there an area where you can actually see some of the structure of the hulk?

– Oh yeah.

– Yeah? Let’s have a look.

– This is a copy of one of her drawings. You can see a side section of her framing, the 10 by 10s, her ribs, but they got them closer together here because originally her Washington engine was all in this section of the boat.

– [Male] Wow.

– When they re-powered her, the engine is now back here, and they had to fill a lot of this with concrete to re-balance the boat.

– [Male] Right.

– But it shows how all these little cabins were with the crew’s quarters.

– [Male] Quite chopped up captain’s quarters forward just after the wheel house.

– [Kit] Mmm hmm.

– Just incredible to look at the sheer mass of some of these timbers. I mean those are just cross sections of oak ribs, and into this, just massive stems

– [Kit] Massive stems.

– [Male] That you can see is fastened off in a way. Just incredible.

– This is my engine room. This is really fun getting to figure all this stuff out.

– Wow.

– Well, the first thing I did was I got a label maker. [Laughing] Making everything so it was organized and I could find parts and secure so if I’m moving around, nothing’s gonna fly around like these little containers so I can organize my parts.

– [Male] Spare parts.

– Yeah.

– So can you give us just kind of a little walk around? What are we looking at for equipment?

– This is a Cummins 855, 340 horse power. You can get at everything, easy to work.

– [Male] What kind of a cruising speed?

– [Kit] I cruise at about eight knots.

– [Male] Amazing.

– [Kit] I still watch the tides and the currents ‘cuz it’s always nice to get that extra boost when you can.

– [Male] So, 350 horse power. Why is it such a big package slow turning, very slow rpm?

– Slow turning gear down six to one ratio.

– Six to one.

– Yeah, and she has a big five bladed prop 55 inches across.

– Wow, 55 inches across?

– Yeah.

– That’s incredible. So very high torque, low power, low fuel consumption. So are these the fuel tanks?

– These, just four of them.

– Four.

– She holds two forward and two aft, and they’re all interconnected. She holds 2,000 gallons of diesel.

– Wow.

– The best part is having a newer type engine in. I am not a mechanic, you know. It was a work in progress. I figured okay if it’s organized, I know where my tools are. If it’s clean, I can see if anything’s going wrong right off the bat, you know, if there’s a leak somewhere or if there’s a loose belt or you know, there’s, something’s not right.

– Right.

– First, when I got the boat when we were talking about that, I hired a mechanic friend and he went through everything with me, telling me what I should be checking. You know, like taking off in an airplane. You want to check the oil, how to change the filters. That’s when I started labeling everything and even my filters, I labeled the date I changed them on. What I needed spare parts of, you know, all the belts and filters and that sort of thing. Now, I’ve got my grandson down here and he helped me change the oil the last time on that main engine. He was so excited, but the fun thing about her is she has this little reverso pump here. I can change the oil on either generator or the main by just turning on this pump and then changing valve at this second.

– Right.

– And put it right into a five gallon can. Although the main holds nine and a half gallons of oil.

– Is that really?

– Well it’s also fun having my grandkids help me down in here. We started with the questions, “What’s that? What’s this do?” I immediately went to, “Let’s follow the lines, let’s see where they go.”

– Right.

– So then we’re on a discovery mission. They’re understanding better, “Oh yeah okay, that goes to do this, and that’s for” ya know, it’s just been really fun teaching them all that and then having the responsibility of actually hands on and doing it with me. They helped me check all the battery levels and fill them.

– [Male] And this looks to be another small genset?

– She has two of them. This one’s soundproof. I use this when I’m in anchor because it doesn’t make much noise. She has two invertor systems so I can go a couple of days without running any power if I’m at an anchor. This one, I use mainly when I’m underway ‘cuz she has a water maker and it’s 110, and so I need to run the generator in order to make my water.

– Right.

– I can make about 45 gallons an hour and she holds 1,000 in these two tanks back here.

– 1,000 gallons of fresh water?

– Yeah.

– Then she has a diesel heating system and this also does my hot water, and so all the rooms have a little thermostat. Pressure pump for the water system a and the pressure tank’s over there. This was my last project. I just finished building this ladder, but there was no access out of the hatch. Now I can bring my fanners down and grab my lines without having to go all the way around, but also, this whole hatch will lift off. I just put some pipes and roll it off, so if I ever need to have to bring anything heavy down into here, I could.

– Right. So this goes up to the stern deck?

– It does.

– Do you mind?

– So this is her fantail.

– Beautiful fantail.

– I wanted a nice bench in the stern, so I made this also in my brother’s garage. It was in three sections that I had to bring on the boat from the stern.

– Had you been a wood worker your whole life?

– No, not really, I was a landscape designer and contractor for 20 years, so I’ve done a lot of stuff with my hands. It’s just, you know, if you see a picture, you get an idea in your mind, it’s kind of fun to just try it. My father always said, well, the best thing he said to me was, “I don’t ever want to hear you can’t do something because you can do anything you want to do, just try.” She used to have a big towing hitch. I figured if I ever have to tow anyone, I have these two cleats that I can use so I wasn’t ruining that part.

– That’s an impressive, that’s actually a very impressive cleat. You’re not messing around there.

– So here’s the strength control. This is one of our safety signals. If people are back here, and they need to alert me that something’s wrong, they just grab this and then, you know, slow her down right away and then I know. I love her galvanized railings to go along with it. These were all built in the foundry right here in Port Townsend. They’re all cast.

– So these weren’t original?

– [Kit] No.

– [Male] The galvanized finish really goes with the style of the boat.

– [Kit] Yeah.

– [Male] Well it seems like Port Townsend is the place to have work done.

– Should I toot the horn? I’ve been dying to do it. This guy’s been coming by. And now we’re here to hear her horn. [tooting Horn] I saw you jump when I tooted.

– [Male] Yeah.

– It’s nice to get people’s attention. So there’s your windlass. It’s all hydraulic. You can free fall the chain too in an emergency, you know, you really need to get it down fast. but I always lower it hydraulically because it kinda scares me, the chain just going “vrooo.”

– [Male] That is some serious chain. Five eighths, 450 feet of five eighths chain.

– Uh huh.

– That’s just a hose pipe right through the bow side of the boat.

– [Kit] Yes. But it’s also nice because you can see when the top of the anchor shaft starts coming up, so you slow down so you don’t jam it in there or anything.

– Well as you would expect, her stem’s about two feet thick. That is a serious hunk of wood, and then this galvanized cap. So I see this incredible dinghy up on the top deck. Can we have a look at that?

– [Kit] Yeah.

– This is like the dance floor.

– Well this is where I keep the tenders. This is my fitness center here. She has the two station gliding rowing seats, and then she’s also is outfitted with sails. She has a little jib in the main. It’s really fun to play with the kids, and the adults for exercise. These are built in Victoria, but then, I try to hide this between the two tenders because it doesn’t go with the boat. It’s a hydraulic crane. Sorry, but launching these, I used to use this boom in the winch, but you’d need a couple of people at least. One to push the boom out and the other to crank and another couple down below to grab the boat. It snuggles in here pretty good.

– [Male] So her original stack or the year of her build, 1927?

– This is not an original stack. They did this when they were restoring her. It’s an old fuel can so they made it into her stack.

– [Male] So that’s her main engine exhaust?

– [Kit] Yes.

– Are there sails? Are there steadying sails for her?

– She originally had three sails, two on each mast, and then a jib. But they were mainly steadying sails, but they also called them get homes, so if she lost her engine, she could do a little bit of something.

– Wow, so big galley aft in the deck salon.

– Because I love to cook. So this is the salon.

– So the lot of the furniture here, you built yourself?

– Right, my brother has a garage shop that he let me use. This is actually three pieces of a sapele. They’ve been biscuit joined together, and then it’s pegged into the floor so it’s not going to go anywhere.

– What’s the story with the carving here?

– When she was being restored at Port Hadlock and here at Port Townsend also, the owner had this carving made and it was actually down here as covered doors, and you couldn’t see it or appreciate it, so I put it together moved it up there and framed it. Now let me show you the captain’s quarters.

– Gosh, this mahogany bed is incredible. Again, is this all joinery and so forth that you brought to the boat?

– No this was built by the shipwrights in Port Townsend.

– Big beam shelf, and then this massive ceiling. I mean this ceiling has got to be three inch inter-planking in this kind of built.

– So this is the bunk room for the grandkids.

– Yeah, look at this.

– And then they get this little ladder to go up through the dog house there. But they love it. You can see how thick the deck plant planking is here, and there’s a cross section of it.

– [Male] Oh, holy cow, so it’s like two and three quarter inch thick, vertical grain fir deck, wow.

– So this is my secret weapon.

– Your secret weapon?

– This runs the windlass. It’s all hydraulic. The anchor alone weighs 500 pounds and she has a five eighths chain, 450 feet of it. So it’s really nice. That’s why I like, I can anchor in deeper spots than most people. And then the chain locker’s ahead of that. But this also runs, she has a bowl thruster.

– So this is a generator, a diesel generator, that is solely to run the hydraulics.

– Right.

– The windlass, the thruster.

– [Kit] I retired, and all of a sudden, I get to live again, and I get to live through her. She’s given me a whole new life. I’m just her caretaker. She’s taking me any place I want to go, meeting incredible people. A new lease on life.



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