Category Archives: Nautical History

Monsieur Fresnel’s Brilliant Invention

In Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River, and along the coast of Oregon, there are many historical lighthouses that are open to the public. Built on prominent headlands in the late 1800s by the former US Lighthouse Board, … Continue reading

Posted in Nautical History | 1 Comment

8,000-Mile Cable to Australia Began in Astoria, Oregon

The launch of communications satellites by rocket makes for great imagery and headlines, but the majority of digital data still travels around the world via a vast network of undersea cables. In 2017, there was over half a million miles … Continue reading

Posted in Commercial boats, Nautical History, Worth Reading | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cleveland Rockwell–NW coast surveyor & artist

Cleveland Rockwell had a successful 19th-century career in the military and the federal Coastal Survey. Educated as a cartographer and mechanical engineer, Rockwell started his professional life with the U.S. Coastal Survey, collecting survey data and drawing maps. In 1861, … Continue reading

Posted in Nautical History, Worth Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wreck of the Emily Reed at Rockaway Beach, OR.

Although there must be over a thousand ships lost along the Oregon coast in the last 200 years, only a handful belong in a category generally referred to as “mystery” or “phantom” ships. This is because they have the remarkable … Continue reading

Posted in Nautical History, Sailing Ships | Tagged , | Leave a comment

N.Y. Sailing Ship Wavertree in Portland 1907-9

The Wavertree was built by Oswald Mordaunt & Company at Southampton, England in 1885 for R.W. Leyland & Company of Liverpool. At 325’ long, she is one of the last large sailing ships built of wrought iron. Today, she is … Continue reading

Posted in Nautical History, Sailing Ships | Leave a comment

NW Steam Society on Columbia River

Do you work in a “high-pressure” job? Feel the need to “let off some steam” occasionally? Well, you might be ready to take a ride in a steamboat and find out where these expressions originated. Over a summer weekend, seventeen … Continue reading

Posted in Nautical History, NW boats and boaters | Tagged | Leave a comment

1958: Lituya Bay, AK. Hit by 1700′ Mega Tsunami

When I moved to Astoria almost a decade ago, I began to enjoy the pleasures of living on the edge of the continent, like the short trip to the beach, and the ever-changing weather. But when I attended a community … Continue reading

Posted in Cruising, Nautical History, NW boats and boaters, Worth Reading | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Death of the Antarctic Ship Hero

How a Notable  Vessel Met Its End on Willapa Bay Fifty years ago, the 125′ X 30′ expedition ship Hero was taking shape at the Harvey Gamage Boatyard in Maine. Designed by Potter & M’Arthur, Inc., naval architects of Boston, … Continue reading

Posted in Commercial boats, Nautical History, Shipyards | Tagged | Leave a comment

After 70 Years, Katie Ford Sails on in B.C.

In the summer of 2016, I received an email from the Canadian owner of the 44′ cruising yacht Katie Ford, inviting me to its 70th birthday party in Victoria B.C. This classic old sailing yacht was built in in 1946 … Continue reading

Posted in Nautical History, NW boats and boaters, Sailors & Yachts | Leave a comment

The Cutty Sark Sails into the 21st Century

In 2008, the world’s only surviving clipper ship, the Cutty Sark, suffered a disastrous fire that came close to destroying the entire hull in its permanent drydock beside the River Thames in Greenwich. This news was especially shocking for me … Continue reading

Posted in Nautical History, Ocean Racing & Records, Sailing Ships | Tagged , | Leave a comment