Viking, our powerboat. Viking (the second of our power boats to bear this name) is a 44' Motor Lifeboat, ex-USCG 44372.
Built USCG Yard, Curtis Bay, MD - May 1967
LOA - 44' 1-1/2"
Beam - 12' 8"
Freeboard, Bow - 6' 2" Stern - 3' 6"
Draft - 3' 6"
Displacement, full load - 39,500 lbs.
2 Detroit Diesel 6V53N - 185 HP
Borg-Warner 73C marine gears - 3:1 forward, 2.64:1 reverse
30X25 3 blade propellors
Fuel - 313 gal. (95%) #2 diesel
Hull material - 3/16" Corten steel - 9 watertight spaces
24VDC main electrical system - 2 Motorola 75 amp alternators
120VAC shore power
Superstructure material - .090" aluminum alloy
Anchors - 60 lb. Danforth and 28 lb. Danforth
Anchor rode - 9' of 1/2" BBB chain on 300' 3" double braid nylon
120 gal/min @ 100 psi fire pump (PTO driven off port engine)
P-1 gasoline powered dewatering pump. (120 gal/min)
Static bollard pull - 6500 lbs.
Towing capacity - vessels up to 125 gross tons
Raytheon 750 Loran-C
AN/SPS-69A (Raytheon R40X) radar
Genave GLH-100 loud hailer
AN/SRD-21 VHF homer
Autohelm ST50 depth sounder
Standard Eclipse+ VHF radio
The hull design and buoyancy of the superstructure in the Waveney gives it, it’s self-righting ability.
The RNLI made a number of small changes to the original design (the Waveney is made to a U.S. Coast Guards design) to improve its self-righting capability such as raised fore and aft cabin tops.
Told by former USCG, LCDR (Ret) Pat Kelley.
In 1998, the officers of Sea Scout ship CITY OF ROSES #601, were concerned about the future of the Portland Sea Scout Base. The number of active ships was declining, and the number of youth members was likewise declining. The CITY OF ROSES membership and program was strong, but the district leadership was poor, so the likelihood of the program recovering and growing overall was slim.
At the time the ship had two boats: The 29’ ketch named CITY OF ROSES, and a powerboat named VIKING.
That powerboat had been in the ship’s hands for nearly twenty (20) years and had been converted by the ship from an open utility boat to a cabined boat. We had gone to a yacht designer, Robert a. Smith, Sr. He had drawn up plans for the conversion, which was commenced in 1980. It took us about eight (8) months, working many extra nights and Saturday eves and Sundays to complete.
The boat was a Diesel-powered former US Navy 40’ utility boat. It was completely open. We built cabins (fore and aft) and the center cockpit over the engine room. Everything was constructed of plywood, which covered with a type of canvas and ARABAL (A type of waterproof glue). This in turn was coated with marine enamel paint.
As long as the boat was stored in the boathouse, there was no problem. The consensus was that if the Sea Scout Base collapsed, we wouldn’t have the boathouse any longer. We thought we might be able to find moorage for the boats, but didn’t think we could locate any moorage for the boathouse. Accordingly, the officers started looking for boats that could stand being moored all year in the elements.
At that time, I was a Coast Guard Reserve officer and I was drilling at Coast Guard Station, Cape Disappointment. The Commanding Officer there knew I was involved with Sea Scouts. He told me that several 44-foot motor lifeboats were going to be “excessed” by the Coast Guard, and might be available for transfer to the Sea Scouts. The Coast Guard was replacing the 44’s with a new 47-foot motor lifeboat.
We were returning from a long cruise to Ilwaco/Astoria, and as we approached Tongue Point, we could see a couple of 44’s stowed in the surplus yard. We got in close enough to read the numbers off the boats.
Eric Kozowski was the skipper at that time. He undertook to telephone and write the Coast Guard District 13 small boat manager about the possibility of getting one of these boats. One was the 308. As things progressed, we lost out of the 308, and another boat. As time went by, other boats became available. Our priority with the government for getting this type of equipment was fairly low. Any government agency, including Indian tribes outranked us. After several months of writing and telephoning, Coast Guard District 13 said they had a boat at Grays harbor, WA, that we could put in for. Eric Kozowski did put in for it. One of the things wrong with the boat was that the starboard main engine was broken down. A little luck came our way, and we received word that we could have the boat. We had ten (10) days to get it removed from the Coast Guard Station at Grays Harbor. If we did not get it moved, the government would rescind the transfer of the boat to us.
Eric Kozowski took a working party to Grays Harbor, made arrangements to moor the boat at a nearby private marina, until we could arrange to have the boat trucked to Portland. I went up after the boat was moved the removed all the antennas, search lights, and other impediments so the boat would be low enough to haul on the highway. We contracted with a boat mover and had the boat trucked to Vancouver, where we launched MLB-44372 in the Columbia River and towed her to the Sea Scout Base for further restoration.
Restoration took place over the best part of a year. One of our officers, Charlie Miller, allowed us to use his garage to work on the starboard engine. We removed part of the roof over the coxswains flat, pulled 156 bolts holding the engine room hatch in place, secured, disconnected, and photographed the interior/controls on the engine so we could put everything back. Then we took the boat to a crane at 33rd and NE Marine Dr, hoisted the engine and reduction gear out, and delivered it to Charlie Miller’s garage near 90th and SE Foster.
I knew an expert GM Diesel engine mechanic named Ralph Johnson (now deceased). He was a Machinery Tech in my Coast Guard Reserve unit. He agreed to supervise the overhaul of the engine. We held an extra meetings at the garage every Thursday, in addition to our other regular gatherings. We also met on several Sundays. We spent about 4 months on the engine rebuild. It was a complete rebuild. Ralph Johnson would explain to the crew working on the engine how to read the applicable section in the manual, then have them remove bolts. We had to keep careful track of the hardware, bolts, nuts, etc., so we could reassemble at the end of the project. A lot of time was spent cleaning parts, and reassembling parts of the engine. We used new gaskets, rings, and other mall parts. We sent the head out to a Diesel shop to be redone.
In the meantime, back at the Sea Scout Base, we cleaned and preserved the engine room with the starboard engine out of the space.
Time came to replace the engine. We took the boat to another boat yard, and had her hauled. The engine was re-installed and lined up. We had the bottom painted., replaced zincs, inspected the rudders, strainers, etc. We also had the hull painted. That white paint is still the only paint that has been put on the hull (except for a couple of small touch up areas.) Then back to the Sea Scout Base for training, and shake downs.
We had learned that MLB-44372 had spent most of her service life at Grays Harbor, and Cape Disappointment. She had also been stationed at Coast Guard Life Saving Station and lighthouse, Willapa Bay, WA. This was usually summer assignments. Station Willapa Bay was finally abandoned in the late 1970’s due to erosion of the sandy cliff it was built upon. The whole site has since collapsed into the waters of Willapa Bay. It was not rebuilt because of the declining commercial traffic in and out of Willapa Bay, and because of the instability of the shore site.
After we had run the boat for several months, the ship decided to add a special port on the summer long cruise of 1999. We arranged to go offshore and cruise to Grays Harbor, and stay overnight at the Coast Guard Station. We wanted to show the Coast Guard what we had done with the boat. It was a landmark voyage, a hundred sea miles, with plenty of long ocean swells, fog, junk in the water to avoid (logs, crab pots, barrels), four bar crossings, and a few seasick crew.
Subsequent to that trip, during the next two (2) years, we were contacted by the Coast Guard offering spare parts for 44-foot MLBs. We made parts runs to Coast Guard Station Port Angeles, Winchester Bay, and Coos Bay. During one of these runs, the Coast Guard wanted to know if we wanted another 44 MLB. The boat was at Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay, Newport, OR. We went there, and they showed us MLB-44331. We agreed to take the boat if they could get it to Ilwaco, then we would tow it back to Portland with the VIKING. Although it was months later, they did, so we did. Eric Kozowski did all the liaison with the Coast Guard District 13 small boat manager, again, to effect this transfer. That boat is now the VOYAGEUR.
The ship has constantly up-graded and maintained VIKING. The boat has been hauled every sixty (60) months for bottom work. The screws have been swapped out.
Interior improvements included hanging bunks. The bunks came of the decommissioned submarine USS SAILFISH which was mothballed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA. The sink in the head is also off a submarine. The shelves in the galley and hood over the range were fabricated and installed. Dripless stuffing boxes were installed in the engine room. A new Furuno RADAR, GPS, chart plotter, radio and loud hailer were acquired and installed by Alan Terry, member of the committee and former crew member.
Lots of other repairs and improvements have been made since MLB 44372 became the VIKING.
An alumnus donated the installation of the rudder angle indicator. (It was $1,000).
VIKING has been the most active power boat of the Portland Sea Scouts, and has been a source of pride for everyone involved in her restoration and operation.