View Full Version : Log Raft Tugs?

Mark Swiderek
01-08-2001, 02:24 PM
I remeber reading a short article in Woodenboat a few years ago about small tugs built to move rafts of logs in the Pacific Northwest. Does anyone know of any plans and/or line drawning for these vessels? I need to spec out a yawl boat to push an 84' schooner. Would like to use a small diesel turning a big wheel, so I thought the hull shape of these craft might just do the trick.


Ian McColgin
01-08-2001, 02:31 PM
If you can get Burke's book of Pete Culler's Boats you'll see the interesting difference between a couple of small tugs vs. a similar yawl boat for the Leavitt. I think you'll find the yawl boat a better choise for this use.

If you can't find the book, let me know - perhaps who ever has the Hyannis Public Library copy will have returned it . . . .


Dave Fleming
01-08-2001, 03:41 PM
If memory serves, those little 'toots' are just an engine inside a steel hull with some saw tooth push bumpers up on the bow.
I don't believe that I would choose such a craft for that work.
A yawl boat as has been suggested or Capt'n Pete's Gracie might be a better way to go.
When I would watch those little things bobbing around in the log pond and reeling from side to side, I would have taken money that one day one of those things was just going to go right over.
Have to make one comment about them though.
They sure did take a beating and keep on working.

Mark Swiderek
01-08-2001, 04:15 PM
I agree with your call on Pete Culler's "Gracie". The only problem is finding Burke's book is harder than pulling teeth from a bird. My interest in the log tugs comes from some initial work with Gerr's book on picking a propeller. Based on some rough work with his fomulas, I should be swinging a 38"-40" prop. Most yawl boats don't have anywhere near that kind of room. I figured it was worth a shot to see if the log tug might have the hull shape to accomidate that big a prop


01-08-2001, 05:00 PM
Swid, You are probably aware of the propulsion used on many of the yawlboats in the Maine schooner fleet. Seems to work well.

Twenty-inch props powered by a 75hp turbo-diesel through a 3:1 reduction on two new boats recently built.

Nice article in WB142 for those interested.

Dave Fleming
01-08-2001, 08:04 PM
Swid, look for a copy of Skiffs and Schooners by Pete Culler there are lines and some offsets in the brief section on Gracie in that mag..
My wife aka SWIMPAL used that in her lofting class at Gompers in Seattle.
And I seem to recall someone saying that all Pete Cullers plans are now at Mystic.
You might want to check on that.

01-09-2001, 12:46 AM
I'd bet that you could pick up one of those little steel pond yachts pretty cheap if you were to swing through Port Angeles. Since they've nearly mined out the Olympic Peninsula woods of fir and cedar, there are a bunch laying around. About a year back I was through there and saw three in a row on the hard with for-sale signs.

Ever watch one work? The "skipper" sits in a bucket seat and is belted in, and for good reason. I've seen them lay 'em over d@mn near flat with the diesel screaming and wishing for more power! They beat the holy freaking bejabbers out of the little fellas. Not the kindly little Brit tug cooked up for preschool consumption. No way can I imagine an 8-hour shift on one of those things.

Bruce Hooke
01-10-2001, 03:36 PM
Mark: Your local library should be able to get you a copy of Burke's book via interlibrary loan for long enough so that you can study the plans and decide if they look right. From that point, to actually build Gracie, you would of course need to buy a copy of the actual plans from Mystic.
- Bruce

01-13-2001, 01:56 PM
Those noisy little dozer boats likely are not really what you want .Designed for sorting in the log pond and for feeding bundles to the log barge cranes, they are heavy and deep in the water. Most of the ones I ran had 6-71 screeming Jimmys and a steel wheel about 28" diamater inside a steering nozzel.The throttle control, a lever to steer with, a hinged plank with a pad made from an old life jacket held on with duct tape, a switch for the wiper and one for a heater if you were lucky completed the interior. On the back deck stands a short tow post for your hook line and a pike pole is all your deck gear.
The idea was to feed the logs squarely in to where the cranes could load without waiting between lifts,and with good bundles to load you had to be quick. Try as you might, those dozers wouldn't roll over. If you were lucky the long coffee break came when there was a problem with the crane, but then you might find yourself helping the crane operator pull in a new tag wire or wrenching something.
The dozer work was usually done by the deckhands from the tug, With the Mate on watch spelling off for mug-up. Smooth loading would take about 8 hours, then it was time to load the dozers ( we carried 2 ), cut the log barge loose from the stiff-leg and start towing to the mill. Two weeks on, two weeks off.
All good fun!

Mark Swiderek
01-15-2001, 09:17 AM
Hey Guys, I never said I wanted to buy one, I just want to see what the hull shape was. From the descriptions posted, I think they still have potential. They're small, stable and able to take a pounding without falling apart. Junk the cabin, dump the 6-71 and use a 4 cyl Deere geared down 6:1 turning a 30" nozzled 4 blade and it sounds like you could dock supertankers.


03-31-2008, 04:11 AM
Junk the cabin, dump the 6-71 and use a 4 cyl Deere geared down 6:1 turning a 30" nozzled 4 blade and it sounds like you could dock supertankers.


Why dump the 6-71, they make a damn good tug motor. I ran a mates 53 foot 1903 tug that was running a 260hp 6-71 with a 4-1 gearbox. Swinging a 38 inch towing prop it would pull anything!
Seriously though, size of prop and prop shape does count a lot in trying to pull/push. That towing prop had swept back blades for extra thrust, the cruising prop, same size was useless for towing, but produced far more speed for the revs. It may have had different pitch, I never measured it.

03-31-2008, 08:51 AM
Hey redsail what outfit did you work for I just might know you

04-03-2008, 11:49 AM
Mark--if you never located Burke's book, I have a copy and would be glad to send you photocopies of whatever you need. Contact me off forum.

04-03-2008, 11:58 AM
Mark--if you never located Burke's book, I have a copy and would be glad to send you photocopies of whatever you need. Contact me off forum.

Mark posted in January, 2001. I reckon he's either found the book by now or moved on.

04-04-2008, 11:14 AM
Ya never know. I'm still looking for stuff I've hunted for over the years. Gotta clean the garage...