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Thread: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

  1. #1
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    Default R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Greetings all!

    I am trying to find a wooden-hulled boat called the R/V Hero.

    This is a very special boat (aren't they all?) because it was designed and built specifically as a research vessel for Antarctic service. It has some unique features, including extensive use of greenheart beams to ice-strengthen it. Some "Ice" friends and I keep track of all things related to the southern continent, especially US Antarctic Program history. Unfortunately, we seem to have lost 'er.

    Until a few years ago is was a kind of floating museum in Reedsport, OR. It went through a series of owners after Reedsport auctioned it off; the Hero was last seen docked in Newport, OR. That was last year.

    I called the Newport marina and talked to a very nice lady who seemed to think it was sold to the Sea Scouts, however the trail has dead-ended there. More history can be found here.

    Have you seen the HERO lately? If so, where is it?

    REWARD! Okay, well, I'll buy you a beer at the Port Townsend brewery at the next opportunity.

    Glenn
    Port Townsend
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    She was towed away, seems almost a year ago, sometime last crab season. As I recall the scuttlebutt was she was Portland bound for the Sea Scouts, going in for a haulout. I think one of the big tugs from Coos Bay came and got her, and the previous owner left the Port with a pretty good outstanding moorage bill.

    She was a pretty amazing boat, the last wood icebreaking hull built in the U.S. The few times I was aboard her on dock 3 in the past couple of years I was amazed that everything was left as if she'd been found in the arctic : the galley stocked, scientific samples in jars lined the shelves, undeveloped rolls of film stacked up in various cabins. She was frozen in time, and I hope they don't just chuck all that history into the rubbish bin...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    60 south, what is your connection to the Hero? I ask as I was the last radio operator on her. TerryLL, thanks for those pictures. Can I ask the source? FV Henrietta, thanks for the update. Some of that stuff in the cabins most likely belonged to me at one time or another. I'd be happy if it stayed where it was.
    Bill Wechter was trying to save her. I wonder if he is still involved. I have inquired about our host doing an article about her but did not receive an enthusiastic response. Jim....

  4. #4
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceboy View Post
    60 south, what is your connection to the Hero? I ask as I was the last radio operator on her. TerryLL, thanks for those pictures. Can I ask the source? FV Henrietta, thanks for the update. Some of that stuff in the cabins most likely belonged to me at one time or another. I'd be happy if it stayed where it was.
    Bill Wechter was trying to save her. I wonder if he is still involved. I have inquired about our host doing an article about her but did not receive an enthusiastic response. Jim....
    I thought about you last night when I saw the post but could not find the web link for the forum anymore of the previous workers. Do you still have that link?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    One of my former business partners, Russel Woodin, designed her although I think he may have been working for Potter and McArthur at the time. I remember when I was VP at Woodin and Marean in the 80's someone called up and wanted him to come out an look at her for possible refit but he wouldn't fly on airplanes so nothing came of it.
    Roger Long

  6. #6
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Erster, I don't know of a Hero specific forum. Bill Spindler has a great Hero page here: http://www.palmerstation.com/hero/index.html
    There were a few forums for former Ice folks but most have died out.
    TerryLL, thanks.
    Roger, I see that the NSF states that the Hero was designed by Stanley Potter who was working for Gamage in Maine. I guess if he was working for Potter at the time that it could be his design. I don't know the ins and outs of the design business. Jim....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Erster, I just wanted to add this site. It has a lot of the former Deep Freeze folks as members. http://www.oaea.net/

  8. #8
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Thanks, thats the ones. I thought that the question would get a reply also from some of the members. But since then we see others closely involved with the ship too. Later

  9. #9
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceboy View Post
    I guess if he was working for Potter at the time that it could be his design. I don't know the ins and outs of the design business.
    Usually, the person with his name on the door gets the credit but it's often widely known who conceived the vessel, drew the plans, and did the calculations. See my funny story about this here:

    http://www.rogerlongboats.com/Cramer.htm
    Roger Long

  10. #10
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Roger, you look pretty good for being a dead man with another name. I get your point. Jim...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Wow, so many great responses!

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceboy View Post
    60 south, what is your connection to the Hero? I ask as I was the last radio operator on her.
    Hi Jim. I've been to Palmer Station quite a few times, starting from the mid-90's, but I missed the Hero era. (Drat! I think it might have been fun crossing the Drake on her.)

    I help Bill Spindler update his website whenever I can. We both lost track of the Hero last year and it's become sort of a detective game.

    g

  12. #12
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Thanks Glenn. Good to see another Ice person about. I dropped an email for Bill on the one-list letting him know we started a thread here. I started another thread about the Hero earlier this year. The consensus then is she was anchored out somewhere by Newport. The Drake was VERY interesting on board the Hero.

  13. #13
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    Exclamation Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Well, before this thread drops off the face of the earth, I have been contacted through PM by a young man who is the grandson of Captain Pieter Lenie. Captain Lenie was the last captain of the Hero. He stated that if they could locate the Hero, they would like to fly the good Captain to see her one more time. So if any of you folks in the Astoria/Newport area have any clues or sightings or even rumours, please forward them on to me either on this thread or PM. I think it would be a great Christmas present to reunite Captain Lenie with an old friend.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    A little drift here....but Rogers thread brought back some memories....
    I started Westlawn and YDI as fun and giggles things to keep me busy between flights...we were not supposed to leave the flight line when on standby status....
    I was not aware of how the "designers" handled the situation......and later, when I started drawing all the pretty pictures and doing all the work/calculations, I would see something published, and no credits, but the "design offices" name on it....it had a tendency to pi$$ me off, so I stopped drawing my boats for the said office..... I would be given the design brief and then go to it, and deliver the design....no one had ever explained the situation to me....my contributions included innovations in keel design....a couple of which today are referred to by the design offices names.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
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    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    ..my contributions included innovations in keel design..
    You invented the Scheel keel? Hot damn. I met the fellow who invented the air bag once. He never made a penny because he was working for one of the auto companies. Wouldn't you like .01 cent for every one of those puppies that ever came off the line?
    Roger Long

  16. #16
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Back to the R/V Hero......Having been down to Antarctica and spent time as MAster of a vessel performing Hero's old Role for Palmer Station I can say that I have been disappointed over the years with the lack of support for the Hero in her retirement years- I know, it's all about money and we can't save every vessel , I suppose, but I sure came away from Antarctica with respect (and awe) for anyone like you guys, Captain Lenie and all, who worked that area for what? 18 years? I think that he (and you, his crew) amassed more information and actually explored the place more than anyone else in history including the sealers from 1820's. I know he must have some incredible stories to tell from those days.
    There were times down there while supporting various projects afield that we "discovered" some places of our own: I was transporting a group of geologists around to islands in the S. Shetlands and to the MAinland Penninsula. We were looking for bedrock places to set up siesmic monitoring devices and services some of the units already in place. This took us from Elephant Island to Smith and down into the Gerlach Channel and Newmeyer. We were looking for a new place and the target was Low Island. It is named Low in contrast to the many nearby islands which are high mountains. Low Island has an ice dome. We surveyed the coast at a distance as these waters are very little surveyed. The land nearby tells you that likely underwater are the brothers and sister pinnacles of the ones you can see ashore. Around the north side we found a Cape (Cape Wallace coincidentally) and there appeared to be a bay in its lee. The Bay is protected on the W by the Cape Wallace and on the E by a glacial moraine which runs underwater. The bay was not shown on any chart and it became clear that likely ice had covered it (so it looked like land) every time a survey ship was near. We crept in with scanning sonar going and mapped a route in and surveyed a "box" for ourselves. We got the anchor down and were able to support the shore party setting up a station there. It was Christmas Eve and snowing. The glacial morraine to the E was protecting us in our anchorage from some "big ice" passing by outside. Next day we were able to enjoy a hearty Christmas dinner. Because the anchor was down we were able to enjoy some of that 10, year old ice in out drinks! Maybe because of that-By way of further celebration I brought my bicycle ashore and had a ride around C. Wallace -some surprised penguins! Since the place did not exist on any chart I have called the place Jason Harbor after my own son and the cove itself is naturally "Christmas Cove".
    I think you guys will appreciate my sentiment when I tell you how much I appreciate all the work and wonders you must have experienced in 18 years down there doing that.
    The only book I know which begins to describe the life there is Michael Parfit's "South Light". Another book, "Flying Over Ice" is about efforts to aerial survey the Penninsula area in early 1950' PBY's flying from base at Deception Island. It is the best book I know for understanding and describing the weather in that region and its volatility. Both good reads........ Best wishes/J Caird (Wallace)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Here's a portion of the Palmer Station website devoted to HERO.It answers none of the questions above but does give a bit more history for her and more pictures.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    on behalf of the Lenie familiy, I just want to take this moment to thank all of you out there that are doing what they can to help find the HERO. this really means a lot to me, as i am going to try to reunite her and my Grandpa Pieter. he doesn't know about this yet, and i'm quite sure that convincing him to come back aboard will prove to be a greater task than finding her in the first place. But i know that as long as we can find the ship, there's hope that he can stand on her decks once more....

    thanks again and Happy Holidays to all....
    Pieter Williams

  19. #19
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    I thought I had remembered seeing a similar vessel on my travels down the inter-coastal on the west side of Florida. I was convinced that I saw it, but alas it was a different vessel. I searched all through my albums, and finally found this picture. Although the wrong vessel the tender is a nice looking boat.


    Maybe the Hero is no longer green?



    Another picture of the real Hero:

    Marge: "You know, Homer, it's very easy to criticize."
    Homer: "Fun too."
    ---The Simpsons

  20. #20
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    Default Re: R/V Hero... Have you seen this boat?

    Hey, we have a sighting. Apparently Bill Wechter sold the Hero to someone in 2008, he towed her to the new owner in Bay Center, WA (on Willapa Bay, 40 miles north of Astoria, OR). Here's one photo which includes a couple of comments from me and Bill Wechter, if you scroll back through the photos you will see a couple more.

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15727525

    Anyone in that area? I'll try and contact the harbormaster...

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