Waterfront: Fire Destroys Classic Wooden Tugboat

Fire destroyed the classic wooden tugboat, William B.

Fire destroyed the classic wooden tugboat, William B.

Over the years there have been many fires aboard locally berthed yachts, and I always find it very sad when the yachts are one-of-a-kind or owned by noteworthy users.

Frank Sinatra’s yacht, Christina, named after his daughter, off and on berthed at the Bay Club, and a Linda Isle resident’s 82-foot custom Solar Wind built by Peter Rothschild, are two that come to mind.

Tugboat William B, under salvage by Muldoons Diving out of Long Beach, is a very sad addition. For 30 years owner Gary Hill has painstakingly had a hired hand work 40 hours a week to maintain and restore the former Columbia River lumber barge work horse.

The 60-plus year old gem appeared on the outside to be in pristine condition. It reminded me of our 38-foot family tugboat built in 1906 at Fellows and Stewart in L.A. Harbor. The Walrus was the South Shore Shipyard tug for 40 years (or so) until closing and formerly a commercial fishing vessel.

My Dad and older brother restored her at Goat Hill Shipyard adjacent to Pomona and 16th Street and the building is still standing but a much different entity. Like the William B, she was also berthed on a Newport Harbor Yacht Club mooring and in better than new condition.

Our hearts go out to the Hill family who have operated a Newport Harbor business and boated in the community they live in for the last 65-plus years.


Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve

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