Tugs aren't the only stars

‘Deadliest Catch’ crew member to appear at this weekend’s event at Percival Landing in Olympia

Contributing writerAugust 30, 2013 

Tugs aren’t the only stars Harbor Days is all about tradition.

The 40th annual festival, beginning Friday, celebrates Puget Sound’s maritime history and the tugboats that hauled heavy loads long before the advent of the tractor-trailer.

This year, though, the festival also has a decidedly nontraditional feature: a guest appearance by a reality-TV star.

Lenny Lekanoff of the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” will sign autographs and chat with fans aboard the Galene, this year’s logo tug.

The Galene, built in 1943, is one of an expected 18 tugs that will gather this weekend.

Fittingly enough, Galene owners Skip and Marty Suttmeier of Kirkland were boating when they met Lekanoff.

“We were out on our skiff one day,” Skip Suttmeier said. “Our granddaughter saw the Wizard, and she had to go and touch it and get a picture.”

Lekanoff is an engineer on the Wizard, one of the fishing boats featured on the documentary series about the dangers and dramas of fishing for crab in the Bering Sea. He might bring other cast members along this weekend, too, event organizer Shelly Lively said.

There’ll be another special guest aboard the Galene this weekend: 90-year-old Stan Wood, who was on the tugboat’s crew in the 1940s and is flying in from Maine to climb aboard once more.

“He found the boat online and got a hold of us,” Suttmeier said. “We’ve been swapping stories. It’s been probably 68 years since he’s been on it.”

The Galene, which was originally a military tug, will participate in Sunday’s race. It won at Harbor Days last year and at this year’s Seattle Maritime Festival.

Although the race can’t be seen from the landing, Mixx-96.1-FM broadcasts live updates, and the steamship Virginia V offers a close view for those who want to pay for it.

The races proceed at a pace that might best be described as stately.

“Have you ever seen those cartoons where the snails are racing across the finish line?” Lively said. “It’s kind of like that.”

The event also offers entertainment, and children’s activities including model tugboats, a giant set of interlocking building blocks and inflatable “hamster balls” that let kids walk on water.

Harbor Days

What: The 40th annual celebration of South Sound’s maritime history this year features an appearance by Lenny Lekanoff of the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” plus tugboat races, children’s activities and entertainment.

When: From 5-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Percival Landing and Port Plaza, downtown Olympia

Cost: Free

More information: harbordays.com

Take to the water

What: The steamship Virginia V is back and will offer rides as well as tours.

When: Ride from Elliott Bay Marina in Seattle to Olympia at 11 a.m. Friday; hour-long cruises at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday; and a cruise to view the tugboat races at 11:30 a.m. Sunday

Where: Departing from Percival Landing

Tickets: $10 for hour-long cruises, $30 for the view of the races, $40 for the ride from Seattle to Olympia. Children ages 5-10 ride for half price and those younger than 5 ride free.

More information: 206-624-9119, virginiav.org/events HARBOR DAYS Schedule


5-7 p.m. – Fisher Poets


Noon – Slow Roller

2 p.m. – Bevy

4 p.m. – Bevy


11 a.m. – Olympia Highlanders

Noon – Tugboats depart for the races

11:30 a.m. – Piper Stockhill

1 p.m. – Tugboat races begin; updates will be broadcast on Mixx 96.1-FM

2 p.m. – Hitchkick

3:45 p.m. – Convergence Zone Bluegrass

5 p.m. – Awards

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