Galene’s still first to finish in Olympia

Staff writerSeptember 2, 2013 

Galene, a more than 100-foot tug, won its third consecutive large tug race Sunday, capping a weekend of activities tied to the 40th annual Harbor Days, a celebration of tugs at Percival Landing in Olympia.

Galene recently has dominated the 1.8-mile race, and had periodically won before that streak, harbor master Bob Peck said.

Peck said a new tug has to challenge Galene for dominance — perhaps the former Navy auxiliary tug Comanche — “and then we’ll see what the world is made of,” he said.

While the tugs raced on Budd Inlet, Comanche remained moored at Percival Landing, entertaining visitors with tours of a tug that originally was built for the Navy in 1944.

The 143-foot tug today is owned by the Comanche 202 Foundation, a Tacoma nonprofit that uses the boat for educational opportunities, as well as a place where at-risk youth can volunteer their time and help with ongoing renovations, said Joe Peterson, director of operations.

The tug’s home port is Bremerton, although it also has spent time in Tacoma and Olympia, where it tied up at the Port of Olympia’s marine terminal until an increase in shipping traffic forced it to move, Peterson said. Comanche was built for the Navy, and was one of several tugs that towed damaged ships around the South Pacific during World War II.

Comanche participated in the Battle of Okinawa, and was set to participate in Operation Downfall, the planned land invasion of Japan, Peterson said.

After its wartime stint, the boat chiefly was used by the Coast Guard until it eventually fell into the hands of private owners.

One of its last commercial jobs was towing vintage airplanes from San Diego to Hawaii for the movie “Pearl Harbor,” Skipper Marty Jackson said.

Meanwhile, a tug-like craft also was part of the festivities, tied up among the 20 or so tugs gathered at Percival Landing.

Although Snoose, a Scandinavian term for chewing tobacco, sort of looks like a tug, it actually is a former salmon troller converted for private use, co-owner Ron Lloyd of Ballard said.

“The boat is perfectly capable of going anywhere,” he said, adding that he usually cruises the waters of Puget Sound.

Lloyd, who has co-owned the boat for about 12 years, said it was his second time participating in Harbor Days.

He praised the event, saying he was impressed with the amount of support it receives, including from sponsors.

“I’m amazed at what they provided for us,” he said, referencing a dinner earlier in the weekend for those involved in the event.

Race results for Harbor Days

Large tugs

First: Galene, 10:23

Second: Danielle, 10:29

Third: R.W. Confer, did not finish

Medium-size tugs

First: Port Susan, 10:38

Second: Parthia, 11:08

Third: Reliable, 11:39

Fourth: Thea Belle, 15:42

Small tugs

First: Mary Anne, 11:13

Second: Sandman, 11:47

Third: Joe, 13:04

Fourth: Atka, 13:40

Source: Bob Peck

Rolf Boone rboone@theolympian.com 360-754-5403

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