The Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 just arrived in San Diego, completing its Swift Pacific Adventure down the Pacific coast from Seattle, but not without a hiccup – or more precisely, a run-in with a submerged log – that caused some delay.
The Swift Trawler left Seattle in early May and headed up Puget Sound, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into the Pacific. All was well for the first few days, even when running through 12-14 foot rollers on the nose, until the boat headed into Newport, Oregon, for a crew change. The original plan was to refuel and perhaps spend the night there, but Capt. Jackson Willett decided to have just a touch-and-go stop before heading down to Coos Bay to beat a bad weather forecast.
Then, as he recorded in his log, “As with all offshore passages, the best-laid plans are consistently subject to change.” At 1424 hours, about five miles offshore, the boat was running at 18.9 knots and hit a submerged log. Willett wrote, “After an initial assessment, it was determined the integrity of the hull was uncompromised, but significant vibration indicated the vessel had sustained damage to the port prop.” The boat would have to limp across the treacherous Coos Bay bar on one prop.
At that time, it was 90 minutes until slack tide at Coos Bay. The Swift Trawler would have to average 11 knots on one engine to cross the bar before it would be closed to traffic. Willett called the Coast Guard station in Coos Bay with a Securité warning, saying he intended to cross the bar.
“The Swift Trawler 47 put her head down and powered toward the entrance,” he wrote. “Swift Trawler 47 crossed the bar in the early stages of an ebb tide with her bow steady on the range markers, despite a six-foot swell on the beam.”
They then had to wait two days before the boat could be pulled to inspect the damage, and then another week for a prop to be flown in from France. After the repair and refueling, the Swift Trawler cruised 400 miles down to San Francisco, arriving with a 25 percent fuel reserve, giving solid testimony to the fuel efficiency of the Beneteau’s hull and its twin 425-hp Cummins diesels.
After that, the Swift Trawler 47 continued down the coast, with stops in Monterey, Marina del Rey, and Catalina (see the picture above), before arriving in San Diego on May 28.