Rescue of the Grampa Woo

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johnhens
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Rescue of the Grampa Woo

Post by johnhens » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:23 am

This is the true story of the Grampa Woo, a vessel which after breaking free from its dock site in Grand Portage eventually runs aground on Passage Island. This happened in 1996.
More on the story:
http://www.lakesuperior.com/online/191/191jrnl.html

http://www.lakesuperior.com/online/193/193jrnl.html


rudemark
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Re: Rescue of the Grampa Woo

Post by rudemark » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:08 am

Interesting that Jim Marshalls article on the Grampa Woo should resurface after 14 years. Jim, bless his soul and memory, was not only the publisher of Lake Superior magazine,but a very capable and experienced navigator and boat operator on Lake Superior. That being said, it would appear that he may have been provided some misleading and/or incomplete information regarding Kollars and the Grampa Woo. To clarify one point, Grampa Woo I was not Kollars' first Isle Royale charter vessel; it was preceeded by a 28 foot "Mako" powered by two high horsepower outboards in which Kollars conducted fishing charters, and in which a lady passengers ankle was broken traversing the waters between Isle Royale and Grand Portage in rough waters at relatively high speed. Kollars second IR charter boat was the Grampa Woo I, a 42 foot converted aluminum crew boat. This boat was assisted to shore in Thunder Bay, hauled out of the water, and hull repairs made after grounding on an "uncharted underwater obstruction" according to Kollars. Enter Grampa Woo II, the 110 foot converted crew boat. Regarding the mooring "anchor; it is described in Jims article as being an 8 by 12 by 8 foot iron bar. This should not be interpreted as 8foot x 12foot x 8foot, rather 8inch by 12inch by 8foot which does approximate the size of the "anchor". If one does the math based on these dimensions the weight would be about 2466 lbs. Regardless of actual dimensions, the iron block was transported to Grand Portage in the bed of a pickup truck {a Dodge Dakota if i remember right}. The pickup was parked on the dock next to the bow of the boat, the bow ballast tanks flooded, lines attached to the block and made fast to the bow mooring cleats, the ballast tanks pumped thus raising the block thus raising block from the pickup bed then transported to the mooring site hanging from the bow, then lowered to the bottom when on site. The mooring site was on the Northeast side of Grand Portage Island and in order to keep out of normal navigation lanes had to be placed relatively close to shore thereby preventing having enough scope on the mooring line to be effective in the high Northwest winds commonly ocurring in the area in late October. Now for some speculation; Why did Kollars return to Portage from IR on his last charter of that season at a very "leisurly" speed instead of his normal cruising speed? Why did Kollars, after unloading his charter, then back the boat into the rocks and gravel at the dock, then proceed to the mooring site, according to the then Captain of the Voyager II? Why would some one remove all 3 of the propellors thus incapaciting the boat at that time of the year given mooring conditions and probability of strong NW winds? Why did the USCG not contact the diver who actually removed the props to inquire as to their condition, during their investigation of the incident? After attaching the tow line to the Woo, why did Kollars and Sivill refuse to board the McCarthy as suggested by the McCarthy Captain? {Video shot by crew of the McCarthy shows the Woo bobbing rather gently along the lee side and transfer to the McCarthy could have been easily made}
As reported in articles regarding the rescue of Kollars and Sivill, the bravery and skill of Gerry Dawson and crew turned what could have been a tragedy into a short lived but interesting wreck and dive site at Passage Island. The whole incident should never have happened, but alls well that ends well I guess.
MR


tripplelindy
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Re: Rescue of the Grampa Woo

Post by tripplelindy » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:07 am

Well said.

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