PTF 5,6,7,10,11 & 12 and 19
PTF-19 sold and moved. Details here.
The above buyer of what is now determined to be PTF-19 has the following notes that Chip Marshall brings forth:
The boats are moved!
During two weeks in August, 2002 these PTFs were moved from their home on the sand for 15+ years to the new yard at Chesapeake Yachts:
05-06-03 Hi Dan,
(03/08/03) Gentlemen: I want to throw a couple of ideas out for discussion and comment concerning the remaining Nastys. First, we all know what boats were purchased by the Navy and where they served up to 1970 or so (Da Nang or San Diego). We also know that the boats built in Norway and Annapolis have engineering stations that readily identify where the boat was built. So, making the possibly dangerous assumption that the engineering stations were not moved from one boat to another during refits at Subic Bay, where a boat was built would be easily determined. The next fact is the practice at Da Nang to remove the boat numbers from the deck house (and elsewhere?) making the identity of an individual boat difficult for security purposes or if the remains of the boat were to fall into the hands of the enemy. Questions: 1) was there a positive means of boat identification in place at Da Nang or Subic Bay at any time during PTF operations in Viet Nam? 2) when the PTF operations were shut down at Da Nang and the boats taken to Subic Bay, how were the boats then identified? 3) How were the boats identified when they were returned to the US for reserve duty?
I suspect what we are going to find is that the boats were numbered based on whatever information was available to the organization responsible and accuracy was not important. If that is true, we would have to question whether or not the boats lost were actually those listed at lost.
One other question: how much control did the "real" Navy have over the Subic Bay repair operation? Was the operative expression "parts is parts" true? Do any of you out there have any first hand knowledge or access to first hand knowledge about the administrative practices of that operation?
Jim Thomas is right. Another trip to the Tidewater area to look at ALL the boats will be necessary to get this a little closer to right. In the meantime, all of you that are familiar with the nuts and boats of the PTFs should think real hard about the number of ways the Navy identifies vessels such as PTFs. I am up for another trip when the weather clears.
One additional comment about PTF-13. I am the one that found the small boat cards at the Naval Historical Center. I remember some attached correspondence between BuShips and the new owner and within BuShips regarding the problems of getting the boat registered. The biggest issue was PTF-13 was considered to be a foreign built warship by the US Coast Guard and would not register the vessel. Whether or not this is factually true is not the issue, but this was the problem the new owner set before the Navy. To assist the owner of PTF-13, BuShips concocted a document saying that the construction of PTF-13 had indeed been started in Norway and COMPLETED at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Pennsylvania, USA. That document was passed to the new owner to get the USCG off of dead center. What happened after that was not found anywhere in the files. George: is there anyway to determine the number of 80 foot hulls now or previously registered? Supposedly the new owner of PTF-13 put $250K into the boat before the USCG started giving him heartburn. With an investment like that in 1972 dollars, I would think the boat would be used for something. - Chip Marshall
Thanks for the reply, Dan. There's no question its hard to categorize the information, but I want to complement you on leaving it all as raw input and not trying to smooth it up--its still pure science so far, and if at some point we get new information, its still possible to go through all the unedited input and see how that affects the observations of the past. So I suggest not moving the Sea Scout data until more is known; Its present location portrays the uncertainty of our knowledge. Incidentally, whenever I meet a streetwise waterfronter in the Bay Area, I ask him about the PTF 13 situation, and nobody has any memory of her. Perhaps San Francisco wasn't her actual locale. But I'm trying, yway... -George
George, Maybe I can help with the Great Bridge boats! The numbers painted on the hulls are wrong because the 10 boat as numbered there is a Trumpy hull as well as the Five hull there was Four Nasty hulls and three Trumpy hulls there. The Seven Boat was there because found tags on the fuel tanks and PTF 7 stamped into the Port Generator foundation, sent Dan the Tag that I removed from a fuel tank. Also there was a hull with 18 painted on the intake screen and supposedly the 18 is setting on a barge at Newport News!! I was there in May of 2002 with Chip Marshall and others. Thanks, Jim Thomas
Dan, a friend on the East Coast recently sent me some interesting observations about the PTF's at Great Bridge. He recalls seeing 7 of them there, and I don't recall anybody reporting that many at any one time. Also, he recorded seeing PTF 5 and PTF 10 there on repeated occasions; PTF 10 is the one that was sold to UK buyers, and I don't believe she's been identified since.
Here's what he wrote: ...... As for the PTFs at Great Bridge,Va. I have gone back to my notes and its an ugly story. On my first visit to that spot in Aug.1995 I wrote in my notes SIX patrol vessels in the weeds PTF 10 and PTF 5 readable. In May 1996 took a better look and my notes say SEVEN hulls....PTF's 5, 10 and MAYBE 11 and 3. June of 1996 I got to scope out the grounds from a tug wheelhouse and recorded SEVEN hulls. Last time I was up there was Sept .1998 and I wrote SEVEN hulls including 5 &10. I don't know what to make of this. Frequently these trips involve high speed boats, sleep deprivation and alcohol but at least a couple of the notes were clean and sober with good weather and when on the MISS LORI and CEDONIA CROSBY... good height advantage. The Newport News PTF was down there in those days so she was not in the mix. I gotta check it out this year when I get to Va. _____
I'm trying to follow the progress on the Sea Scout Boat, definitely PTF 19, then definitely PTF 7, now probably PTF 3. This is great! -George.
The plot sickens. I note that under the PTF 3 notes, James on 05-05-02 notes the boat marked PTF 10, but not only that he knew of her scuttling, but the boat was a Trumpy style. Any chance a Trumpy was renumbered PTF 10 to cover the escapade of the scuttling while still in government hands? An expert needs to see if there are photos of PTF 10 dated later than the scuttling incident to see if the one shown is a Trumpy. I have two photos identified as PTF 10 passed along from Ted Stone. They're unmarked for date or location, but were probably taken by Ted and therefore stateside. One shows her in service, with PTF 10 on her bridge. The other shows her ashore and out of service with that number not in evidence. Both views show starboard sides and bridgefronts. Any way to check them for details of who built them? I note that 3 of the boats at Great Bridge were identified as Trumpys. If the supposed-18 at Newport News is also visibly a Trumpy, that's more Trumpy's than there are available. Is there some chance the Navy did some other number-swapping that has caused this confusion? That would put a whole new light on the problems encountered by the purchaser of the PTF 13! -George.
Here is part of the latest General
(These images are very large)
I went by Chesapeake Yachts on Sunday and saw the boats. I am sending you eleven pictures. The fresh paint in my option must have been old paint when they painted it on. They have been painted but not this year. There are lots of holes and damage to all the boats none are ready for any engines to be dropped in. - Randy Bryant (email@example.com)
In Nov. I was in Virginia. and the ptf's were at a boat yard. They had been patched with plywood and a quick paint job, gray of course. Enjoy the photos. From a true ptf owner to be. Gary. Sheryl M [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Hello again, Jim The following should lead you from your home to the Boats:
Travel North on I-95 to Emporia VA. From the 2nd exit for Emporia, VA follow RT 58 East to Suffolk, VA. Watch your speed as you leave Emporia, VA and travel to Suffolk, Va on RT 58.
At Suffolk, VA., as you continue to the East, RT58 is triple posted with RT 13 and RT 460. Follow the Suffolk Bypass signs and continue East. As you leave the Suffolk area on RT's 58/13/460 you will be traveling through a wooded swampy area. The road at that point should be 3 lanes in each direction. You should pass a truck weighing station, both sides of the road and a general aviation airport on your left. You will be approaching I-664 at Bowers Hill. Travel on I-664 East for a short distance, moving to your right to pickup I-64 West to VA Beach. You will have to look at a map of the Tidewater VA area to understand why it is I-64 West while you are traveling East. On I-64 West continue past the RT17 exit. You will be approaching the twin High Rise Draw Bridges. As you approach the bridges look to your right and you will see a beautiful sight. The 7 Boats fill over half of the left side of the Blue Water Yachts boat yard. Be Careful! Don't wreck you car !
Leaving the bridge behind continue East on I-64 West, look for the lead-off road to the I-464 North and RT104 South (Dominion Blvd) exit. Take Dominion Blvd(rt104) South through the first traffic light, over a small drawbridge to the next traffic light. This should be Cedar Road. Take a right. Travel on Cedar Road and look for Deer Crossing Road on the right, then Popular Hill Rd on the right, and then MILLVILLE ROAD. Take a right. Stay on Millville until it ends at SHIPYARD ROAD. Take a left and look for the entrance and sign for Blue Water Yachts on your right. YOU ARE THERE! - Dennis
(10/20/02) Notes passed along to regular readers about the state of the boats.
I had a good phone conversation with Mr. Bill Norton (owner of the boats at General Propulsion, Palm Springs CA at 800-966-1212) today. The notes below are ramblings from my note pad as we talked.
When asked what the boats weighed he said, 60 tons with engines 45 tons w/o engines. The lifting fixture weighed 15tons by itself.
They are at a new yard called Chesapeake Yachts near by. He had a 150 ton crane lift them each onto small barges 22’ wide. That was narrow enough for the travel lift to get in and pick them up. The first boat took 3 days to get on the barge, then they did 3 per day after it was figured out. He has some photos of the operation, and said he would let me put them on the web, but I never got him committed to getting them to me.
One boat had 130 gallons of fuel in the bottom where someone had diddled with the day tank, so he had to get a commercial fuel pumping service in to pump that out.
I guess the place was crawling with mosquitoes. He had about 100 bites, but didn’t get West Nile.
One boat is missing shaft and prop. He has 8 props in storage. He found one extra engine somewhere, so there are 9 engines back there and 6-7 in Palm Springs. The 3 Deltics that went to Miami for the ferry boat were sold for $59K each. They are still sitting there because the guy that purchased them got sick. (After paying that much and figuring out what he got?)
He wants $20K for boats without engines and ~ $50K+ for boats with engines. Someone from the Navy has been talking to him about the possibility of putting them back in service. They are all setting in a row at the above marina. All are painted new gray and looking good. He thought that most of the hulls were in very good shape and some rub rail wood might have to be replaced. (I remember the plywood main decks being crap.) The last issue of “Boats and Harbors” has a ˝ page ad with new photos and an ad will be in Marine News coming soon. That’s the summary. - Dan Withers
(10-17-02) Hi Dan,
I found these pictures and I think they are of the PTF's that were in Chesapeake, WA (Great Bridge area) and are now at the Chesapeake Yachts (Deep Creek Area). The Owners name (CY) is Jack Stephens @ 757-487-9100 or email@example.com .
(08-01-02) I was in the Marine Corps ( I Corp 1967 to 1969) and I really appreciated the Navy guys that ran into Qua Viet to re-supply us. I also love PT boats so once I found your web page I had to go see the boats in Great Bridge. I was there today and after a few false starts found them. The local were very helpful but there was a lot of inaccurate information. I took the attached photos and I hope that they help promote what you are doing. I didn't have alot of time on site but I took these 7 shots. The boats are in terrible shape and I would guess that in a couple years will be to far gone. One of the locals told me that a female marine (Sgt Major) had purchased one recently. I counted 7 sitting there there but couldn't remember if there were more than that there. Do you know who has the title to the boats? The locals for the most part do not know.
I spoke to someone at the Tug operation on the opposite side of the creek and he told me the person was in California but thought that he had recently moved. I could be interested in one if the price was right but didn't have any idea on how to find the owner. If you know let me know (thanks). If you need anything else I will be happy to go back and shoot more digital photos, etc. Thanks, - Roger Henry, Charlotte, NC.
A work party went to visit the boats in May, 2002 with a goal to identify the actual boat numbers. They left with the following conclusions (confusions).
05-05-02 Dan - The facts are we are not sure as to what boats are on the beach at Great Bridge, VA, or what boat is on the barge at Newport News, VA and what boat is in Florida. There are four Nasty class and three Trumpy boats beached. Looking at the sterns right to left Nasty Number Five, next is a Trumpy marked as the 10 boat (NO WAY is it the Nasty Class 10 boat, she was lost in Viet Nam). Next is the Nasty SIX Boat and besides on the left is PTF Nasty Class Seven Boat (found tags on the fuel tanks marked PTF Seven,) with the Bull Nose missing, and I have one of the tags. Going out of the hole cut in the hull by the Port Generator foundation I saw the frame had been stamped PTF 7. Next boat is a Nasty Class Number unknown because we couldn't get aboard those three boats, but the other two are Trumpy class. The next to the last Trumpy painted on the air intake screen is PTF 18 but we have been told that the 18 boat is on the barge in Newport News, Va. Also I could tell Nasty from Trumpys by the Draft Marking on the Bow sections and if you know what to look for by the Pilot houses the way that they are shaped. You can check with Chip as these things were pointed out. It was a very weird and eerie feeling to actually see and lay hands on Boats and machinery that I had worked on, trained Vietnamese on and rode into Harms Way 38 years ago as a young Sailor whom at the time didn't know Fear or what to fear, but had a job to and do as I was told to do. - James
To read another opinion about these boats read George Schneiders remarks.
I visited these craft in October 2000. Checkout the complete collection of photos of PTFs at Great Bridge in the Grand Gallery.
Many of you have seen the early photos on the web of the seven PTFs sitting on the ground at Great Bridge, VA. Here is a collection of photos taken by other fans.. There are enough overhauled Deltic engines to get 4 more going.
01/30/02 - More accurate information has come to light. Documents now show that what we thought was PTF-19 in Ft Lauderdale was in fact PTF-7. So now I have to sort out this whole thing. So PTF-17 must be one of these hulls.