Newport Beach Magazine December 2010 : Page 71

GARY HILL “Tugboats are known as the workhorse of the water—mighty boats that muscle large ships in and out of ports or tow a string of barges.” smaller lightener that delivers fuel to yachts around the harbor. Gary met Sandi, his wife of 34 years, when he was filling her boat’s outboard engine with gasoline. The couple has three children—Casey, 28, Morgan, 25, and Carson, 22—two of whom can skipper the William B on their own. Additionally, Carson holds a 100-ton USCG Master’s License with a tanker man endorsement. “They have all enjoyed the tug from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez,” Gary says. “We have done some nice surf trips from the backside of Santa Rosa to the ranch at Point Conception to Scorpion Bay, Baja, and to the east end of Cabo San Lucas.” Growing up Newport Bay, Gary skippered boats before he had his driver’s license, and he spent a lot of time on Shark Island— now Linda Isle—with a couple of other Newport locals, including Duffy Duffield of Duffy Boats and Mark Hillgren, owner of the Juno, a yacht. Those were the days when water skiing in the Back Bay was allowed, and after school Gary would visit his father at the fuel dock from his childhood home in Bayshores aboard his 10-foot boat with an old three-horse Johnson outboard. Back from the Dead The William B is a traditional looking tug with a wooden hull that is planked with Douglas Fir resting on cedar frames. The 77-foot tug was originally built by Puget Sound Bridge & Dredge Company in Seattle for the United States Navy in 1943. Her wooden hull has a beam of 21 feet with a 10.5-foot draft, weighing in at 160 tons. The Foss Tug Company owned the tug from 1963 though 1974, after which several independent tug operators held title until her demise on the Columbia River. Gary maintains the originality of the tugboat, even while it is being used by his family as a recreational yacht traveling from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez. The galley is very similar to day one, with an original refrigerator and freezer built for Navy, and the equipment still works great today. He did replace the diesel oven with a propane unit, but stepping into the galley takes one back in time. However, the electronics onboard were not on the drawing boards yet when the tug’s keel was first laid. The bridge now includes Two VHF marine band radios, a Garmin Global Positioning System NEWPORT BEACH MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2010 71

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