Saturday, May 9, 2015 was an absolutely beautiful day for a top-down drive in our Thunderbirds. Nine Thunderbirds (seven sans top), plus 4 or 5 family cars along with about 20 club members toured PT658 on the Swan Island Lagoon. This boat was built too late in 1945 to see action during WWII but it had fallen into a state of terrible condition when the local group of former PT Boaters took possession of it and began the restoration. Currently it is the one and only PT Boat in the world that is operational. It will be seeing duty next month escorting the Rose Festival Fleet up the Columbia and Williamette Rivers to Portland.
PT 658 is afloat in a covered boat house so it was very difficult to get good photos of the boat. The photos below were about the best I could do.
Club VP Bob Monroe made arrangements for our tour with his friend Bob Alton who is the PT Boat association President. As you can tell we were allowed to go any where on the boat. Roger Kelley is shown finishing up some paper work in one of the most important rooms on board. PT Boats were powered by three 2500 cubic inch Packard V12 engines. I don't remember the exact numbers but these things enormous amounts of fuel, about 500 gallons per hour at full speed. And those engines were designed for aviation fuel. So the association has to shop for fuel at airports and bring it to the boat.
We also toured LCI 713. LCI stands for Landing Craft Infantry. This boat did see action in the South Pacific during WW11. LCI 713 is not as far along in its restoration as PT 658 but touring it was still very informative.
Take close look at the "10 Man Balsa Life Raft" above. First the crew was about 12 to 15 and the only life raft was for 10. But look at the size of it. Maybe 2 could sit in it. But there was no bottom to the "raft". Instead it had a net that allowed the men to stand in it. Even then I think 6 would fill it; so if 10 got in it they would be in very close quarters.