Monday, September 26, 2016

Open House at American Tugs - June 4 & 5

American Tug Factory Tours & Open Docks

Saturday - October 1st 

from 10am – 4pm

AT Fall 06 Open House 004

Come and take a tour & see our quality build.  Made in America!

When: This Saturday – October 1st – from 10am till 4pm
  At American Tugs – 800 S Pearle Jensen Way, La Conner, WA  98257
At the north basin of the La Conner Marina.  Come around the back to the large doors.
What:  Factory tours, open house, Q&A, open boats, see the build process.
See:  – On the shop floor we have several boats under construction
– See how we laminate the hulls, install mechanical components & wiring, build out the interiors, see the fine finish joinery and add the highest quality hardware.
On Trawler-row:    Our docks are full.  Come and see the brokerage boats and pre-owned American Tugs.
Map to American Tug


Monday, September 12, 2016

American Tug Trivia - Home Edition!

At the recent American Tug Rendezvous we had a trivia contest.  See how well you can do?

Download a pdf of the quiz here:

Send me your answers and I will score it for you.  This is a "closed book" test... no internet assistance!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New Listing: 2009 American Tug 34

2009 American Tug 34 #126       Spica        $339,500

Equipped with the most popular factory options and a Furuno navigation package with open-array radar, Icom VHF and Icom 802 SSB radios. Midnight Blue hull with a tasteful Papyrus Ultraleather interior. Cummins 380HP electronic common rail engine with just 1,115-hours, 6kw Northern Lights genset,  full height windows in pilothouse doors, bow thruster, dual Racor filters, Magnum Energy power inverter.

She has an AB aluminum hulled inflatable mounted with a Lehr 5-hp propane powered engine.  Dinghy is hung from an American Tug factory stainless stern davit.

Full information on Spica is here.

Hull #126 was built with many of the enhancements that we included in the 365 including the sliding side doors with longer stainless side rails, interior doors with milled arched top doorways, larger aft lazarette locker.  We included the Hurricane II diesel fired hydronic furnace with zone heat and independent thermostats in the salon and master stateroom.

This is a very well maintained low-hour boat with the best options!  Hurry as she will sell fast.  Call Steve or Gerry and arrange a private tour.  360-466-2961 or

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sherwood Impeller installation tool

The pro's use it!

Sherwood Pumps has been innovating marine products since 1903.  Before making cars, David Buick and his partners made marine castings and pumps.

The impeller installation tool makes installing a raw water impeller an easy task.  Just screw the threads into the impeller, driving it off its axle, then give her a tug.

Available at Fisheries Supply.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

American Tugs at TrawlerFest Anacortes

TrawlerFest Anacortes      May  19-21, 2016    Thurs-Sat     Cap Sante Marina
Come see the American Tugs at TrawlerFest Anacortes.

2011 American Tug 41   Boy O Boy    &   2006 American Tug 34   My Sharona
Boy O Boy

2011 American Tug 41 #43    
Boy O Boy      Now Reduced  $599,500
Capable American Tug 41 with all the best factory options.  Navy blue hull with a gorgeous neutral colored interior featuring dual “Stressless loungers”.  Cummins QSC-500 engine sips just 3-gph at 7.75-knot cruise, yet can wake up and deliver 12-15 knots when needed to safely navigate the Inside Passage.  Well kept and ready to cruise.  Dual display Garmin navigation suite with autopilot.  Air conditioned for your comfort.  Upper deck crane with Mercury inflatable & 15-hp Mercury.  See her at TrawlerFest Anacortes.

AT34-98  7-2015 (18)

2006 American Tug 34 #98    
My Sharona      Now Sold!

British Racing Green beauty.  Cummins QSB-425 powered.  Fitted with solar panels, wind generator, Rocna anchor & watermaker for prolonged “off the grid” wilderness cruising.  You will still be comfortable with satellite television and a gorgeous American Tug interior.  Upper deck crane, Achilles dinghy with Yamaha 20.  Excellent maintenance.  See her at TrawlerFest Anacortes.
Come say hello and see the American Tugs at TrawlerFest Anacortes 2016.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Suncor Stainless Ratchet Straps

Secure your dinghy with Suncor stainless ratchet straps

We regularly see dinghies secured to decks or davits with a variety of tie-down methods, some are tidy and solid, others maybe a bit more "freestyle" in their technique.  It is important to keep the dinghy held firmly so that it stays in place in rougher sea conditions.

I have always liked to use ratchet straps when securing a load in my truck or on a trailer, but these are generally made of mild steel and susceptible to rust in the marine environment.  Suncor to the rescue!

They have a full line of stainless ratchet straps in 1-inch, 1.5 & 2-inch widths and a variety of lengths.

Sold by Fisheries Supply:  Click here.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sold Boat: 2008 AT 41 Flybridge

2008 American Tug 41 Flybridge #36    Lulu Maru         now  Sold!
 Gorgeous boat - Ready for your next family vacation
The flybridge is a great entertaining area, private, comfortable, with extended sightlines…and you can drive from it too!  Lulu Maru was built by an experienced yachtsman and he chose wisely; articulated hinged stainless radar mast allows her to be kept in covered moorage, bow & stern thrusters, Village Marine watermaker, Steelhead ES-1000 4-axis crane, Buell air horns, Dual display Raymarine nav suite.

Teak interior joinery with gorgeous Ultraleather upholstery. 

Shows like a new boat.  Complete maintenance history.   Kept in covered moorage in Edmonds, now on Trawler Row in La Conner.  Price just reduced - hurry!  Call Steve at 206-930-6139

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Delivering an American Tug 365 to Astoria

An early season coastal delivery from La Conner to Astoria - 269 miles

The Rainbow Bridge in La Conner, WA at first light
When the weather window opens, early season coastal deliveries can be safe and fun.  Last fall I sold the American Tug 365 "Lilly", now renamed "Oh Buoy", and offered to help her new owners cruise her down the Washington Coast to her new home on the Columbia River in Oregon.  This is a fun three-day trip of 269-miles that includes 140-miles on the Washington Coast, but does require good weather, a safe sea state, and cooperative tides at the river bars.

Approaching the Deception Pass Bridge - Very little current this AM

The Washington Coast can be very rough in the winter months.  When we looked at the conditions last October the ocean swell was a large 17-feet!  It was agreed the new owners would enjoy the San Juan Islands and the comforts of La Conner over the winter and we would wait for proper conditions in the spring.  I figured late April, but the last few days of March provided a fantastic window; best I have ever experienced.

Deception Pass at Sunrise

On Monday I received an email from Bryce, the Owner of "Oh Buoy", he said the weather was looking good.  I looked at the Marine Weather app on my phone and clicked on the coastal forecasts for the week...Wow!  0-10 knot northerly winds and 2-4 foot swells and 14-second period on the coast, that is smooth.  I then clicked on the Straits of Juan de Fuca; 0-10 knot easterly winds.  I then looked up the tides and currents, hoping to find an ebb out the Straits in the afternoon...Bingo!    The final research was the tide cycle at Westport, WA and the Columbia River Bar Entrance, this time I wanted flood tides in the afternoon to enter the bars safely...Yahtzee!

The Straits and Olympic Mountains from north Whidbey Island

What this predicted weather meant:

Ebb tides on the Straits mean the current is moving west along with us, giving us good efficiency.

Easterly wind on the Straits travelling with the ebbing tide will lay the waves flat, so we have smooth water heading west towards the Pacific.  Low wind velocity means very little waves at all.   When the current and wind oppose each other the waves will stand up and become nasty.

A northerly wind along the coast means the waves will be going with us towards the south.  I generally have experienced a slight current moving south along the Washington Coast in spring and summer.  Again this would give us smoother water.  The low swell (2-4) with long period (14-seconds) also is very favorable and allows for easy travel.

I prefer to leave at first light if I am planning to lay down very many miles.  In the afternoon the land form heats and causes the cooler ocean air to be drawn in to shore, this onshore flow creates afternoon winds that will increase the waves and sea state; getting going early provides calmer waters.

The flood tides in the afternoon allow for a safe and timely bar crossing.  We want to enter the Grays Harbor (Westport, WA) bar and Columbia River bars on a flood tide.  The ebb can be extremely rough as the water pouring out the river slams into the westerly ocean swells, standing up the waves and making it potentially dangerous, running with the flood is much more comfortable and safer.  I want these preferable conditions in the afternoon as this is when I will make the crossings after a day of running down the coast.

This was a perfect forecast for our intended trip, we decided to leave on Wednesday morning at first light.  Game on!

Race Rocks and the Olympics - just beyond Victoria, BC
Rick, the owner of an American Tug 395 agreed to join us on the trip.  He is a retired Air Force pilot and fun to be with.  I figured some good stories might be told.  Our crew is Bryce, Rick and myself for this adventure.

With only a day of advance notice of the trip, Cindy helped out and provisioned the boat with breakfasts and lunches, ginger snaps and some fruit.  Thanks Cindy.   I checked  NOAA weather frequently looking for a change in the forecasts, and the weather window just got better as a large "high" was sitting over the region.   We also inspected the boat and equipment and made sure she was ready for the Pacific Ocean; nice boat, good equipment and very well kept...Check!

Day One:  La Conner to Neah Bay - 92-miles

March 30th at 6:25AM:  Engine fired up, shore power off, gear stowed.

March 30th at 6:33AM:  Fenders up and under way.

March 30th at 7:54AM: Headed under the Deception Pass Bridge, only a couple of knots current against us (1.8 foot of tide rise on this small cycle).

Noon:  Passed through Race Rocks outside Victoria, BC with the current in smooth water and unlimited visibility.

USCG doing their job

March 30th at 5PM:  Oh Buoy arrived at Neah Bay and was greeted by the USCG and offered a non-voluntary safety inspection.   The Coast Guard was very professional and we had all the required gear.

Neah Bay and the Makah Tribe offer a very safe all season port, strong docks and it is always interesting to walk around their community.  We ate at Linda's Wood Fired Kitchen and enjoyed the smoked salmon pizza.  We double checked the marine forecasts and triple checked the tides at the river bars, all good.

Rick named this the "Garmoose radar reflector"

Day Two:  Neah Bay to Westport, WA  -  102-miles

March 31st at 5AM:  Alarm went off but it was just too dark to head out.  No help from the moon.

March 31st at 5:45AM:  Engine inspected and fired up.  Rigged for silent running (gear stowed...)

Capt. Bryce at first light

March 31st at 5:59AM:  We left the dock.  Headed for Tatoosh Island and the Red Buoy marking the northwest corner of the contiguous United States.

Grey Whale off Tatoosh Island - 45-feet and 45-tons
Grey whale migration from Mexico to Alaska

March 31st at 7:03AM:  Whales!  We are just off Tatoosh Island and amongst a pod of grey whales.  Very cool!

March 31st at 7:06AM:  We rounded buoy #2 and make the turn south.  Sunrise over Tatoosh Island.

Olympic Mountains from the Pacific Ocean side - 6 miles offshore

March 31st at 6:10PM:  Crossed the Grays Harbor Bar into Westport, WA

March 31st at 6:35PM: Tied up on Dock #21 in guest moorage.

USCG drills at Westport Bar - 47 foot lifeboat and helicopter
Westport offers a very safe marina and short walking distance to the strip of businesses that support the local charter fishing industry.  We ate at Bennet's Fish Shack, best halibut fish & chips I have ever had, love that place!  We were too early in the season for Little Richards House of Donuts to be open on weekdays, I love that place too!

Oh Buoy at Westport Marina - great looking American Tug 365

Running on the coast - let's talk tugs:  Semi-displacement and what it really means

Running down the coast we found the sea conditions and weather exactly as forecast.  We had 2-4 foot swells on a long period and maybe another 1-foot of waves on top of the swell.  In the ocean you have both swell and waves, the two add up and a boats movement is affected by both of these factors.  Light boats get tossed around, heavy boats plow through.  On inland waters we don't experience swell, just waves.

With the QSB-380 in an American Tug 365 the economy cruise is about 1350-rpm at 2.1-gph making 7.3-knots in a displacement mode.  The American Tug 365 is a semi-displacement boat of 20,000-pounds, it is neither heavy or light but is designed to run in both a displacement or semi-displacement mode, it is not a planing hull form.  In semi-displacement trim I generally run at 2,500-rpm, 11-gph and make about 13.5-knots.  Top end is about 17-knots depending on load.  On a normal summer cruise on the inside of Vancouver Island I would expect to be in economy mode about 80% of the time and use the semi-displacement mode to safely traverse the narrows, bars, and Straits when running faster makes sense or makes me more comfortable.  Often running faster for a few minutes here and there can add whole days back into your schedule, or allow a skipper to control his boat safely in challenging conditions.

We chose to run at 1,800-rpm which is just a little faster than the economy displacement cruise.  It is a favorite speed of mine in the open ocean.  The boats attitude is bow up, stern squatted slightly and it puts a lot of hydraulic pressure from the water across the wide chines of the hull dampening any roll tendency.  I would characterize the ride as "locked down" and running smooth.  1,800-rpm provides a 3.5-gph cruise at about 8-knots; not a big increase in speed, but provides a very comfortable ride in 3-dimensional seas.  The Cummins mechanics love this RPM as the engine is burning very efficiently and generating full pyro temperature.  Modern electronic fuel injection allows the newer engines to run clean at all RPM's but this speed is a natural.  A quick calculation says we ran 11-hours from Cape Flattery to Westport and consumed an extra 1.4-gph, we saved 1.25-hours off the trip time for an extra cost of 7.25-gallons of fuel.  Net cost of being comfortable was about $20. Way cheaper than stabilizers at $40k or troll planes with their parasitic drag and ugliness hanging off the side of the boat.  This is how an American Tug handles water.  Now back to the story...

Day Three:  Westport, WA to Astoria, OR  -  75-miles

April 1st at 6:40AM:  Engine checked and fired up.  Confirmed weather and sea state.

April 1st at 6:45AM:  Departed slip at Westport Marina.   We are leaving sooner than necessary so that we depart the bar on the end of the flood tide, it is only 55-miles to the entrance to the Columbia bar where the flood begins at 2:20pm.

April 1st at 7:10AM:  Crossed the Grays Harbor Bar and back into the Pacific Ocean.  Wind was 5-10-knots.  2-foot swell with unlimited visibility.   Exactly as predicted and ideal conditions.

April 1st at 10:40AM:  Rick spotted a grey whale off Long Beach, WA.  He is getting good at this!

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

April 1st at 2:15PM:  Whale surfaced directly in front of Oh Buoy as we approached Columbia Bar.

April 1st at 2:30PM:  Passed the North Jetty off Cape Disappointment - entrance to the Columbia River.  Bar conditions are good and we verified with regular USCG updates on the VHF radio.

USCG drills at Columbia Bar - great day for practice

April 1st at 4:30PM:  Arrived at West Basin Marina - Astoria, OR.  Safe delivery down the Coast!

Bryce seems happy to be getting his boat home on the River

A very big thank you to Bryce and Rick for an enjoyable three days.  We had a final beer at the Buoy Brewery in Astoria and said goodbye.   I would like to spend some time in Astoria and see the Maritime Museum, ride the trolley and check out the Lewis & Clark history.  Coastal cruising is fun.

Steve Scruggs
American Tugs & Trawlers