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July 25, 2006 :  PT-658 River Run

In this video clip, the Higgins PT 658 is shown dockside at its berth at the Navy and Marine Reserve Center in Portland, Oregon and then underway on the Willamette River.  The historic boat reached more than 23 knots while underway.   It was restored to operating condition during a 12 year period by Save the PT Boat, Inc, a nonprofit organization of Navy World War II PT boat crew veterans and other volunteers.  This demonstration run was one of two staged for veterans and others, including CCoA members Dan Withers and Chuck Fowler, following the 42nd annual PT Boaters National Reunion in Spokane, Washington, July 20 - 24, 2006.

Click Here for the video clip from the activity.


10-06-04 - Update from Jerry Gilmartin on the restoration crew.

Here is the latest news from Portland, OR about the PT658 restoration status. Since the fire last October 11? 2003, that was centered midships in the wardroom CO's hanging closet and desk, the boat has been fully repaired.

The PT658 was launched June 7, 2004. We took it to the Portland Antique Wooden Boat Show at the end of June. Several hundred visitors saw it. In July we loaded 700 gallons of 93 octane gas into forward tanks. Late August 2004, we started 2 of the 3 packards and drove her around the dock to place the 40mm cannon, and 2 Mark 13 torpedoes on her deck. Now the 40mm cannon and the two torpedoes are mounted. The starboard engine carb was running rich, with lots of blue smoke. After adusting carb and installing radar set and GPS/depthfinder units, we took her out in mid September for about 30 minutes on Williamette River, running all 3 packards. Ed Jepson of Peter Tare at the helm, and also Bob Hofstetter and Russ Hamachek, all former PT Skippers and Squadron 39 CO.

The center engine overheated so we had to shut it down, the Freshwater HX clogged with rust. Also the steering gear linkage chain was sticking and jumping so we are replacing the chain. We later flushed all Freshwater HX so they won't overheat again and the center engine is running fine now.

We are getting the boat ready for the "PT Boaters Bull Session" next Saturday, Oct 9, 2004. Who knows, we might take it out onto the Columbia River and open up those packards! Do you think it will do 45 knots?

The 3 packards have the supercharger and the late war Intercooler modification (supposed to boost horsepower to 1850 hp each according to MoMMC Gene Wilkinson PT150)and we have light weight and a clean bottom. We have a GPS onboard so we will find out just how fast it will go.

We are currently working on getting the Voltage regulators for the dc generators working (but they are in pretty sad shape) and we are also working on mounting the two pairs of twin 50 caliber MG's. We are still searching for a 37mm cannon for the bow, without much success.

We have a website with photos www.savetheptboatinc.com and there are good photos on link at www.amphibiousforces.org also showing us being towed to boat show last June.

Come on out to Portland and check out the only authentically restored REAL (not Vosper) running PT boat in the world, running the real Packard engines! She is moored at the Naval Reserve Center at Swan Island next to the Coast Guard Station in the Swan Island Lagoon, at the end of the Navy pier.

Good luck! Jerry Gilmartin

 

 

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