IN DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT – It’s not every Saturday morning that a boat is launched using the very old method of cutting the boards holding the hull to the slipway, but that’s what happened at the Hansen Boat Company shipyard in Everett to launch the “Sigrid Dunlap” Jan 20. – Photo courtesy of Amy Dawson
Dunlap Towing is making sure a grand old name not only rides the tide of history but also impacts the Pacific maritime industry for years to come. The La Conner-based company expanded its fleet with the launching on Jan. 20 of the “Sigrid Dunlap,” a state-of-the-art Phyllis-class ocean-going tug designed for the firm’s work towing barges between Seattle and Honolulu. “It was dark and cold at 7:30 in the morning,” said Dunlap Towing Assistant Controller Meghan Dunlap-Rice, “but the wind subsided, making for a great launch.” The event took place at the Hansen Boat Company Yard in Everett. Some 200 bystanders: Families, friends, contractors, construction workers and invited guests gathered behind yellow caution tape watching a crew of a dozen workers on both sides of the hull cut the boat loose from the slipway. Someone observed, “it’s getting close now,” and within seconds the tug started sliding down the ramp to cheers, claps and laughter. “There it went,” another person said. It was 7:55 a.m. A drone followed, hovering overhead, flashing a red light. Construction began about two years ago and has been overseen by Gary Hansen, the owner of Hansen Boat Company, Hockema & Whalen Associates, who designed the vessel, and Dunlap Towing’s Gordon Taylor. At slightly more than 121 feet in length, with a 38-foot beam, the “Sigrid” boasts the latest technology in both the wheelhouse and on deck, providing its crew the most modern equipment and tools for safety on the job. The tug is powered by twin Caterpillar C175-16 EPA Marine Tier III, IMO Certified engines. Its engines feature reduced emissions over previous models while giving the tug the ability to develop 5,350 horsepower. In addition, its Markey double drum winch has increased tow wire capacity over its sister ship, the Phyllis Dunlap, holding 3,100 feet of 2.25 inch wire. Equally striking – and significant – is the vessel’s name, which like a number of its predecessors honors the memory of a key figure in Dunlap Towing history. The “Sigrid” is named for the grandmother of Dunlap Towing President Jim Dunlap. She came to the United States from Norway in the early 1900s and provided financial support to her step-son, Gene Dunlap, that helped him purchase what became Dunlap Towing Company. Since 1925, when Gene Dunlap founded the company, Dunlap Towing has provided a variety of marine transportation services to meet demands of an ever-evolving industry. The “Sigrid,” as Dunlap Towing’s newest addition, will be officially welcomed to the fleet this spring with an open house and reception, marking the result of a coordinated team effort. “As we celebrate the completion of the ‘Sigrid’ and look to the future,” company officials said on Monday, “we’d like to recognize the importance of our great team that has helped us see success and who make up the Dunlap Towing Company family.” The “Sigrid,” following its impressive launch, is on schedule to be put into service in late spring. It joins its sister tractor tug, “Gretchen Dunlap,” also built at the Hansen Boat works and launched in December 2015.