Friday, March 16, 2007

The Randolph


By Dick Hancock

The small, 60 foot long, gas powered Randolph was not a lucky boat by all accounts. Built at Randolph by the Herman Brothersin 1910, she had her share of problems while navigating the rough and rocky coast between Rogue River and Coos Bay. She carried freight of all kinds and an occasional passenger as she plied her way up and down the Coos and Curry coast, giving the Life Saving Service more than her share of business.

On May 1, 1914 she grounded at the mouth of the Rogue River.The Bandon Life Saving Station was called upon to refloat her.

On August 5, 1914, while heading out over the Bandon Bar, she lost her propellor and drifted up on the rocks next to the south jetty. The lifesaving crew had to take her anchor and a heavy line up stream and winch her up on the anchor line. After six repetitions of this exercise, they were able to moor her at a dock, from where she was towed by the tow boat Star to a place where she could be repaired.

But on April 24th, 1915, just three months after the LifesavingService was disbanded and absorbed into the Coast Guard, her luck ran out. While crossing the bar in heavy seas, her bow dropped into the trough between two large waves and she "pitch poled" over.Three men who were standing on deck were swept away and drowned. A fourth, deckhand Chauncey Carpenter, was standing in the bow of the boat and managed to swim ashore to the south jetty and survived. There was no sign of Captain Charles Anderson and Engineer Henry Colvin.

The upside down hull drifted ashore on the south beach, where theCoastguard's men were able to get a line on it and rig a breeches buoy. When they were finally able to board the hull, voices and knocking sounds were heard inside the hull. My grandfather, G.R. (Dick) Hancock and another coastguards man Dolf Johnson chopped a hole through the thick wooden planks and found both the Captain and the Engineer cold and wet but otherwise unharmed. When Engineer Colvin was hauled through the hole, he still had his pipe clenched between his teeth and only removed it to ask "does anybody have some dry tobacco and matches". After receiving them he thanked his rescuers profusely before being tied into the breeches buoy and hauled ashore to safety.

The little Randolph was damaged so extensively she was salvaged where she lay and never sailed again. A few months later, in a very similar accident, the steam schooner Fifield joined her in her watery grave on the south beach.
Local Report:
Got some Friday...was just going for a run on the beach but it looked too good not to surf.... Ran home suited up, within 15 min of tide drop it got like 4' to 5' feet bigger by the time I got out in to it... wishing I was on my 6.11 not my 10.0 except for the fact the Stellar's were out in force nabbing huge fish.... The current was nasty and I think I surfed in fresh H2O most of the time despite being 200 yards off the beach. Sunshine, slight wind, nice pitching peaks with lined up shoulders, lots of cold river out flow... conditions went from a nice head high longboardable wave to shifty but good OH screamers..... Hope to try again today now the fog's gone.... ~King of EC


Chum said...

That dude looks like one of the crusties I drew a couple posts ago. Off to surf!

Doc said...

I used to smoke a pipe fairly often...I was thinking of digging it out and the next time I surf... I'll keep it clenched between my molars as I bust through the top of a closed out wave...I'll call this move "The Randolph" or I'll surf in the same pose as Henry, this move will be called "The Colvin"...