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The Tall Ship Royaliste

Statement from owner of the tall ship “Royaliste”


Hearty thanks to everyone who helped us during and after the terrible accident of July 13th, 2012 when the Sternwheeler Portland (900+ tons) backed into and nearly crushed the already-moored Tall Ship Royaliste (48 tons). You gave the emergency resources, spirit, and emotional support that enabled us to survive this tragic incident. Royaliste almost sank – along with 2 years of research and 10 months of rebuilding effort, a nearly $200,000 investment, and the dream of becoming the only resident historic tall-ship sailing the waters of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

We have hauled her out of the water for an evaluation of the full extent of the damages. The owners of both vessels, Oregon Maritime Museum (OMM) and Margot Productions LLC (MP,) are working to resolve the many issues that resulted from the “allision” The incident is currently under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Fortunately, no one was injured!!!  In addition to the impending peril to the nine-person crew on board the Royaliste was the potentially life-threatening situation of dozens of spectators standing on the docks next to the securely-tied vessel. There were also many other vintage boats moored on the inside of the same dock, gathered for the opening ceremony of the Maritime Heritage Festival.  Witnesses say that they were terrified watching the giant paddlewheel of the Portland coming at them so fast — and questioned their safety, as well as the strength and stability of the dock on which they stood. “Had it not been for the Pirate Ship the Sternwheeler would have hit the city dock . . .” said one on-looker. Bruce Hebeler, a U.S. Coast Guard licensed master and captain’s license training instructor, was moored on his boat, the M.S. Wolf, right across from the Royaliste on the other side of the dock.  He said, “I saw this coming, I saw the sternwheeler had too much speed. If I’d had more time, I would have blown my horn.”

The experience was horribly frightening– verified by the screams heard on many live recordings and videos.

The immense pressure from the Portland “squeezing” the Royaliste against the concrete dock caused her planking seams to open up below the water line, and hundreds of gallons of water began flowing into her hull. Witnesses on board watched as the huge paddleguard of the Sternwheeler mowed across the smaller vessel’s poop deck — destroying the taffrails and stretching the rigging inward, bending the chainplates that secured the rigging, and bending the mizzen mast. “The hull planks spewed their oakum and we felt the hull flex and the decks rise up in the middle,” described one of the three captains on board Royaliste. “A fiberglass boat would have shattered instantly.”

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Department responded swiftly and efficiently, providing and manning a large-capacity pump to evacuate the water from the then-sinking wooden boat. In addition, personnel from the City of St Helens helped connect electricity for on-board bilge pumps and also provided two extra pumps. Without their efforts, Royaliste most likely would have sunk right there. Many concerned boaters also came to our aid.

Only after repeated requests from the Royaliste crew did the Portland send a representative to speak briefly with Kate Larsen, the wood boat’s owner.

During the next two days, two teams of rescue divers placed temporary epoxy patches on the underside of the Royaliste’s broken hull while the crew carried on interacting with festival patrons. The return voyage to Hayden Island in Portland was fraught with danger from rapidly increasing flooding, most likely caused by moving water battering the already-damaged hull.  Finally, bilge-pumps and crew working furiously, we secured Royaliste to her home dock at Hayden Bay Marina. Exhilarated, terrorized, stunned, exhausted, we were all glad to be home, but 24 hour watch continued for days until we finally had Royaliste lifted at Schooner Creek Boatworks.

Many planned events for Royaliste, including a music video and film, several private parties, weddings, and more, have now had to be cancelled, setting us back even further financially.  Portland Pirate Festival will still take place on Labor Day Weekend, but sadly, without our beautiful Royaliste. We are currently opening a can of worms to figure out if our vessel can be saved.  It’s very complicated when a wooden boat has been forcefully shifted.


If you would like to help financially in the restoration of the Royaliste, please find the CHIP IN button located at the upper right of this page.


Contact:  Kate Larsen, Margot Productions LLC

Owner ROYALISTE  www.facebook.com/TallShipRoyaliste

Co-Owner of The Portland Pirate Festival

(503) 292-3418

Due to a very unfortunate accident, the Tall Ship Royaliste will not be at the Portland Pirate Festival as planned this year. The steamer sternwheeler PORTLAND decided it needed additional room at the St Helens Municipal docks while attempting to moor for the Maritime heritage festival on Friday the 13th of July 2012. The video below says the rest- Caution, video is not for the weary at heart for those that have come to love the Royaliste as we all have!  Please find us on Facebook for updates as to the progress of the unforeseen repairs needed after this accident.





CHIP IN by clicking on Chip In button above and help with “The Rebirth of the Royaliste” and earn an invitation to a Dockside Donor’s Party when the Royaliste is ship shape again

The Royaliste!

Luc the Lucky and the dazzling Margot La Mechante de Marseilles have braved the wilds of Kentucky and taken…er…commandeered… er … legally salvaged a 50′ LOA (45′ on deck, total 62′ including Bowsprit, ) gaff-rigged, square-tops’l ketch refit to specifications of an 18th-century dispatch gunboat/bomb ketch. (I don’t know what it means either, mates, but she has two masts, a mess of sails and she’s a little beauty)  They have done the tricky work and brought her home to our waters (and you have to admire a pair of iron traders that can find a ship in Kentucky,) stripped the hull of any nefarious clingers-on, repainted her and launched her on the Columbia. But, like all tall ships,  the Lady needs a bit of spit, polish, elbow grease (and some paints, planks, futtocks and pins) to restore her to former glory.

The Portland Pirate Festival, Parrots4Show ,  Academia Duellatoria, and Quicksilver Pirate Pots have offered their continuing support to Luc, Kate and Margot Productions in this endeavor.  If you’d like to be part of the project, you can donate through chip-in.  If you’d like to help with the elbow grease part of the undertaking, keep a watch for occasional calls for volunteers on le Royaliste’s Facebook page, or send a missive extolling your talents to
shuhe@portlandpiratefestival.com or kate@portlandpiratefestival.com. Keep watch on the Facebook page to follow her journey to new glory, and look for her at Portland Pirate Festival’s continuing siege in lovely St. Helens, Or. September 1 and 2nd, 2012 (Labor Day Weekend).


Randy and Janet, Parrots4ShowThe Great Birdmaster and his lovely lady, Muirenn Sinead along with Kalia, Calypso, Buster, Lindiwe and Tinker of Parrots4Show have become a much beloved part of the Portland Pirate Festival over the years. Find out more about them at Parrots4show.com

Academia Duellatoria, located in Portland and Phoenix Oregon, is a school dedicated to  teaching “The Noble Art of Defense” as found in the surviving  manuscripts of the fencing masters of Europe written between 1300 and  1700 A.D.