There was no YouTube in 1988, when the 47-foot fishing vessel Linda’s Draw met her end in a storm in Icy Bay off south-central Alaska, but a crewmember on the fishing tender Alaska Eagle, which was shadowing the converted salmon seiner, filmed the entire event.
The five-minute clip, which was part of a VHS tape collection of accidents off Alaska, has made its way to YouTube.
Few accounts of the incident can be found, but the Alaska Eagle quickly pulled the three fishermen aboard to safety. Only one injury was reported among them.
Oddly enough, one of the best accounts can be found on the Alaskan dating forum Plenty of Fish, on which one posting is by a man who says he was aboard Linda’s Draw when it went over.
“Through the years I have ran boats, crewed boats, owned boats, but never king-crabbed again. At the end of each season, you could find me off to another country. Some place far away,” the posting reads. “In April of 1988, I caught a crew job on a longliner converted salmon seiner named Linda’s Draw in Seattle, Washington, and on our way to the fishing grounds in Alaska, again I had a boat capsize, due to a chain breaking on the skiff that was on deck.
“It shifted and over we went. Luckily, we were with other boats and we were pulled out of the water very fast. If you have ever seen worst disasters on TV and you see a white and blue boat on the top of a wave flip over, the voice in the background saying, ‘Let’s start pickin’ bodies out of the water, boys,’ — that was our boat.”
Click here for the full posting.
The captain was apparently named Everett J. Lindholm, and he had a hard go at fishing, judging from the Alaskan Appeals Court ruling posted online.
Lindholm had appealed an appellate court ruling that denied him hardship aid under a government program set up for commercial fishermen.
“He rigged his vessel, the F/V Linda's Draw, for longlining in 1986 but had no production that year due to a breakdown,” the judge’s ruling reads. “In 1987, Mr. Lindholm caught approximately 17,000 pounds of halibut. In April of 1988, the vessel, along with its longlining gear, was lost in a storm.”
Click here for the full document.
Some of the best discussion of the incident comes from an online forum for WoodenBoat magazine.
One forum poster claimed to have spoken with the marine safety official who interviewed the skipper and came away with these facts:
There was never a mention of engine trouble, running on auxiliary power, or not having sufficient power to maintain steerage.
The transom of the seine skiff and the seine net had shifted to port, depressing that side.
The boat had an empty hold, except for the net.
The seine block had not been lowered to the deck to reduce the center of gravity.
The boat was not designed to handle those conditions.
The owner of the boat (in Cordova) had called the skipper and urged him to cross the Gulf of AK from Icy Bay to Prince William Sound, even though the weather conditions were bad. The rest of the seine fleet decided to wait out the weather in Icy Bay.
The skipper hand steered for many hours and was exhausted. He turned the helm over to an inexperienced crew member who decided to engage the auto pilot, and within a few minutes the boat broached and went over.
Click here for the full forum.