A significant voyage coming for historic Richmond ship
By Chris Treadway
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 09/10/2011 02:36:49 PM PDT
Updated: 09/10/2011 02:36:49 PM PDT
The monthly pancake breakfast on board the SS Red Oak Victory, originally scheduled for Sunday, has been canceled because the ship's volunteers have something bigger on their plate than flapjacks.
The Red Oak is being readied for towing to dry dock in San Francisco, a long-awaited appointment that is scheduled Thursday morning.
The historic World War II cargo ship will have work done on its hull, including cleaning, repairing and painting the steel plates originally welded together during the ship's construction at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond 67 years ago.
Damaged plates will be replaced, a newer propeller will be installed and, if all goes right, the ship will be seaworthy for the first time since it was removed from service in 1969. The ship saw duty during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars and also plied the seas for private cargo concerns.
Preparation for the dry dock trip means halting all events at its mooring at the Port of Richmond until the Red Oak's scheduled return, expected in time for the Home Front Festival by the Bay on Oct. 15.
The public is invited to see the ship off, with the two tugboats expected to start the towing about 10 a.m. Thursday at 1337 Canal Blvd. in the Port of Richmond.
Asked whether there will be an official send-off ceremony, Lois Boyle, president of the Richmond Museum Association, said, "No, we're going to be busy enough just to get it going."
Gear is being stored, items secured and the Red Oak volunteers are getting a helping hand from local oil refinery employees during Chevron's annual Week of Caring outreach.
"It's a memorable day for sure," Boyle said. "It's something we've worked for 10 years."
· The Red Oak isn't the only restoration project on the plate of the Richmond Museum of History, which is raising funds to buy and deliver an original firetruck that originally saw duty at the Kaiser shipyards. The 1944 Ford Open Cab truck, which still has the "Shipyard No. 3" marking on its hood, is in Spanish Fork, Utah, and the goal is to raise $5,000 by Thursday to bring it home. Tax-deductible donations can be made to Richmond Museum of History, P.O. Box 1267, Richmond, CA 94802, or call 510-235-7387 for more details.