El Primero

The El Primero was stranded after the collapse Sunday of the dock it was tied to near the Columbia House Condominiums.

A dock in Astoria for the historic yacht El Primero collapsed Sunday amid stormy weather, leaving the vessel cut off from land and boat owner Christian Lint scrambling to prevent debris from reaching the navigational channel of the Columbia River.

Lint recently moved the 127-year-old yacht from Pier 39, tethering it to an ailing dock near the Columbia House Condominiums. The dock is owned by California-based Union Dock Corp. and was formerly used for fueling vessels.

Lint was trying to repair the dock and offer tours of the El Primero.

“I’ve been asking piling drivers to come out here and put piles in here for the next storm,” Lint said. “The pilings were split and all that was holding them together was moss.”

Lint had been pressure washing the dock around the time of its collapse. The pressure washer had about 5 gallons of fuel on board considered a potential environmental hazard, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Trevor Lilburn. Lint retrieved the pressure washer, ending the Coast Guard’s involvement beyond a bulletin to nearby mariners warning of potential debris in the water.

“As far as the pier goes, it’s an issue for the owner of the pier and the owner of the vessel,” Lilburn said.

Lint hoped to eventually also move the Tourist No. 2, a historic Columbia River ferry at Pier 39 on a month-to-month lease, to the dock for tours. The Astoria Ferry Group, a nonprofit formed to oversee the ferry’s restoration after Lint sailed it from Bremerton, Washington, to Astoria, recently reorganized, largely leaving Lint to oversee fundraising and restoration.

With the dock likely no longer usable, Lint said he is focusing on keeping debris out of the river’s navigational channel and avoiding fines from the Coast Guard.

Edward Stratton is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 971-704-1719 or estratton@dailyastorian.com.

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