Parthia (harbor tugboat)
In September, 1961 Foss purchased all the tugboats belonging to the Delta Smyth Towing Company of Olympia, consisting of the linehaul tugs Audrey and Hoonah, plus the harbor tugs Oysterman, Parthia, and Rufus. Foss repainted the boats to their own identifying colors, green and white, but they retained the Smyth names. Delta V. Smyth, founder of the Smyth Company, started his tugboat career about 1910 working on the tug Oysterman for the Brenner Oyster Company. Later on he purchased the tug and began a towing business in Olympia that lasted until the sale to Foss. Smyth owned and operated thirty-two tugs during forty years of tug boating, but at the time of the sale, the fleet was composed of only five vessels. The tugs were small and low powered compared to the average Foss tug in the Sixties and Seventies, so they were given only limited use. The Parthia, oldest of the Smyth boats was built at Winslow, Washington in 1906. She started out with a fifty horsepower gasoline engine, then advanced to a seventy-five.
Tugboat Parthia is raced annually in the Olympia Harbor Days festival at Olympia, Washington. See the pictures of Parthia and the other vintage and modern tugs in action at photographer Carl Cook's For the Love of Tugs! web page.
Parthia won the 2005 Harbor Days race in its class. From The Olympian (Olympia, Washington), 11 Sep 2005):
"The waters of Budd Inlet churned last weekend as 30 tugboats took turns racing in separate heats. That's three more tugs than participated in last year's Harbor Days festival. The tugboat Parthia outdueled vessels with names such as The Marlin II and Earnest to win the 400 horsepower division in a disputed finish. Throughout the three days of the 32nd annual Harbor Days vintage tugboat festival, crowds of people filled the pier at Percival Landing to get an up-close view of the tugboats. Skippers welcomed visitors aboard and graciously answered questions from young and old alike." Click here to read the full article.
Tugboat Parthia came in second in Class C at the 2008 races (Dan DeLong/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10 May 2008):
The Olmsted managed to pass the Parthia to win the Class C classic tug boat race on Elliott Bay at the Seattle Maritime Festival. The 565-horsepower Olmsted won with a time of 7 minutes and 44 seconds.
"The Parthia and R.W. Confer tugboats try to close in on Olmsted, the race leader, in Budd Inlet during last year’s Harbor Days. "Olympia: See tall ships, tugs at Harbor Days" by Molly Gilmore (The Olympian 31 Aug 2009)
Seattle Tug Boat Races, 9 May 2009 -- Parthia wins Class C. Freemont Tugboat Newsletter, 18 May 2009.
This page last updated 26 Jan 2011