Celebrating the U.S.C.G. Cutter Spar wlb-403, 50th. Anniversary for our trip, across the Atlantic Ocean and up into realm of Arctic Circle, and all throughout Europe's many ports in "1966". We departed from Bristol RI on 12/ July/ 1966.
USCGC Spar (WLB-403)
The Spar 403 was a 180-foot(55 m) sea going buoy tender. An Iris class vessel, she was built by Marine Iron works and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth, Minnesota. Spar's preliminary design was completed by the*United States Lighthouse Serviceand the final design was produced by Marine Iron and Shipbuilding. On 13 September 1943 the keel was laid, she was launched on 2 November 1943 and commissioned on 12 June 1944. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $865,941.Spar was one of 39 original 180-foot (55 m) seagoing buoy tenders built between 1942-1944. All of the seagoing buoy tenders were built in Duluth except USCGC Ironwood (WLB-307).The Spar's most notable accomplishment was a mission to be the first vessels to circumnavigate North America along with sister ship *USCGC Bramble (WLB-392)and the larger *USCGC Storis (WMEC-38) from 18 May to 24 September 1957. In 1966 the *Spar WLB-403 made a 17,000 mile, 3 month long voyage, led by *Leonard G.Johnson, known today as, the *"Spar fracture zone along the coast of Norway and Jan Mayen island". Spar was decommissioned in 1997 and sold at auction. After changing hands several times, she ended up being transferred to the *Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation, who evaluated her and determined their best use of the ship was to sell her, or parts of her, to raise money to support their other projects. Spar 's main engines, generators, and other equipment were removed and sold to re-power another vessel. The remains of the vessel were scuttled in October 2004 in 108 feet of water, 30 miles (48 km) off *Morehead City, North Carolina,
she now serves as an artificial reef.