Re: Sam McKinney's boat "Gander"

Myles Twete

I tried looking for Sam’s Gander 3 --- the 24’ bargeboat back in 2003 on a vacation to New York.  As Mark mentioned, he motored it from the upper Missouri to NYC and sold it.  We looked thru the records at one of the locks he traveled thru to find reference of the boat traveling thru the locks on the upper Hudson, but aside from the “No Name” boats during that period, there was nothing that matched.  We went to the 52nd Ave(?) Boat Basin in NYC and asked around about his boat, but no one we talked to had been there long enough to have known of his boat.  The outboard that Sam had on that boat he sent back to Portland and powered his 26ft ‘The Reach Of Tide’ from the late 80’s until now---only now it’s electric.


It would be cool to learn if that Gander 3 barge boat is still floating somewhere back on the East Coast.  There was an article about Sam and his trip published in a weekly back in the 80’s when he stopped into port on Lake George in Vermont.  I have a copy of it somewhere…I think it shows a For Sale sign on the boat. J


-Myles T.






From: [] On Behalf Of Richard Green
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 7:55 PM
Subject: Re: [oregoncoots] Sam McKinney's boat "Gander"


Ah, well, I remembered it as 20’ but the other details of my note are roughly correct.  I knew he started his journey in that boat but don’t recall any more beyond that from the story.  I read the book back in the day but it’s been a long time ago.  I never saw Sam again after those trips to Astoria.  My memory of the book he wrote is that he started out to write one book and somewhat in midstream he did another book/story as he moved along.



On Dec 28, 2020, at 7:32 PM, Mark Neuhaus <moonlitturtle1934@...> wrote:


Hi Richard,


On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 6:32 PM Richard Green <chaos5@...> wrote:


That’s the Great Pelican stretched to 20’….IIRC…..that Sam used to come to Astoria aboard in an early time. 


If you are refering to the picture that I posted of Gander 1, I think you are mixing up his boats.  My posted image was scanned from "Sailing Uphill" and his commentary was:


"Out of that shed lumber, I built a little 16-foot, outboard-powered, pram-shaped dory for a total cost of $640.35."


He sailed that up to Lewiston on the first leg of his cross-country trip, and then back to Portland.


He then built Gander II, a 24-foot long St. Pierre dory from John Gardner plans for the remainder of his trip.  Unfortunately, he had to abandon it in the upper Missouri a couple of days after launching it, as the 18-inch draft was no match for the lowest water in years.


Gander III, a 24-foot long, 6-foot wide, 4-inch draft flat-bottomed barge-type boat that he designed in the dust of a Missouri River bluff after losing Gander II, was the one that got him to New York City, where he sold it.


I think of Sam as the Volkswagon of boats - get a design you like and only change it when you need to for a specific reason.












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