Blizzard of ’78 36th Anniversary the Pilot Boat “Can Do”

The “Can Do”

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These Photos of the “Grampus” in Beverly Harbor are from 2009 .

The Grampus is the old pilot boat “Can Do” that was lost with all hands (crew of five) in the Blizzard of ’78 .

The Damaged Hull was the only thing left of the Can Do when it was later raised from the sea.

The Workboat Grampus previously the pilot boat Can Do was raised in 1981 and after a complete re-build was returned to service. She has served on numerous projects over the years. The name Grampus (the original name of the vessel) is an old term for a pilot whale, appropriate for the sleek black hull of the vessel. Grampus is 47ft long and is powered by an 855 Cummins diesel. She was originally built as a yacht, and travelling as far south as the Amazon.

Inspite of what some have said she is not haunted or is she?

Thanks go out to MuffyHowards from Cape Ann Online for the heads up on these Youtube Videos. The Story of the Gloucester Pilot Boat Can Do. It’s a long series at least 13 parts. You’ll hear actuall Radio Transmisions from the USCG and the Pilot Boat Can do during this Tragedy.

From Publishers Weekly;

“Before The Perfect Storm, there was the 1978 blizzard that lashed the Massachusetts coast with blinding snow, 90-mile-per-hour winds and 40-foot waves. Into the juggernaut sailed the small boat Can Do and its crew of five civilians on a doomed mission to assist two other vessels imperiled by the storm. As in The Perfect Storm, all hands were lost; but since the Can Do sank only a few agonizing miles from shore, there are records of terse radio transmissions to help the author recreate their last desperate hours. Journalist Tougias (The Blizzard of ’78) fills out his absorbing account with lots of search-and-rescue procedural details, recollections from others who endured the monstrous seas of that hellish night and 300 years’ worth of maritime disaster sagas. At times, the book feels padded with lengthy, adulatory back stories about the Can Do crew and needless speculations (i.e., “Kenny Fuller likely thought of his wife, knowing that if he died it would be especially hard on her”). And the story’s outcome-the Can Do never got anywhere near the boats it went to help, both of which survived the storm-raises questions about the wisdom of the heroic ethos it celebrates. Still, Tougias delivers a well-researched, vividly written tale of brave men overwhelmed by the awesome forces of nature.”

Also if your interested in this story Check out the book: “Ten Hours Until’ Dawn”

By Micheal Tougias

http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Hours-Until-Dawn-Heroism/dp/0312334362/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297130348&sr=1-1

11 comments

  • Great book, after reading this book, you will never be cold again.. amazing

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  • Ten Hours Till Dawn is a phenomenal book. A must read. Great videos. Thanks so much.

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  • I was sitting in a hotel room in D.C. with nothing to read. A recco for this book came through via GMG and within minutes I had downloaded it. Awesome timing. Great book. Very sad.

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  • Fabulous commentary!! Thank you, Micheal Tougias…

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  • I was in Rockport and Gloucester April of 1978 and learned of the fate of the Can Do. I will never forget the brave crew. I had met one of the crew on previous trip, through a friend of mine that grew up in Marblehead. It truly affected me and still does. To the author of this story, thank you for telling it.
    It is a fine tribute to the men who lost their lives trying to save others.

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  • Yes – its an amazing book.

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  • Thanks for posting. The book was a very good read. While in central mass I know we got a ton of snow (I think about 3 feet) but didn’t know how bad things were out here on the coast and the book really brought it to life.

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  • I was on the USCG cutter Vigilant out of New Bedford Ma, on this horrific evening, the break water wall had been closed in New Bedford and we were out at sea riding out the storm just north of the Cape Cod Canal. The weather was beyond description, 100+knot winds, (our anemomitor only went up to 99, and it was pegged all night long) 60+ foot seas as we were heading north to try and assist/find the CanDo, the USCG 44′ rescue boat out of Station Gloucester, 44317, the USCG Cutter Cape George, and the Global Hope. We battled thru the night, head into the mountainous seas and did not get off shore Marblehead/Salem until the next morning. Thru out the night we pushed on in vain and listened to the radio transmissions of the CanDo, USCG 44317, Cape George, and the Global Hope. It was a tragic evening to say the least. I knew Frank and crew personally and can never express the loss I felt personally and that of all of my fellow crew members as we struggled against some of the worst conditions ever seen off of Cape Ann.

    The book “Ten Hours Till Dawn”, is a tremendous recount of that difficult night, but it only touches the edges of what it was truly like.

    I will tip one this evening for Frank and Crew.

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  • Thank Paul I love these gems of history and the stories behind it :-)

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  • This is a heart-pounding and heartbreaking story, and the story teller is amazing. Thanks for making this video series, I couldn’t take my ears off it and I’ll never look out at Gloucester Harbor again without thinking about this.

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