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Sloop Sleuth

Posted: Friday, Apr 26th, 2013


Ric Dreiling, a genealogy expert, is fascinated with the history of the Otter, which is owned by Walt Fossek, shown below with his boat. Fossek and the Otter were featured in the April 24 issue of the Siuslaw News.


When Ric Dreiling was asked by the Port of Siuslaw to research the background of the Otter, a 100-year-old boat moored at the port’s marina and owned by commercial fisherman Walt Fossek, (featured in the April 24 issue of the Siuslaw News), he figured it was a cut-and-dried job.

Dreiling had worked on other projects for the port, including a land inventory, as an intern through Lane Community College. But digging into the boat’s past has unearthed stories that captured his imagination. Soon he found himself volunteering extra hours in order to dig deeper.

“This boat has an incredible history,” said the 49-year-old who has a 27-year background of working on genealogy.

He learned that the vessel changed hands 16 times.

“It’s got everything that makes for a good story: murder, mystery, famous people, lawsuits and more.”

Dreiling has located copies of original documents and photographs to back up his claims. Although still researching and conducting interviews with descendents of owners, he has already gathered enough information for a presentation on the boat, which the port plans to schedule as a public event in the future. There will also be a July 4 recognition ceremony for the Otter marking its hundredth birthday.

For the complete article see the 04-27-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-27-2013 paper.


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