A Toronto Brigantine Alumni sailed aboard the Onaygorah (once Concretia)

After Toronto Brigantine experience, Amanda Slade sailed on Onaygorah in 1982 (September through December), after her Toronto Brigantine experiences. She left the crew and returned to school (Georgian College) after the ship floundered in Jacksonville, Florida.   According to Amanda, the Onaygorah was later repaird and continged sailing in the Caribbean in early 1983 when it sunk enroute to the Dominican Republic.
Here is a bit of the history of the Concretia that was later names Onaygorah.

From posting on the internet, the Concretia (126x22x10) was built for the Canadian Dept of Marine (now Coast Guard) as a lighthouse supply vessel. Hull made of concrete and was 18 inches thick on the sides and 24 inchges at the keel.  Very heavy. Under full sail with a good wind top speed was 7 knots. Top of the main mast was 110 feet. Sold in 1935, and rebuilt barge.

The Concretia was abandoned in 1962 and lay as a hulk in Kingston harbour until sold again in 1979 to Captain Paco. She was refloated and converted to a sailing yacht/barquentine, renamed Onaygorah . In Spring of 1982 she was moored in Prinyers Cove near Picton.  

 

A 1982 newspaper article in the Palladium Times, tells of  crew to conduct a 5 year marine research in the South Pacific and Figi Islands. Maybe seized in Port au Prince for “non-payment of morring taxes” according to one post.

Someone remembers an old travel magazine that she read in 1988 that showed a picture of Onaygorah in a Dominican Replic advertisement. and Paul L reports that the ship was docked as a floating bar in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in the mid 1980s.  

The rumor  was that she went down 1985 or 1986.  

Click here to see the chatroom discussion about her on www.sailingtalks.com  or here to discussions about her on www.cruisersforum.com

Similar to the Toronto Brigantine alumni experiences, those that sailed the Onaygorah seem to have memories of good time.

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2 responses

  1. I have been trying to confirm the Onaygorah’s fate for some time now. How solid is the information on her sinking and any idea where she sank and under what circumstances?

    Thanks.

  2. I have not exhausted all of my new/recent leads. However, I am very confident in the information that I have received. The good news with this new information is that I have spoken personally with a person that was present and he recounts the story from the first person, not a story that he heard from someone. So here is what I have learned and believe happened.

    Onagarah did in fact make port in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic (“DR”). Exactly when I don’t know. It is safe to assume late in 1982 or 1983. I base this on the fact that Onaygorah left Kingston in 1981, had to break down her rigging for the trip down the Erie Barge Canal. I am guessing refit would have taken a few months.

    I had heard she broke her stearing on the way but have not heard anything or been able to confirm this.

    I did find a picture of Onaygorah on the web showing her under sale and the picture was labeled “Onaygorah under sale in the Atlantic Ocean off Domician Republic” This picture was taken by a Canadian photographer name Dale Sanders out of British Columbia. I spoke with Dale personally and he could not remember exactly when the picture was taken but said it was possibly 1984 or 1985. Dale said Onaygorah had been chartered to track humpback whale migration through the region. Dale was there as the photographer.

    I have exchanged emails with an author out of DR named Bruce Van Sant. Bruce is an avid sailor. He remembers Onaygorah in Puerto Plata. He does not recall seeing her go out to sea. He does remember Onaygorah running an “open bar” with a sign up sheet on deck. He remembers good times on board with crusiers moored close by. Bruce wrote about this time in his book “Margarita Cat”. There is a chapter called “Paco and the Colonel”. He recounts his time in Puerto Plata with Onagorah. He even references Kronos…the ships dog.

    In 1985 Onagorah was sold to a French corporation. I confirmed this with Transport Canada. Onagorah’s registration file with Transport Canada was closed in October 1985. Notes in the file listed her as sold – foreign (French). Onagaroh was to be moved from Puerto Plata to Martinique where it was to be used as a floating restaurant.

    Enter Captain Joe. After posting a query about Onaygorah on a DR forum (“DR1”). I was referred to the editor of a DR publication “Costambar Monthly”. The editor put me in touch with a gentleman that knew Captain Joe who was the captain of the vessel that was hired to tow Onaygorah from DR to Martinique.

    I spoke via skype with Captain Joe. He does not remember exactly when but it was a couple of years before 1987. Captain Joe was towing Onaygorah and using much more fuel than they had budgeted for. They unhooked from Onaygorah to head out to refuel in St. Croix. Onaygorah was left under her own power until Captain Joe returned. Onaygorah broke an oil line in the engine room. Joe thinks they must have tried to clean it up with gasoline because a short time later, there was a large explosion and fire. As he tells it, this type of explosion does not occur with diesel or oil. One crewman that was hired from Puerto Plata was severely burned in the explosion and fire. At the time, they did not realize the full severity of his injuries as he was still lucid and walking around. He even moved to the stretcher under his own power. The crewman later succumbed to his injuries.

    Captain Joe hooked back up to Onaygorah to continue the tow. Weather picked up and Onaygorah was hit with a tropical wave where she lost her top mast. A second top mast let go and the two pieces crashed through the cabin. Rough waters and taking on water through the holes in the cabin the Captain Joe and his crew fought all day to keep Onaygorah afloat. In the overnight/early morning hours Onaygorah had taken on enough water that she started to sink. At this point Joe remembers Onaygorah sinking quickly. They raced to unhook her so that she would not drag Joe’s ship down with her. Onagorah is presently resting on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere off the island of Montserrat. I asked Joe if he had more specific details of location and depth. Obviously GPS was not around at the time but Joe indicated Onaygorah is in deep water…certainly too deep for recreational divers. Despite information I have read about Onaygorah sinking and taking all hands with her, there was no loss of life in connection with Onaygorah’s sinking. Joe said that the explosion and fire were not contributing factors to the sinking. They verified her seaworthiness prior to continuing the tow. As an additional note from the email from Bruce Van Sant, Kronos and the Onagorah crew were all rescued before she went down.

    On the way back to St. Croix or Puerto Rico, Joe can’t remember exactly now, Joe filed a report of the loss of Onaygorah with the Coast Guard. He also needed some repairs to his ship as one of the towing lines snapped and caused some damage to his vessel. He went back to the island to effect repairs, file report and check on status of the injured crewman and learned of his passing. I contacted the United States Coast Guard in Puerto Rico (that office has jurisdiction over both Puerto Rico and St. Croix) to get details of the reports. There were two separate reports filed, one for the explosion and fire and one for the loss of the vessel. I did hear back from them but they misread my email to them and they stopped searching their records in 1981, 4 clear years prior to the incidents. I have emailed the correction to them but have yet to hear back.

    I am also waiting for a response from the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”). Marine Incident reports are available online. The NTSB website indicates reports date back as far a 1996 with more being made available in the future. Presently I have been able find records dating back to 1988. I have asked them to advise when reports back to 1985 would be available and whether or not they would verify their records for these two reports. To date no response, but responses from this department take months.

    Joe was going to check his logs for more details. He was also going to check for pictures which said he had and was willing to share. I have not yet received any from him. I did receive a follow up email from Joe apologizing the delay but he had some property stolen and dealing with that as well as his regular responsibilities.

    That is what I have learned. I do feel confident about this information. Much of it coincides with parts of various stories that have come my way in dribs and drabs but always as “I heard”. There have been stories about Onaygorah sinking in the South Pacific, her being seen on a travel magazine cover, government seizures, floating bar, etc. It appears that there were bits of truth mixed in with misinformation.

    There you have it. Everything I have learned over the course of my search. It has taken a while but I verily believe C.G.S. Concretian/S.V. Onaygaroh lies in the Caribbean off the island of Montserrat.

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