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CAPE HEDGE, 1953

WPB-95311

Type A


Builder:  Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD 

Commissioned:  21 December 1953 

Decommissioned:  7 January 1987 

Disposition:  Transferred to USN, 7 January 1987 (Venture); returned to CG in 1990 and subsequently transferred to Mexico, 27 April 1990 

Length:  95’ oa; 90’ wl 

Navigation Draft:  6’4”  

Beam:  20’ max. 

Displacement (tons):  102 fl (A) 

Main Engines:   4 Cummins VT-600 diesels; 2 Detroit 16V149 diesels (renovated) 

BHP:  2,200; 2,470 (renovated) 

Performance, Max. Speed:  20 kts.; 24 kts. (renovated)
Performance, Cruising:        12 kts., 1,418-mi radius (1961) 

Fuel Capacity:  3,114 gallons 

Complement:  15 (1961) 

Electronics:

Radar:  SPS-64 (1987)

Sonar: retractable type  

Armament:  2 mousetraps, 2 depth charge racks, 2 20mm (twin), 2 .50-cal. machine guns (as completed). 2 12.7mm mg, 2  40mm Mk 64 grenade launchers (1987)


Class history—The 95-foot or Cape class was an outgrowth of a need for shallow-draft anti-submarine-warfare (ASW) craft brought on by the increasing tensions during the years immediately following World War II.    During the period of construction, three distinctive sub-classes evolved as the Coast Guard’s mission emphasis shifted from ASW to search and rescue (SAR), The A Type 95-footer was outfitted primarily for ASW. The B Type differed by mounting a 40 mm vice 20 mm gun and being fitted with scramble nets, a towing bit, and a large searchlight – all important SAR tools. The C Type units were constructed  without the heavy armament and for economy some of the SAR equipment was also deleted. However, the Coast Guard added these SAR items to both the As and Cs during various refits. A renovation program began in the mid-1970s but was ended, due to increasing expenses and a shortage of funds, after 16 boats had been overhauled.

The 95-footers were designed by the Coast Guard and built at the Coast Guard Yard.  Their hulls were made of steel while their superstructures were made of aluminum.  This proved to be problematic throughout their service lives due to electrolysis between the dissimilar metals.

These cutters remained unnamed until January of 1964.


Ship's history:

From 1955 to 1963, Cape Hedge was stationed at Alameda, CA. She was used for law enforcement (LE) and SAR. From 1964 to 1968, she was stationed at Bodega Bay, CA, and was used for LE and SAR. On 30 March 1965, assisted by a Coast Guard helicopter, she rescued survivors from a pleasure craft that had wrecked on Bodega Rock near San Francisco, CA. On 10 July 1965, she took over the tow of the abandoned pleasure craft Geni and towed her to Bodega Bay. On 22 August 1965, she found survivors of pleasure craft Willow the Wisp on rocks off Bluff Point, Tiburon, and dewatered the craft. In early October 1965, she escorted the Japanese M/V Louisiana Maru and the U.S. tug Las Plumas to port following a collision off Yerba Buena Island. On 5 September 1966, she helped rescue four from the pleasure craft Aquilo and unsuccessfully fought a fire 3 miles off Fort Bragg, CA. 

Effective 5 October 1968 she transferred to Morro Bay, CA, and was used for LE and SAR. On 29 October to 3 November 1976, she seized F/V Dong Phat near San Simeon Bay carrying a large quantity of drugs.  She was then awarded a Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for:

". . .meritorious service from 29 October 1976 to 3 November 1976 while engaged in a multi-agency law enforcement effort to detect and apprehend a suspected drug smuggling operation in the vicinity of San Simeon Bay, California.  On the evening of 29 October 1976 USCGC CAPE HEDGE was requested to assist the U.S. Customs, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the police departments of Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, California in the surveillance of a suspected drug smuggling operation.  Personnel of USCGC CAPE HEDGE diligently maintained this surveillance and formed contingency plans for a possible armed confrontation.  Upon notification that a probably smuggler's vessel had left San Simeon Bay, USCGC CAPE HEDGE proceeded to the area and conducted remote radar surveillance on the ship.  Receiving information that law enforcement officers had begun a chase on shore, USCGC CAPE HEDGE pursued, apprehended and boarded the suspected ship, F/V DONG PHAT.  USCGC CAPE HEDGE personnel arrested the crew of F/V DONG PHAT, escorted the vessel to Morro Bay, California, and turned the ship and crew over to authorities. . .

She received another Meritorious Unit Commendation for effectively guarding and enforcing a safety zone around the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant at Avila Beach, CA from 10 September to 28 September 1981.  On 17 May 1983, she collided with F/V Cape Mala near Morro Bay.  On 18 May 1983, she helped transfer oil from a leaking barge 30 miles west of Lopez, CA.  On 19 July 1983, the crew boarded the disabled F/V Maggio-O at 35°27’N, 121°W, brought the flooding under control, and towed the F/V to Morro Bay, CA.

She was decommissioned on 7 January 1987.


Sources:

Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Robert Scheina.  U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.


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Last Modified 10/28/2014