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Conquest (#106961) (1967-2005)

In the News~

September 19, 2005 []: “SAN DIEGO - U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy assets responded, today, to a sport fishing vessel that ran aground on San Clemente Island. The seven people on board are in good condition and scheduled to be transported back to San Diego in a U.S. Navy helicopter. Coast Guard Sector San Diego received a 5:32 a.m., call from the sport fishing vessel Conquest stating they were aground on San Clemente Island, there were seven people on board and they were taking on water. Sector San Diego launched an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and diverted the 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Edisto. The USS Benfold and San Clemente Island security also responded. San Clemente Island Security recovered the seven people and brought them to the island. The 52-foot fishing vessel is still aground on San Clemente and the bow is submerged. Coast Guard Sector San Diego will investigate the incident. Video of the vessel aground can be obtained by contacting Petty Officer Robert K. Lanier, 11th District Public Affairs Office - San Diego, at (619) 278-7022, phone or (619) 247-5064, mobile.”

September 25, 2005 [SDUT]: “When the Conquest, a longtime member of the San Diego sportfishing fleet, sank Monday morning off San Clemente Island, the news sent ripples of shock through the rest of the fleet. Doug Reed, the captain of the 52-footer and owner since 2001, is a well-liked and respected professional. And the Conquest has a storied past. "Like most of the people in this business, Doug Reed worked his way up from running half-day boats, and this was his first boat as an owner," said Paul Morris, general manager of Fisherman's Landing, where the Conquest was docked. "He's such a great guy. Hate to see something like this happen to a guy like him." The Conquest was built by Bill Poole and Paul Sansome in 1967 and has been owned by some of the San Diego fleet's top captains through the years. Many couldn't believe Reed could lose a boat in such a way. According to Reed and the Coast Guard, relief captain Catherine Strada, 28, was at the helm when the Conquest ran aground at San Clemente Island before dawn Monday. Strada could not be reached for comment. A Coast Guard investigation is under way. None of the seven people aboard, including Reed, was injured, but the boat – which had been chartered for a rockfish research trip – is a total loss. The sinking is a rarity in this fleet. The Conquest is the third San Diego-based boat to sink and become a total loss in 18 years. The Champ, with captain Mike Diamond, went aground off Baja in December 2002. No one was injured. But when the Fish'n Fool capsized off Ben's Rock near San Martín Island off Baja in February 1987, captain Gary Lamont and nine others were killed. That remains the only boating-related accident that resulted in fatalities in the long history of the San Diego-based sport fleet. A fourth San Diego boat, the Finalista 100, caught fire and sank off Morro Bay in December 1982 while running out of that port. Some captains could only listen early Monday as Reed dealt with the sinking and stayed in contact with the Coast Guard by radio. Captain John Grabowski, bringing the Red Rooster III back from a five-day trip, said he and other captains listened to the entire rescue on their boat radios. "It's real easy for someone to panic in that situation, but he kept his cool through it all," Grabowski said. "He kept his wits about him and handled it really professionally." Grabowski said other captains talked highly of Reed on their radios as the Conquests passengers and crew were taken off safely by a military boat from San Clemente Island. Reed and his crew and passengers were later transported to San Diego by helicopter. John Yamate, general manager at Seaforth Sportfishing, where Reed ran half-day boats as a young captain, praised Reed. "Absolutely the kindest guy you'd ever want to meet," Yamate said. "He started here in 1983 after running the Faith over at Islandia. He worked for Bob Williams on the San Diego and then moved over to run the New Seaforth in 1984 and ran that until he bought the Conquest. He's a terrific guy and was a fantastic operator for us." After the Conquest was built by Poole and Sansome, Sansome sold his part to Bruce Barnes, and Barnes and Poole sold it to Frank LoPreste, now owner of one of the fleet's premier long-range boats, the Royal Polaris, along with Fisherman's Landing and other sportfishing holdings. Other owners of the Conquest in its 38-year history included Gary Black, Joe Chait and Joel Ralston.”