Onward

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Onward (#218081) (1919-1950), 64.5-foot wood-hulled tender of 52 gross tons with one mast and a cargo boom built in Wilmington, California in 1919 and purchased by N. R. Vail (Vail & Vickers) in 1921 for $7737. For over two decades Onward was kept moored at Santa Rosa Island and used to transport food and supplies. Most of the time, she was the island's only link to the mainland, as there was no radio or television on the island until much later. In 1939, Onward was surveyed at a replacement cost of $16,800. Vail & Vickers sold her in August of 1942 for $4500 to the DeLuxe Water Taxi Company. At the time, Vail & Vickers also owned the Vaquero. They had hoped that by owning just one vessel during the war that they would be allowed to keep Vaquero. Such was not the case, and the government took Vaquero for service in the war.

Onward was again sold in 1944 and 1947. On February 22, 1950 under the ownership of the South Pacific Canning Company, Onward had a fire on board and sank five miles west of Cat Harbor at Santa Catalina Island. Al Vail remembered well her “leaky old gasoline engine.”



In the News~

February 21, 1939 [LAT]: “Lost fishing boat wrecked on reef. Santa Barbara, February 20. — That the fishing steamer Lobo, for which the Coast Guard cutters searched fruitlessly for several days, was lost last Thursday night and abandoned a total wreck on a reef off Santa Cruz [Rosa] Island, was disclosed here today with the return of Capt. B. W. Stephens, owner. Marvin Stark, lone crew member, returned with Stevens on the island steamer Onward. The Lobo's dog mascot swam ashore with Stephens and Stark. They walked from the scene of the shipwreck along the beach to Santa Rosa Ranch.”