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When a strangely luxurious Soviet cargo ship sank in Portland Harbor in 1944, it inspired a local legend. BY PETER MARSH

76 NORTHWEST YACHTING || NOVEMBER 2019

THE TSAR'S * LOST YACHT

*W H E N T H E L E GE N D BE C OM E S FAC T, PR I N T T H E L E GE N D. There are many books devoted entirely to shipwrecks on the Pacific Northwest coast, especially at the notorious Columbia River Bar. One hundred miles inland, the maritime casualties around Portland have lacked the big waves, rocks, and loss of life on the western shore. That was the case in the loss of the Soviet cargo ship Illitch that

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sank in Portland Harbor on June 24, 1944, not with a bang, but a whimper. This dramatic event was as close as Portlanders ever came to seeing the loss of a ship in wartime, though there was never any evidence that it was caused by sabotage. The cause was likely a mistake in ballasting, which happens occasionally even in the 21st century, or a leak in

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The best of boating lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest - featuring Northwest Yachting's Annual Holiday Gift Guide, a feature on Power Boat T...