Denali is an 85 Foot, Luders Express Cruiser constructed out of timber in 1926. She was given to KoKa Media as a generous donation from the Pastega family in Tillamook, OR. She was designed by Alfred E. Luders and constructed at Luders Marine Construction Co. in Stamford, Connecticut in 1926 for Ernst R. Behrend of Erie, Pennsylvania (the same Behrend who owned Hammermill Paper Co. and who donated land to Penn State that is now 'Penn State Behrend Campus). Her hull is double planked with oak frames and teak deck. In 1942 she was bought by the US Navy, who replaced her twin Sterling gas engines with twin Grey Marine 6-71 diesel engines. Denali served as a US Navy Patrol Boat, YP-146 until 1946. Sources claim that Al Capone owned her at one time. She was owned by Mr. Jeff Farwell of Balboa, CA and was a fixture of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club where Humphrey Bogart enjoyed a night cap aboard Denali on occasion. Jeff Farwell's son, Lyman Farwell was best friends with a kid named David Fraser and the two boys spent many days and nights aboard Denali. David grew up to become one of the most renowned luxury yacht brokers in the world and started a company now known around the globe as Fraser Yachts.
Mr. Denny Pastega of Tillamook, Oregon purchased Denali in 2001. Denny's father, Mario Pastega was a well known entrepreneur and philanthropist who owned several Pepsi Bottling plants in Oregon and Denny himself is a philanthropist and entrepreneur who owns Blue Heron French Cheese Company (a destination attraction in Tillamook since 1979). When he purchased Denali, Denny wanted to restore her and use the vessel as a family yacht. However, not long after he bought Denali, Denny was the only survivor of a tragic airplane crash in Alaska that took the lives of three of his loved ones. After that incident, Denny was heartbroken and lost interest in Denali's restoration process. Denny kept Denali in a boathouse at Kappler Marina on Bridgeton Rd near the Portland International Airport in Oregon since he bought her. In 2015, a contractor forgot to plug in the power to the bilge pumps that constantly cycled to purge water that slowly leaked in through Denali's old hull. Denali took on water and sank overnight. Denny hired a crew to raise her and spent approximately $175,000 in an effort to salvage her. After Denali was raised, she was taken to a shipyard in Astoria where they replaced some planks and sistered a few ribs. They also stripped all of Denali's interior and repainted her hull. She's in remarkable shape considering she went under in the Columbia River with only her bow poking out of the water.
Our immediate goal is to find a property to lease where we can haul Denali out of the water and begin the process of restoring her. During the restoration, we will begin the design of a new propulsion system powered by renewable energy technologies. Denali will become a research vessel to test prototypes of zero-net energy technology that will power subsequent versions of Z-NEV, Zero-Net Energy Vessel. Financial contributions and donations of services and land are welcome.
"I am very excited about the Z-NEV and I look forward to participating this project. I will be more than happy to provide my expertise in Computer Science to help develop research ideas, solutions, and writing grant proposals for the project. In addition, I also welcome the opportunity to initiate hands-on software projects for my CS capstone class (a senior course I teach at WSUV)."
- Xinghui Zhao
School of Engineering and Computer Science Washington State University Vancouver
"I really like the sound of what you're trying to do! It ties in very closely with my own thoughts and goals.
I feel that one of the major problems with our society today is that most people do not have a solid understanding of basic science and engineering. This has led to a society which does not appreciate how awesome some of today's innovations are (and consequently do not appreciate the scientists and engineers who drive those innovations). It also sadly leads to them to sometimes being taken advantage of by less scrupulous people who peddle impossible machine and devices. So anything that we can do to raise people's knowledge and understanding of STEM is definitely a good thing."
Robert A. Paxton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator MMET Department at Oregon Institute of Technology Wilsonville