Story last updated at 3:14 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2002

Hickory launches
photo: news
  Photos by the U.S. Coast Guard
The bouy tender Hickory, which will replace the Homer-based Sedge, slides into the Marinette River in Wisconsin last Saturday.  
Homer's new Coast Guard buoy tender, the Hickory, was launched successfully Saturday in Marinette, Wis., with a host of dignitaries standing by.

"It went very well," said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Cashin, captain of the Sedge and soon to become captain of the Hickory. "The ship went in well, and popped up just like it was supposed to."

Lula Young, wife of U.S. Rep. Don Young, broke the ceremonial bottle of champagne over the Hickory's hull after speeches by her husband and Coast Guard brass, Cashin said.

Then the 225-foot vessel slid into the Marinette River, where it will remain until Cashin and his crew take over later this year.

photo: news
  Photos by the U.S. Coast Guard
Photo by the U.S. Coast Guard Lula Young, wife of Alaska congressman Don Young, breaks a bottle of champagne during launching ceremonies.  
The first contingent of Sedge crew members, primarily engineering staff, will depart for Wisconsin in September to start learning how to run the new, high-tech buoy tender. They will return long enough to deliver the Sedge to California later this fall, after it is decommissioned.

The bulk of the Sedge crew, including most officers, will board the Hickory in January, with the last group signing on in February, about one month before the ship is officially delivered to the Coast Guard.

"With the Sedge, there was always someone there to train you," Cashin said. "With the new ship, there's no one."