ILWACO - It was a day that will long be remembered. A gripping account of the dangers wrought by the high seas, whether to the hardy folk who make their living off the bounty of the ocean, or to the brave men of the Coast Guard, Gary J. Hudson vividly brings to life an unforgettable day when "They Had to Go Out: The Triumph-Mermaid Tragedy."

There will be a book sale and signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11, at Time Enough Books on the waterfront at Ilwaco. For more information or to reserve a copy of the book, contact Karla Nelson at 642-7667. A memorial service will be held at the cape at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Written with a Coast Guard insider's perspective, "They Had to Go Out" is a detailed re-telling of the events of Jan. 12, 1961, that led to the disaster at sea involving the 38-foot fishing boat Mermaid and the Coast Guard's 52-foot motor lifeboat Triumph. It shows the unfortunate confluence of factors: the inexorable forces of nature, design flaws of the boats - and human error.

Meticulously researched and full of details to satisfy aficionados of sea-going vessels, this is a book that saves for posterity that remarkable day when the courage and determination of men - especially of the Coast Guard - were tested to the limit. It serves as a reminder how "They Had to Go Out" - but that sometimes they may not come back.

In 1979, Hudson retired as a chief boatswains mate from the U.S. Coast Guard after 20 years of service. Ten of those years, he served at coastal lifeboat stations in the Pacific Northwest. He served two tours at Station Point Adams in Hammond, Ore., and two tours at station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco.

In 1961, Hudson served as a seaman at Point Adams and was transferred to a light station a few days before the Triumph-Mermaid tragedy. In future tours at Point Adams and Cape Disappointment, he served as a qualified heavy weather coxswain and surfman.

For more information, log on to ( or call 888-795-4274.

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