High Point, PCH-1
A city in central North Carolina.
Builder: J. M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation, Tacoma, Washington.
Draft: 17' (foils down)
Displacement: 110 tons
Commissioned: 15 August 1963 (USN);
Disposition: Returned to USN
Machinery: General Electric turbine (foil-borne)
Performance & Endurance:
Max: 48 knots (foil-borne)
In the mid-1970s the Coast Guard explored options to replace its aging 95-foot cutter fleet. There was also considerable interest in developing new "high-speed ways" to combat narcotics smuggling by sea, conduct search and rescue operations, fisheries enforcement, and marine environmental protection. The Coast Guard, of course, looked for the most inexpensive way to test new platforms and when the Navy offered the use of some of their hydrofoils at "virtually no cost," the Coast Guard jumped on the opportunity. The Navy loaned the Coast Guard both the USS Flagstaff (PGH-1) and USS High Point (PCH-1) for a short period beginning in late-1974. The Flagstaff was scheduled for evaluation first and the High Point was scheduled for evaluation in early 1975.
The High Point was launched on 17 August 1962 by J. M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation in Tacoma, Washington. Boeing had designed the craft and subcontracted her construction to Martinac. She was sponsored by Mrs. William H. Allen and was placed in service 15 August 1963. The craft carried out tests in Puget Sound from 1963 through 1967.
She was transferred to the Coast Guard in early 1975 and she was painted in Coast Guard livery. Members of the evaluation crew of Flagstaff cross-decked to High Point which still had three Navy crewmen remaining aboard. She first began evaluations in Puget Sound and was then sent to San Francisco in the spring of 1975. As the hydrofoil prepared to moor at Treasure Island, her turbine blew. The $300,000 cost of repairs was prohibitive and the Coast Guard returned her to the Navy and ended the evaluation program.
Cutter History File. USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.
Robert Scheina. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.