- This is about the first dredge; for other Beets dredges, see Viking Fleet
Tony Beets "The Viking" 's own boat (Beets Dredge #1), part of the Viking Fleet, is a 350t 75-year old floating industrial bucket dredge, built in 1939. Tony bought it in season 5 when it was on Clear Creek at the Clear Creek Claim. Prior to his $1million purchase, the dredge had not run for 30 years. When it became operational, it is the only currently operating industrial gold bucket dredge in North America. The dredge is to be moved to Eureka Creek onto his Eureka Creek Claim and operated by his Beets Crew.
The dredge can do 100cu-yd/hr. If averaging $20/cu-yd for gold, then the dredge can run 24/7, so have $350,000/wk, ending with $7.5million in a standard 5-month Klondike season, but can run 7-8 months in a season. The dredge has no rudder, nor propulsion engine, and is maneuvered with the dredge chain, and dredge tractors on dry land to which it is tied to.
- First built: 75 years before season 5 (1938)
- Last used: 27 years before season 5 at Clear Creek Claim on Clear Creek
- Purchase cost: $1million just before season 5 by Tony Beets
- Processing: 2yd/min
- Displacement: 350-t
- Best year: 5252-oz
- Tailings conveyor: 85-ft long
- Dredging ladder: 30t
- Wheelhouse: control center for dredge
- Trommel: 25-ft long
- Bucket line: 130-ft long, 72 cast iron buckets, 660 lbs. ea., 3-in dia. steel connecting pins, 24t line
- Pontoons: 19 steel boxes
- Spud: that piles into the bed below the dredge allowing the dredge to rotate about and hold in place
- 150 I-beams
The dredge ran for for 22-yrs, catching $55million in gold. The dredge was idled when gold prices fell. Then in the 1980s gold went up, and the dredge was refurbished, and run until 1988, when gold dropped again, and was not used until Tony Beets bought it. At the time Tony bought it, it had not run in 27 years. The best season the dredge had, it caught $5million in gold. The dredge's trommel was originally installed before WWII. The buckets processed over 2yd/min lifting paydirt 60-ft to the trommel. Before Tony bought it, the bucket chain had not been moved for 30 years, and rusted together.
Tony intends to have the dredge up and running for end of season 5 or season 6. It is to be disassembled and moved to a different location. It should be able to run a 7 or 8 month season, while most miners run only 5-month seasons in the Klondike. The dredge is located at Clear Creek, 150-mi, a 3-hr drive, from Tony's primary claim, Paradise Hill claim, where he wants to move it.
Tony Beets buys dredge just before season 5. He proceeds to disassemble the dredge during season 5, hoping to have it up and running at the end of season 5, or the start of season 6. The dredge is located at Clear Creek at the beginning of season 5, and is to be moved to the Paradise Hill Claim to start dredging there. It took 11 weeks to disassemble and move the dredge to Paradise Hill claim, Tony's mine, at the halfway point of the mining season. He then moves all the parts to the Eureka Creek claim to reassemble. Disassembly took 3 months, 4 weeks longer than Tony had planned for. While reassembling the dredge it is found that the breaker panel was destroyed in the disassembly, so the dredge will only run at one speed without the complex breaker panel. The whole move takes about 6 months from disassembly to assembly, including time taken out due to lack of bolts, not including time to replace destroyed parts that are not available by the end of season. When they try to refloat the dredge, it springs a leak, so they have to drain the drydock again. After fixing the pontoon, they start up the bucket line, and start dredging, and start washing. The washplant feed lines have leaks. The Beets end up sluicing some gold out of the first run.
Tony mines at Eureka Creek at season 6
In season 7 the dredge continues to mine at Eureka Creek. Near the start of the mining season, a pontoon springs a leak, and partially sinks, taking a day to rescue.