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She speeds between a McAllister and a tanker,

dashes past some more tugs,

and carrying the checkered flag speeds westbound in KVK toward Newark Bay. What’s that flag? What missions lie ahead? Check the Sea Ark site here to see what non-orange boats they build.

Unrelated to the speedy Michele Jean, check out “Secrets of the Deep,” John Colapinto’s must-read article from the April 7, 2008 New Yorker magazine, telling of the disputed ownership of “the biggest sunken treaure ever” off Spain. A link to the beginning here.

Tractors . . . sometimes even have half-tracks like this old orange Allis Chalmers waiting near the fire line on this fallow muck field. As a kid, I harvested beets here and saw this old AC designed to work the muck.

Orion–she without props–is a totally other tractor. Tractor tugs have low superstructure to avoid ship’s hull flare (compare with the towering tugs in “Richmond” post) and almost 360 fendering and windows. Square shape and directional propulsion increase maneuverabilty. Location of bubbles to port shows direction. Foto by B Thibault; thanks Ted.

Ellen McAllister, built in 1966 with conventional screws, took on z-drives in 2007 as part of a major refit. Some tractors even have a fair amount of submarine fendering.

Gramma Lee T. Moran, a z-drive tug built in Boothbay, Maine, dates from 2002. Great fotos here from Fred. Good fotos of the thrusters and Kort nozzles in this link to the Bangor newspaper.

Since I inadvertently deleted a comment from Jed on tractors, I retrieved it and pasted his input here:

“Kurt and Laney Chouest  contend that their ECO (Edison-Chouest Offshore) Tractor Tugs are TRUE tractors in that their Azimuthing Drives (Z-Drives) are FORWARD of ‘midships and PULL the boat vice PUSH.

ELLEN McALLISTER & ROBERT McALLISTER are retrofitted Navy YTBs with Azimuthing Stern Drives (ASD) and like to use the term REVERSE TRACTOR since the drives are aft instead of forward. It’s funny ‘cuz if you ever see an ECO Tractor Tug doing her thing, she made up backwards to get the most distanced between the unit she’s working and her drives. IMHO it’s a marketing ploy.  If the technology was THAT great all ZBoats would have their drives forward of ‘midships, but they don’t…most boats sport ASDs or the VSP eggbeaters.”

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