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When I posted about the race last year, I recapped the five previous years posts too.  See that here for part a and here for part b.

The day started early for me;  here at 07:01, not knowing I’d see her later in the morning, I passed Weddell Sea in the notch.

By 07:47, I was in the McAllister yard, thanks to Harold Tartell and of course the McAllisters.  Maurania III, also in last year’s race, will be the ride.

By 09:50, we were off Pier 84;  W. O. Decker and Meagan Ann were already there.

Aound then, Debora, Susan, and Shawn Miller lined up for a family shot.

At 10:01, it’s Pegasus and  . . .lo and behold . . . Weddell Sea has come out of the notch in the Upper Bay anchorage to join in the festivities.

I’ve never even seen this Little Toot. . .  out of Highlands, NJ, and she’s not so little.

10:06 . . .  Quantico Creek, Buchanan 1, Vulcan III, and Debora Miller begin to line up with us for the parade past Pier 84.

And when Weddell Sea and especially Lincoln Sea mingle with other boats, their size is apparent.  …  8000 hp, Lincoln Sea, appeared in K-Sea colors in the 2006 race.

10:43 some of the boats have turned around and waiting for the  race to begin . . .  the tide is flooding, adverse.

10:45 . . . note the two dark green tugs Gage Paul Thornton and Thornton Bros. still needing to turn around, as does

Freddie K Miller.  

If my camera clock is correct, the race started at 10:47, and

tomorrow I’ll get you the results.

It was great meeting/catching up with so many folks today, and again . . . thanks to Harold and McAllister towing for getting me on Maurania III.

Is Marion M (Greenport, NY 1932) on her own power projecting that potentially gorgeous deck before her?  Might she be?

I’ll be straightforward for once:  Marion M has been moved away from South Street because the museum needs space.  She is for sale. You/your organization can get information on purchasing her by contacting Captain Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum.  His tele and email are:  212.748.8772      jboulware@seany.org.

Some specifics on her history accompany bowsprite’s rendering here.  Wooden tugboat W. O. Decker (1930) demonstrates that she has the stuff  still in her.  Decker stays at South Street Seaport Museum.   Here and here are two of my many favorite bowsprite illustrations of Decker.

All these fotos come compliments of Jonathan Boulware, who took them in late June, as

Decker towed Marion M out to

her holding area on the KVK . . . where you can pick her up.

I wanted to add a few more fotos of Helen McAllister . . .

who also has at least one

more life ahead of her.   Here’s how she might look under her own power headed your way.

And with all this movement, what might Peking be thinking, saying . ..  .?

Uh . . . she can’t talk, can she?

Again, Marion M can be yours.  Contact Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum     212.748.8772      jboulware@seany.org      I’m told she’s listed in WoodenBoat‘s “Save a Classic” section, but I haven’t seen that yet.

I’d love to see her gussied up to 1932 standards.  I’d even put greenbacks and sweat equity in the project.  I’m reminded of what the “crazy farmers of Villiersdorp” managed to do . . . or the Onrust project in Rotterdam Junction.

Unrelated but NYTimes article about resurgence:  Cross-harbor rail about to expand exponentially on the sixth boro!!

… of course with boats, the number of “second lives” can astonish you, and (as for “last,”) see the note at the end of the post.  Helen’s tenure as “tryin ta be” museum artifact at South Street was more like a fourth life* already!

Anyhow, we knew departure would happen, just not when the day was.  But when I happened by minutes after nine this morning and I saw this . . .  my plans for the next few hours vanished . . . .

Helen sliding into the stream at the end of Deckers towline . . . meant only one thing.

0923 hr . . . Decker heads out to confer with Responder, who has often moved South Street vessels, including Peking four + years ago.

Responder asks Decker to go into the confined space to bring Helen to the dance floor.

Decker (and crew, of course) were thrilled to do this escort.

Long-timers at the Museum–Carlos, Victor, and Sal–get in last moments.

0953 . . . the tow gets made with Responder, and

the lines to Decker get

loosened.  Hand-over has happened.

For a short tense interval, the boats exchange sweet somethings, maybe some tears, and then

they waltz away . . . toward a future.

The Statue waves in recognition.

And Decker, as escort, has finished her duties by 1024 hr.

Such beautiful curves, such proud rake!    Surely there is another life

for Helen somewhere.  John Watson waits high on his cliff to get fotos of the tow heading into the KVK.

Thanks to John Watson for this foto and to Jonathan Boulware for assisting with my fotos.

And I’d really enjoy hearing your comments on any experiences you’ve had in the long life of the beautiful Helen (ex-Georgetown, ex-Admiral Dewey).  Does anyone have fotos to share of Helen docking vessels during 1992 OpSail?

“Last” . . . well, many boats have second, third, etc lives.  Helen is headed back to the McAllister yard;  SSS Museum needs to focus on fewer vessels.  What comes next is as unknown as . . . tomorrow.

Related:  Here was a previous significant day in SSSM involving major passages with the McAllisters.

* As to Helen’s previous lives, she was built in Port Richmond, Staten Island as Admiral Dewey for Berwind-White Coal;  see p. 8 of Erin Urban’s Caddell Dry Dock: 100 Years Harborside for a foto of Admiral Dewey.

A year ago I was pessimistic and wrote a bleak post and made this offer.  I have now officially passed some benjamins.   Last Saturday I went back to the South Street Seaport Museum and the new life excited me.  First, there’s this new blog, which I hope continues.  My friend John Watson, volunteer at the museum for decades and frequent contributor on tugster, has been responsible for many of the fotos.

Then, of course, volunteer spirit at SSSM has been irrepressible.  On Saturday February 18, over two dozen volunteers doing winter maintenance worked on or in four of the vessels at least.  A year of idleness has allowed rust to invade everywhere, rust that needs to be busted.

Hammers, chains, power grinders . . . whatever would combine with sweat to prep for rust inhibitor and ultimately new paint was pressed into service. I even set down my camera a few hours and assaulted some areas of rust, just because I enjoyed it.

Leaks were stopped, even if only with temporary fixes for now.

Hatches were sanded and painted.

It’s no simple cliche that rust never sleeps, and big projects like Wavertree require huge infusions of cash and effort to hold off the ravages of time.   But the spirit of volunteerism is also indispensible.This googlemap view shows where all the current museum vessels used to park.  Can you name them all?  Some may still go to better places.

Ambrose and Lettie G. Howard often docked in the open space here;  they are off-site for repair and refurbishing before they return.What really impressed me was inside Schermerhorn Row.  Floor 3 has “Super Models,”  ship replicas from the collection, smartly displayed.

It also has “Bottled Up,”  miniature vessels in glass.  And if you want to see how ships navigate the bottleneck, you can find a display on that too.

Contemporary hand tools are used rust-busting the ships outside, but Floor 4 has “Hand Held Devices,” an installation of scores of historic hand tools, some of

which you might not recognize, but

then there’s an interactive display that can

help with that too.

Floor 5 has “Coffee, Tea, Fish, and the Tattooed Man,” all

tributes to trades that once transacted just outside the building on the docks.

On the way back down, stop again on Floor 3 for a set of Edward Burtynsky‘s stunning fotos of shipbreaking in Bangladesh.

But don’t take my word for any of this. There’s more than I describe here.  And more to come . . . like the re-opening of some form of research library . . . .   Become a member.  Come and visit.  Stop by and bust rust.   The barge name here describes what’s happening at the Museum.

South Street Seaport is once again

alive!  My fotos don’t really do it justice.  Bravo to all who made this happen.

The foto I posted yesterday dazzled my image of Shooter’s.  Sure  . . . I knew it once saw shipbuilding operations beginning with David Decker’s yard, but I never imagined the scale.  And when that industry collapsed, the island was reduced to a speed bump.  Obliterate it was the solution proposed by a politician half a century ago.

If I try to put myself in the head of a Standard Shipbuilding employee there 90 years ago, I imagine he would wonder how many vessels the Shooters yard would be turning out a century hence, what cargoes they’d carry, and  to which ports.  Possibly he also wondered what part of the operation would employ his sons.  Never in his wildest dreams–I suspect–would he imagine a scene like the one passing earlier today.

He would never envisage such a ship from China with cargoes like the dominoes stack here.  Click here for fotos of Shanghai a little over a century back.

Xin Chang Sha, although barely a medium-sized container ship–is twice the loa and carries eight times the cargo deadweight than a Shooters vessel such as the 1919 San Teodoro.

On a given Saturday morning from sunrise to noon, Xin Chang Sha is one of  . . . half a dozen vessels bound for sea through the KVK.

Doubleclick enlarges.  This foto taken at the pool, just east of the Bayonne Bridge, looking toward Shooters.

Besides being a bird sanctuary, the island margins are also home to over a dozen ruins deemed “nationally significant” by the NPS Archeology Program for abandoned shipwrecks.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Indulge a bit of shameless self-promotion here:  If you haven’t voted yet in the Village Voice poll upper left, please do so and ask a few of your friends to do so too.   Just click on the link and then–after  putting in your name etc. paste in   tugster.wordpress.com  in #5 (best neighborhood blog) and #24 (best photo blog).  Thanks.

If you’re not familiar with AIS, click here.  Play with this tracking software.  Remember that not all vessels . . . especially smaller ones . . . use AIS.

Here are screen shots I’ve taken today.  Doubleclick enlarges. In this snapshot from 11 am Saturday, notice the large passenger and cargo vessels like Explorer of the Seas and APL Sardonyx in port here.

By 530 pm, a line of tugs (and likely barges) had  moved up to safer anchorage between the George Washington and the Tappan Zee Bridges.  So had New Jersey Responder.

A line of passenger and cargo vessels had headed for sea by 530 pm.

By 10:30 pm, this set of tugs (and barges) and yachts had moved even farther north . . . between Tappan Zee and Poughkeepsie bridges.

Furthermore, Pioneer, Lettie G. Howard, and W. O. Decker (none of which have AIS) had also moved north from the sixth boro to Kingston.

As I was told 21 years ago in the most precarious time of my life,  good night and good luck to all the vessels .

Either this foto is science fiction, fotos of Eagle –which arrives on August 5 appearing on this blog already on August 4– or

this is a rehearsal, including crew in the rigging and

vessel lining up for fotos shoots-future, a real 75-year-old barque 

doing dances with a 25-year-old replica, getting ready for

the official entry into the Upper Bay tomorrow.

Actually, I’d prefer you believe the sci-fi explanation, a narrative that allows me to believe these vessels (Peking, for example, was built at Blohm + Voss as was Eagle … ex-Horst Wessel …)  are heartsick to be bound, gagged, and held hostage at these piers . . .  rather than sailing and sallying forth to join the celebration.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  If you are anywhere near the Narrows tomorrow morning, watch reality catch up with sci-fi and witness Eagle sail her way (if there’s wind) up to the Statue.

Just a quick update:  I’ve heard from 11 people–some on email–willing to put up some money.  I intended this as pledging a la Public Radio/Television.  I had imagined that once a sizeable amount of money was pledged and a goal for the money was agreed upon, we could collect the money.  May Day–the seasonal one–arrives soon.  The dire one I hope never arrives.  To fuel the discussion, I’m putting up fotos never before (I think) never posted here.  Like Peking,

Lettie,

Helen and Marion, Pioneer without the orange raft,

Adam flaking,

schooners side by side,

Wavertree,

more Peking at Caddell’s,

and Decker.

Ambrose soon.  All fotos by will Van Dorp.

I’m offering to give away a Benjamin Franklin, or a half dozen.  And I’ll do it before May Day!!   See the end of the post.

The foto below–never posted here before–comes from 2005 and shows “the schooners,”  a handsome Pioneer (1885) and elegant Lettie G. Howard (1893), 244 years of sailing between them.    On a personal note, I logged in over 600 hours as a volunteer on these two boats as well as on W. O. Decker between 2004–2006.  That means winter maintenance as well as summer sailing.

Such nautical treasures are these vessels (left to right:  Marion M, Wavertree, W. O. Decker, and Peking) and so many fine folks, volunteers as well as professional crew, did I meet during this time . .  that

current developments at that place created as South Street Seaport break my heart and then make me angry.

When word on the street says Museum administration is looking to  “send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage” and otherwise declining comment on the crumbling state of affairs, I hope to hear that these same administrators abdicate their positions.  These vessels are no white elephants.  These are no “floating paperweights.”

During my years as an active volunteer, I knew this place could be much more than a red barn with seven masts sticking up above it.

Conditions of giving away my Benjamins:  current Museum president Mary Pelzer resign effective immediately and  a committee focused on the vessels be installed forthwith.  And, I’d like 1000 people (former volunteers, boat fans, former professional crew members, just plain fans of these vessels, or friends and friends of friends of any of the above)  to pledge at least a Benjamin each to be deposited with a trustworthy  and maricentric steward by May 1, 2011.   This could be the “seaport spring.”  Let’s not let this go to May Day.

See the selection below from yesterday’s New York Post.   Here’s info on a “Save our Ships” meeting for April 28.   All fotos above by Will Van Dorp.

“Abandoning ships: City’s old vessels lost in fog of debt, neglect,” New York Post, April 25. “Rotting wood covers their decks, their masts are flaked with rust, and their hulls are corroding.
New York’s last tall ships — once-proud symbols of the Big Apple’s rise to greatness — are in a shameful state of disrepair as the museum that’s supposed to care for them sinks in a Bermuda Triangle of debt and bad management. Seaport Museum New York has closed its landside galleries and is looking to send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage.
The museum’s stationary ships — Peking, one of the biggest sailing ships ever built, Wavertree, a three-masted cargo ship, and Ambrose, a lightship that a century ago guided sailors into New York harbor — face an unknown fate. ‘Those ships, which are emblematic of our heritage on the waterfront, are almost being left to rot,’ said Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit groups. . . . The museum declined comment, except to say it is ‘exploring various options’ to maintain its vessels.”

Keeping with tradition:  here’s #57.  Remember, doubleclick enlarges.

Unidentified kayaks foreground, and middleground from left to right: Layla Rene, Sea Bear, dredge Florida; and background, King Dorian (misspell of durian?).

Unidentified crew boat heading away and Barbara C approaching.

Kimberly Turecamo westbound.

Elk River westbound.

Pati R Moran headed to an anchorage.

W. O. Decker passes W O tanker called Sharon Sea.

Sarah Ann and unnamed blue sailboat painted almost DonJon blue.

McAllister Girls pushing dirt.

More of the kayakers taking Lucy Reinauer‘s stern, making helmsman a smidgeon nervous, I reckon.

Falcon and Houma tandem effort.

Unnamed Moran tug leading Caribbean Princess.

Carnival Glory foreground and some unidentified tugs in the distance.

Sorry about all the unidentified vessels today.  Maybe someone can help.

Meanwhile, some stories from the NYTimes this morning:  disputed waters between China and Japan AND Seamen’s Institute leaves Manhattan for Newark.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.

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