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I post this as the race is approaching its finish; see live tracking at the bottom here.

Twenty-fours hours ago Baltimore-based Chock WYTL-65602 was leaving Annapolis to go on station as pin boat 1 . . . the west side of the starting gate.  Pin boat here takes on a whole new meaning.  For a Chock-sibling with a different mission, see bowsprite’s latest here.

Norfolk Rebel, currently itself transformed into a schooner and sailing, was the other pin boat.  Here the jaunty captain and crew relax as schooners arrive at the starting line midday yesterday.

Condor was our platform, dashing around trying to catch the arriving schooners as they plotted a “red-carpet” course toward the pin boats.  No offense to the smaller, class B boats . . . the faster ones . . . but we focused on the larger class A boats.  First in was A. J. Meerwald.  Links to many of the vessels can be found here for full info, but Meerwald is 84 years afloat.

Next across the red carpet . . . Sultana . . .

Lady Maryland . . . whom I sawsome years back in the sixth boro,

Some of the class B boats like the one in the distance . . . I never could identify.  Any help?  RORO is Rigel Leader.

Mystic Whaler and unidentified in background.

And the two vessels  (sort of) that started it all . . .  From l to r, 1916-launched, Tottenville NY-built Virgina  and Pride of Baltimore 2.

Kings Pointer . . .  Summerwind, a 1929 Alden schooner, and unidentified smaller vessels.

Anyone identify these?

Libertate.

A part of the field just minutes before the starter-cannon.

When a schooner races starts on a day with little wind, vessels crowd on all manner of sail, and yet . . . the “natives” on SUPs pass them.  I believe the schooner is Prom Queen, now vying for first across the finish line.

Mystic Whaler and Summerwind, with bulker Clipper Emperor in the distance.

Part of the field follows.  Notice the difference between the start of a schooner race and a tug race.

First Coast bypassed the schooners towing a barge and was already in Norfolk by the wee hours today.

The natives sat down on their boards and hung out at pin boat Chock,

as racers rocket south toward Norfolk.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Thanks to anyone who can identify some of the vessels I could not.

More from the race’s start tomorrow.

The event is called Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, so indeed, it’s a water festival, a river fest  started by a folksinger, now 93,  who cares deeply about

the river that flowed past his birthplace.  A river festival means boats.

Of course, Clearwater in the distance is the flagship of this festival, and the big sloop spawned the smaller sloop Woodie Guthrie closer in.

The festival takes place on a peninsula where you see the tents in the middle of the foto.

It’s called Croton Point Park, about 30 miles north of Manhattan’s north tip.

But this location is surrounded by shallow water, so temporary docks are needed, which means small shallow draft tugboats like Augie (1943 and on the first job of her new life) and

Patty Nolan (1931 and available for charter). . .   And the red barge is Pennsy 399 (1942!!) .

Also taking passengers during the festival is Mystic Whaler, here with Hook Mountain in the distance.

Here’s the northside of Croton Point last evening looking toward Haverstraw.

Exactly five years ago I took this foto from a small boat just off Pioneer‘s bowsprit.   Here are more fotos from that day.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who might go back for some music tomorrow.

But first . . . Blue Marlin has sailed!!  I went upriver Sunday midmorning, and soon thereafter, she headed for sea.  Actually for Bonny Town, ETA July 4, 2011.  Click here to see what this Niger River delta town looks like, and then you’ll know why they’re buying tugs–like ex-Curtis Reinauer below–and barges.  The link explains the unusual house configuration.  If anyone got fotos of Blue Marlin exiting the Narrows or  wishes to shares fotos of the journey, please get in touch.

Click here for history, economics,  and controversies related to the Niger delta.   The Niger River, 14th in the world in length, flows through unlikely places such as Timbuktu–high on my “gallivant list”–and drains 10 nations.  Name them?

 Yesterday I volunteered on Pegasus for the Riverdale Riverfest.  In fact, Robert Apuzzo just sent this foto; I’m the tall guy in faded blue on the “upper deck” in the gap between the stack and the house.  I volunteer because it’s fun and important.  As “safety officer,” I help ensure no one gets hurt, and since I like to talk, I answer questions.  I’ve noticed people like to see the boats but also their own communities FROM the river.    Ensuring “guest safety” is vital and sometimes difficult;  a tugboat has industrial-strength hazards . . . it moves and steel is hard and forgiving, yet it is a fascinating opportunity:  throbbing noise and vibration, power of invisible prop and rudder and versatile line, huge engine, …

Believe it or not, Riverdale IS in the Bronx!  Therefore, this water too is the sixth boro of NYC.  By the way, in the background are the Palisades on the Jersey side.

Cornell was there also, here coexisting with human-powered vessels (HPVs).   I love to kayak myself, but I suspect people in some HPVs underestimate commercial vessel speed and over-estimate their own visibility.

Spud barge Black Diamond served as a makeshift dock, serviceable but labor-intensive but the popularity of festivals like this illustrates the value of serviceable commercial docks in many more Hudsonsonian towns and cities.  Imagine not only entertainment but also food coming ashore from boats for several reasons including reducing highway congestion.   Vessels in Riverdale included also Mystic Whaler (1967 reproduction of a coastal cargo schooner) and fireboat  John J. Harvey.  Of course, the distinctive red barge is the itinerant  Waterfront Museum, aka 1914-built Lehigh Valley 79.

These festivals showcase the skill of  maritime professionals and, though fun, are stressful and laborious.

Just north of Riverdale is Yonkers.  This foto of Yonkers as a storm chased us upriver in 2010 shows two frequently inquired about buildings on the this part of the Hudson:  the Yonkers Power Station and the “Blue Cube,” which has had lives as diverse as a test lab for PhelpsDodge and a movie studio.

Yesterday a young peregrine (?) feasted on a fish high atop the Power Station.

Traffic headed up and down the Hudson is diverse:  trawler Manitou from Ludington, MI,

MV Universal Amsterdam with a load of sugar,  escorted here north from the George Washington Bridge by Mary Turecamo and Margaret Moran,

trawler Muddy Waters from Miami Beach, FL,

Thomas Witte towing a tall load of scrap metal for export,  and much

much more.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, except the one thanks to Robert Apuzzo.

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My job . . . Summer AND Fall 2014

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

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Tale of Two Marlins

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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