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This’ll be my last post until mid-July. The Winooski and the Green Mountains beckon again. So what follows will “keep station” until then. It could be called +sum of parts 2. Decker pictures and tour dates/times follow. A full technical report of its 2005-06 rebuild is available here. Here’s my original tug tours post.


Starting in the wheelhouse, notice the elegant simple controls. The brass handle on right controls both engine rpms and transmission.  The wooden handle just right of the wheel locks the steering.


On the shelf under the wheelhouse, the vertical shaft transfers wheel spin to chain movement, which connects to horizontal conduited rods going astern along the house to the rudder. Think brake cables inside tubing going to calipers on a bicycle.


The army surplus GM 6-110 diesel has powered Decker since the early 1950’s.


Notice the wood planks, the stuffing box,  the after-portion of the propeller shaft, and bearings.


From starboard aft of the engine looking forward back toward the steering mechanism and small window to port.


Here’s that same window from the deck looking forward to the h-bitt and stem. That “window” pre-World War 2 was the coal chute opening for the original steam boiler that ran Decker.

For reservations, email RESERVATIONS@SOUTHSTSEAPORT.ORG.  Tours leave Pier 16 at 10 am on the following  dates:

Brooklyn Waterfront– June 30, Aug 4, Aug 18, Sept 22, and Oct 13.

Newark Bay –July 7, Aug 11, Aug 25, Sept 29, and Oct 20.

Upper New York Bay– July 28 and Oct 6.

North River –Sept 1 and Oct 27.

Oh, while I’m away, if you see something, say something by email or such.

Fotos here by Will Van Dorp

Previous posts here have mentioned pirates; an experience I had yesterday prompts another. I was eating a late midday lunch on the third floor balcony of Pier 17 before going sailing a shift of public sails as volunteer on Pioneer. Beside me on a teak deckchair sat a Chinese woman and a 10-year-old I took for her grandson. She was having lunch too while the boy crouched at the front of her chair immersed in a hand-held video game. The scratchy sounds emanating from the v-toy bothered me, but I felt generous, buoyed by a general joy about my life and the sights and sounds of the East River. No, Alice was nowhere to be seen, but so what. The grandmother, however, seemed unhappy; to any question she posed the boy [in some dialect of Chinese I understand nothing of], he grunted in a way that in any language means “don’t bother me.” Any food she offered, he declined. Any sight she pointed out, he ignored. He contorted his body such that his vision and his hands converged around the game. His avoidance of her and tuning into what I deemed grating electronic sounds went on for about 15 minutes. Then the black ship below approached the pier.



In tones less whiny than before, she called his attention to the ship. She repeated a sound that I took to mean “ship.” The excitement in her voice became palpable. “Ship, ship” she repeated, and for once the boy looked up. “See the captain,” said she, pointing to the helm where a man in black hat sat with a mysterious double.



A loud distant voice rose from the ship, counting down; then a simultaneous puff of white smoke and a loud boom, followed by echoes clattering off the buildings of the island of Manhattan, echoes like impact, tangible impact and not just sonic ones.

The grandmother’s voice had energy now, and the once ensnared boy put down his v-toy. Another puff and boom and he handed the toy to his grandmother, who took it as she continued to narrate the events to her grandson. She had all his attention now, she and the black ship.



Young voices now roared from the deck of the black ship. As the red-capped pirates lowered the sails and furled, the young pirates waved swords and shouted.





And the grandson, only moments before begging in a whiny voice for his grandmother to leave him to his electronic device, now seemed petitioning her as the powerful one in his life: “Please, grandma, may I go? Please let me join this band? This would be exciting. My life is so boring. Let’s go meet them at the dock.”



So grandmothers and grandfathers of all ages; hope for v-toy addicted young’uns exists only as far away as the end of Pier 16. Pirates sail again to liberate us from electronic dreariness!

Departing at 1 pm July 22 and August19, both Sundays at pier 16. $20 for young’uns and $30 for adults. Reservations: 212-748-8786.

All fotos, you guessed, Will Van Dorp

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June 2007