You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

This starts a new series . . . actually all those “random” tugs in the series that went up to 39 (use the search window to trace’em back) were never really random either.  But these . . . this new series . . . I won’t even pretend are “random.”  Like this Pegasus . . . I’ll have to consult with my dear friend of VHF vigilance (or anyone else) to learn how interaction of the airways distinguishes this Pegasus shown here in mid-KVK from the 1907 one.


With the next two I respond to mijn vriend zeebart, the irreverant skipper of a North Sea anchor-handling tug who has looow tolerance for the unusual, especially with respect to necks  . . . or upper wheelhouses.   I’ve never seen this Curtis Reinauer configuration before myself.  Was watch posted  here for unexpected weather or other skyward phenomena?


Bart . . . if you’re going to have fun with what-you-call strange in North American design, at least get some better fotos.  And yin agrees with my yang there.  Were Barbara C. and Robert J. engaging in some peculiar springtime mating dance?


Evening Tide, featured here many times already, sports a swan-mimicking curved neck you should just looove, Bart.


Finally, dedicated to one of the finest wits of the sixth boro, a gent I have utmost respect for, he of the red cap in this foto, the artist who recently sent along a foto he called “sisters of darkness,” of McAllister Sisters on its way to a dawn rendezvous with Iwo Jima, here’s a shot I’ll call sisters of light . . . or maybe sisters of reflection.


More non-random tugs surely to follow.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Pegasus approaches the tow,


deckhand thinks in synch with captain, boat . . . concentration is essential to make the tow.


What’s this, you ask?  I just happened to see this logo on a parked tour bus near Pier 84 . . .  well, the bus shown came into service one year AFTER the tug above!


But to see Pegasus in action, antiquity (A friend might call it “jalopyhood”)  is NOT what comes to mind.  Pegasus and crew can work. . .


local shifts or longer jobs.


If you see Pegasus in the sixth boro this weekend or docked anywhere along the Hudson this summer, come down and say hello, the preservation project still needs volunteers to power its projects.


If you can’t volunteer, well then


at least wave!


By the way, great name Pegasus . . . for  son of Poseidon and Medusa.

For more Pegasus fotos, click here and here.   Another Pegasus lives in the sixth boro;  maybe I’ll put fotos up soon.

All fotos taken this week by Will Van Dorp.

Appropriately I haven’t used this title in a year;  “government ships” entitled the post a year ago when I was in town for the grand entrance for Fleet Week 2008.  I’m indebted to the vigilant bowsprite for catching the recessional . . . the fleet processing out the sixth boro for watery parts not yet revealed.  Intended or not, schooner Pioneer certainly had an up-close-and-personal here with DDG-80 Roosevelt.  That’s Ellis Island, in one of its many moods, in the background.


Bowsprite also recorded Iwo Jima‘s exit past the Morris Canal.


Here Roosevelt received visitors for a week at the Manhattan passenger terminal.


Given my recent post on the gunnery to be carried aboard Onrust, whose maiden voyage to the sixth boro will happen next week, I made it a point to find out about DDG-80‘s Mark 45 inside the red circle below.


Bow view of LHD-7 Iwo Jima.  Note the lone sailor on duty at bow just to port of the mast; he was from Texas and thrilled by the New York welcome he got.   The surprises for me waited inside the “well” or well deck:


a landing craft with twin Kort nozzles (as well as some barnacles on the hull) and


(what’s this . . . an 11′ diameter propeller . . .


another 11′ diamter propeller ??)  Aha!  it’s the starboard and port propulsion fan of one  LCAC . . . with


some jacuzzi jet drive vehicle on its back.  I wish now I’d gone onto this small patrol craft, because it’s bringing to mind a children’s song about a hole in the bottom of the sea…  like    “there’s a inflatable on a patrol craft on the LCAC in the well deck of the LHD in the harbor . . . of the island at the center of the world . . .”   (Good luck trying to set that to music!)


But here’s the biggest surprise for me:  a sign that I believed carried some security code:  #NYCFW.  Wrong . . . this is twitter speak!!!!  The secret tweeting world I’ve avoided was staring me right in the face.


Many thanks to Jed and technosavvy Elizabeth for information used here.

Fotos 1 and 2 by bowsprite;  all other by Will Van Dorp.

Take one tug, in this case, Pegasus, launched in 1907, the same year as the completion of the Hoboken Terminal;


and one barge, in this case a wooden covered one called Lehigh Valley 79 and dating from 1914


and connect them with a hawser . . . and you’ve created the beginning of a summer tour,


the first leg of which perspicacious bowsprite documented with her one-of-a-kind camera.


Mix in  some outstanding programming in Manhattan and then, just like an old-time traveling circus, pull in the lines and travel to the next


town with the Lehigh Valley 79 on Pegasus‘ hip;  for starters,  cross over to the other side, to


Hoboken and


make fast the lines and


do more excellent programming


like staged readings of “On the Waterfront” and the Crimson Pirates (yes, that’s the Empire State Building in the background)


in an interior that looks like this . . .


and you have “summertime . . . and the livin’ is easy . . . good.”  Stop on by before June 5.

Keep your eyes open on the river this summer;  tug and barge have a schedule all the way up the river.

Unless otherwide credited, all fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Correction:  In fotos 3 and 4, the tug is NOT Pegasus but  Vulcan III, a close-up of which has appeared in this blog previously.

Summer begins on Memorial Day, and the summer solstice does in some instances go by the term “midsummer’s day and night,”  calendars begone.   I spent a delightful and long day yesterday working at Portside in Red Hook and watching, among other things, the traffic in the sixth boro.  Like two schooners–Clipper City scantily besailed and Pioneer wearing its four-piece suit–plying their trade.  That’s Jersey City in the distance.


Here Clipper City motors out of the East River.  That’s the Wall Street area of Manhattan in the background.  Off Clipper City‘s stern is Buchanan 10, and passing far starboard is the powerboat High Tea.  More fotos of High Tea in a later post.  Does anyone know more about her?


A crew on Ellen S. Bouchard worked yesterday, as did a crew on Pioneer, in the distance.


Here’s a close-up of Buchanan 10.


And it made my day to see she-who-does-not-requite Alice come back into town.  I don’t know if the aggregates she carries come–as they used to–from the St. Croix River area, but what endeared her to me to begin with is the sheer tirelessness of this vessel.  That’s what started it all, and–so much for what I said about being resoluteAlice . . . I still have a place for you.

aamem4Summer 2009 . . . yesterday started you well.

Robert Juet, in his  journal of  Henry Hudson’s third voyage, calls the small cannon aboard stone pieces or murderers.    Some call the weapon below a gun, meaning the bronze tube or barrel  in wooden truck, wooden tampion in muzzle mouth serving as a cork in a bottle to be removed before firing.  The two objects that look like heavy-duty beer steins are antique noise-makers called “thunder mugs,” demonstrated in this youtube video.


The end of the rod invisible inside the tube is the rammer;  it rams the charge back to the breech.  The opposite end made of sheepskin is called the sponge;  this wet sponge is used to ensure that no embers remain when the charge is loaded.  The rod lying on the table near the gunner’s right hand is called the worm or  screw and used to remove debris from the tube after firing.


The linstock is a rod holding a fuel-soaked rope used as a match, ignition.   It keeps the gunner at a relatively safe distance from the touch hole aka vent and gun.


Onrust will eventually carry these tubes plus four others


mounted on these trucks.


For Onrust launch day these were set up, but without vent holes drilled, they cannot function.


Why is this bollard so strangely shaped?


It’s a repurposed cannon in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  In this case, as weapons systems were upgraded, older tubes were redefined, not scrapped.  Like swords beaten into plowshares, these are barrels into bollards.


Memorial Day:  it’s about remembering those US military folks who died while fighting for our freedoms.  Some may not have wanted to take up arms or fire cannon, may have wanted all barrels turned into bollards or bells, but they fought anyhow, facing the fears, suspending their misgivings, struggling with nuances.  That’s eminently worthy of remembering this week and all year.

And back to Juet and Hudson, they did use their cannon on the trip 400 years ago;  follow the journey at Henrysobsession, updated biweekly aka halfmoonthly.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  See frogma’s slide show of Hudson River pageant here.  Looks like warm-up act for Mermaid Parade, less than a month away.

Kudos to Bowsprite for her tribute to Lilac and benefactor, Gerry Weinstein.  Lilac, an amazing name for a vessel that would today be part of Homeland Security, lies just north of Pier 40.   I cannot, but if you can, come to her 76th birthday party tomorrow evening.


And speaking of Bowsprite some more, she snapped me this foto of my ex- . . . Alice Oldendorff.  But I’m resolute . . . it’s over between me and Alice.  And a tantalizing foto,  . . .I’ve evolved past this and will only say kind things about Alice, but it could not be…   Besides, it looks like she has myriad suitors who, like me, adore the sculpture on its deck hatches.  Alice might just be an art-boat.


This summer will feature many historic craft on the river and in the boro.  Flagship,  I’m told, will be Erie Canal motorship Day Peckinpaugh.  See a better foto and schedule here.  Fred Tug44 has great fotos here.


Besides Onrust, another one of the historic craft is Half Moon.  Foto below was snapped mere hours ago by Jed, just north of Poughkeepsie.  What looks like smoke from a campfire on the far bank is actually my clumsy attempt at eradicating all traces of civilizations, trying to give the illusion of the primeval river system Henry saw 400 years ago minus a few months.  A new book called Mannahatta by Dr. Eric W. Sanderson attempts the same.  Bowsprite and I–as I mention maybe too often here–are attempting the same in our own modest fashion.  Could you help sending the link to henrysobsession around?


Fotos 1 and 3 by Will Van Dorp;  2 by Bowsprite and 4 by Jed.

Down river . . . awaits,  as does up canal.  The tamarack mast approaches verticality for the first time using

aaorthe hinge designed to get under low bridges.  The afternoon light, the ship’s lines and natural wood, the crew raising the mast, the absence of 21st-century detail in the background . . . it all made me feel transported to medieval Scandanavia, dredged up some voices from a previous life maybe.


Using the hinge, the mast can quickly swivel back down to fit under something.


I don’t know the name of the “horn” on port side of stem, but it functions (will function) as a bowsprit holder.  Bowsprite holder?  No further comment from me.


As I found no available small boat to take this foto from the proper location, I got this view as I could.


The same is true here.


My attention has always been drawn to the leeboards (zwaarden) of Dutch sailboats.  Even today my mother has Delft blauw dishery around her house, probably where I first saw these “fish-fin look-alikes.”  As a kid, I saw these as making Dutch sailboats as part-boat, part-fish.


“Ready about,” and I’m not sure what the command would be in Dutch;  I’m eager to see these boards swivel during a tack in coordination with other shifting surfaces.

In the first days of June, Onrust makes her way to the sixth boro.  I linked to this Schnectady DailyGazette article yesterday (although several hours after posting, so if you didn’t see it then, check it out).

This just in:  Henry, sailing the unhappy Dutch yacht Half Moon, has again sent an ungargled ungarbled message across time and geography.  Check it out here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

I have been truly privileged to watch Onrust grow:  the ship as well as the community and maybe the community more than the ship even.  Sure, it’s a replica of the first decked vessel in the “new world,” the first American yacht.  Onrust the original was a response to adversity:  Block’s Tyger burnt (sounds like William Blake) on the Manhattan shore, and Onrust was the response of crew who would otherwise have been stranded in . . . boring Manhattan… yeah and with nothing familiar around them.

Below are the lead bricks now ballasting the vessel, bearing names of folks who have ballasted the project.  By the way, each “brick,” which accurately describes the size, weighs about 60 pounds!  I know of what I speak, since i helped transfer them from one crushed pallet to a new strong one.  I’ve never handled gold bricks, but I’m guessing these are denser, heavier.


Onrust‘s passage into “shiphood” was marked by cheers and this lone bagpiper.


The sisters of St. Joseph came by to add their blessing.  Some timbers on the vessel come from an oak, estimated to be 400 years old, miraculously felled on convent property by lightning around the time the project was seeking lumber.  400 years, 400 years, eh?


This has to be the only crane in the Hudson watershed marked with a 400 banner.  Speaking of 400, here’s their schedule of events.


I won’t begin to list all the fabulous volunteers i met on this project, but they were literally drilling, hammering, painting . . . until Onrust began her unstoppable passage into shiphood, a transformation only possible when it floated.


It took the powerful trained eye of Bowsprite (see her own blog and our collaborative one) to notice the rudder straps–here being attached in the last half hour before SPLASH by the blacksmith–endow the restless one with a smile.


I can’t NOT see the smile now.  I won’t identify folks here, but blue shirts equal volunteers in this foto that also show some people who imbued the project with the vision needed to see it through this phrase.  First building . . .


and then it creeps through . . . penetrates the tree wall, negotiating its way into another medium . .. water and then a whole new phase begins, a phase called


SHIPHOOD!  Bravo Onrust project, clap for yourselves volunteers, Godspeed Onrust.  This blogger is humbled.  If this is possible, then what else is?

Some stats as I know them.  Weight lifted by crane:  about 20 tons.  Passenger capacity:  about 20.  LOA:  about 55 feet.  Please correct any errors.

By the way, here is an article from the Daily Gazette.  Since I had positioned myself down-the-bank to catch the vessel coming through the trees, I missed Greta smashing the champagne bottle on the bow . . .  and cutting her finger.  Sweat PLUS champagne PLUS blood . . . good omen!

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

In Fitzcarraldo, they pull a steamboat up a mountain;  in Rotterdam Junction today, they lowered one from the sky . . . or so it seemed from my spot on the bank of the Mohawk.


The morning started like this, then


trucks came as did the 250-ton capacity crane and caravan of counterweights, red tape got dealt with, and


crowds cheered as Onrust left its cocoon for the first time.


All the beautiful curves seemed ready to glide and then swim.


All 20 tons of Onrust lifted upward on slings and


then down she came


keel touched the wet and


the captain was first to come aboard.


Canal Corp’s tug Waterford and self-propelled crane barge assisted in moving  the lead ballast on board.


More Onrust fotos soon.  Lots of work fitting out remains for the vessel to arrive in the sixth boro on June 6.

All fotos, Will Van Dorp.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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

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Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

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.


May 2009
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