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L . . . line, of course.  No matter what type of vessel from ship to dinghy to raft to  . . . coracle, rope gets used.  And line?  My understanding is that rope used for a specific purpose is called line, e.g., clothesline.  And then line gets renamed according to its specific use, e.g., mooring line.  And not all these “renamings” involve the word “line,” e.g., halliard,  hawser.  And some line gets modified for specific uses and then renamed:  snotter.  And these modifications may be less or more temporary; e.g., knots, bends, hitches allow rope to be joined quickly to accomplish a specific task and then undone as quickly.  Too many  sentences starting with “and” and too many e.g.’s.

My friend below, identity obscured by his hat, practices throwing line over a bollard, a skill that,  when improved, reduces effort.


In other words, expertise trumps energy.


Line not in use awaits closest to where its needed and in condition to serve that use most efficiently.


The strength of line should be clear from this foto:  small diameter line relative to the tanker connects McAllister Responder during the transit through the Kills.


After transferring fuel, Capt. Log casts off lines in mere seconds.


Line appears in art because besides being functional, it’s just beautiful.  I find it gives pleasure not only to the eye but also the touch.

aaaal5Line has to be a word with one of the highest number of meanings in English, as you can see from this wikipedia list.  Before looking there, I ran a list in my own head and came up with such contrasts as “land line” and “waterline” as well as diverse uses like skyline, county line, treeline, date line, party line, blood line, fuel line . . .  you can continue this yourself if you wish.

The bottom line for me . . . line connects objects, maintaining the connection until it no longer serves a desired purpose, and then allows quick uncoupling.  There should be “line” solutions to more lived situations.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some updates:  the tug in Jed’s foto pulling the house boat is Patty Nolan, built in 1931 in Wisconsin.  The house was towed from 79th Street Boat Basin eventually to Kingston.  I’d love to see a closeup of the tug.  Info thanks to Capt. John Johnsen.

Also, thanks to Robert Brennan for identification of the chimney in the foto here behind the pilot boat.  It’s the New York Power Authority Pouch Terminal.

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July 2009