You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2011.

As illustration of decay, see this foto I took late winter 2008, and

this  . . . earlier this week.  Details about this vessel, Bayou Plaquemine, were given a few days ago . . . here.

Excuse the blurry foto below that shows an unidentified vessel to Bayou…’s starboard, seen

closeup here.  A puzzle to me it is, as

is the wooden vessel resting along the bow portside of the red tugboat below and in these fotos (see the 5th and 6th ones) from a few days ago.

Compare my fotos here (2011) with Tom Kirsch’s from a few years back (2005?).  Time and weather yield annihilation, eradicating identity,

obliterating memory, and creating puzzles occupied by mute ghosts.  Anyone recognize starboard (to the left of PC-1217 portside engine detail lower center ) or

bow or

more starboard of this many-riveted vessel?  Or the stern of the nearer one?

Or this one . . .  bow and metal house once defined a single vessel here.

The change of design is such that I can’t recognize the parts here, not surprising given how recently I’ve come to these puzzles, but is this a cylindrical coaming for a barge and

are these chains on rods part of a dredge?  Can you assist in any identifications here?

Or these three

along Hila’s portside

or this one, stern view . . . beyond where–I believe–Abram S. Hewitt once lay–along Hila‘s starboard side?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Any ideas?  Note the pulley and cable fitted into the metal knees supporting columns, once vertical but now leaning to almost “two o’clock.”

Here’s a decaying and woebegone version of what Lehigh Valley 79 preserves.  This may be younger edition, even.  And note the metallic vessel over in the lower left corner of the foto;  it’s foto 4 in this post.

Is this an elements-diminished Orange, built 1914 in Newburgh at T. S. Marvel Shipbuilding?

Read the text between the two intact portholes?  Here’s what John wrote on Opacity five years ago:  ” Truly a sad and melancholy scene, one that truly saddens the heart of any enthusiast of classic harbor ferries. That ferry was one of the old diesel-electrics operated by the City Of New York from 1959 to 1966. The wreck in this picture is either the remains of the SEAWELLS POINT or her sister, JAMESTOWN. These two ferries were built in 1926 by the American Brown Boveri Electric Corporation of Camden, NJ. During the 60s, these two boats operated between E. 134th St in the Bronx, and Rikers Island, until a bridge was built in 1966. The ferries last ran on October 31, 1966.”

Sewell’s Point was initially delivered as  Greenville Kane in November 1926;  later it went as Palisades before rechristening as  Sewell’s Point.  Anyone have fotos of her operating in conjunction with the 1964 World’s Fair?

I wonder  what passengers these decks have trod . . . and from and to what missions, tasks, assignations . . .   this makes me think of the Edna St Vincent Millay poem . . .  By the way, the top foto above shows the underside of the wheelhouse of Sewell’s Point, where cables moved between the wheel and the rudder.

And this . . . looking forward . . . quadrant submerged and sheltering a crab;  with H-bitt once worn shiny with line now gone,

an engine head long gone cold

a house top rearing back like a stallion dying from the hind legs forward . . .   and is that a collar between the boiler and the longago-toppled stack?

Alas, what once was Ned Moran . . .  and a half decade ago looked like this . . . or this even before.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

(Double click enlarges.)    Do that and behold ATR-89, once an ATR-1 class rescue tug.  The original ATR-1 was built at Wheeler Shipbuilding Corp. in Queens, NY.  At that link, I’m a fan of ATR- 28 and 76, given their dazzle paint.   I believe the last extant ATR-1 tug afloat sank at her mooring in British Colombia a few years back, and I’ve no idea what has happened since.  Click here for more fotos at the Marine Heritage Society of Vancouver.

ATR-89 later known as Hila launched from Burger Boat in Manitowoc, WI in 1944.  Anyone have fotos from then?

As an indication of deterioration at the site, the foto below taken in May 2010 shows (not far from ATR-89′s starboard side) a prow and hull portion no longer visible 14 months later:  crumbled, disappeared into the silt.  Click here for a list of other ATRs.

Marietta Manufacturing delivered this vessel as LT-653 in June 1944 in Point Pleasant, WV, a yard that closed in 1967.

I wrote about it here last year, including fotos of this vessel as Bloxom, here

eternally (or for the foreseeable future) pushing against the wooden hull of a vessel long unidentifiable.  Is that a rudder post sleeve (not sure of the technical term)  in the foreground?

And here’s sub chaser PC-1264, Bronx-built and a vessel quite important in the racial integration of African-Americans in the US Navy for tasks/training other than galley duty.   Read her history in the link above.    Like Hila and Bloxom, PC-1264 was delivered in 1944.   PC-1264 is less well preserved than PC-1217, from yesterday’s post.  The port side of its bow has been ripped open.  The last time this blog has featured a vessel built in the Consolidated Shipbuilding site (now Roberto Clemente State Park) was here . . . and examined an iceboat.  The link for Roberto Clemente State Park mentions nothing at all about this space usage prior to becoming a park.

Of all the links in this post, this one is probably the most interesting… with fotos

of its service life.    I’d love to hear stories about crew of PC-1264.

Parts from the nefarious ex-PC-1611 were used to restore the only extant sub chaser

of this hull design, Le Forgueux, now a museum vessel in the Netherlands.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who welcomes corrections and additions.

Remember, doubleclick enlarges.  Any ideas what you’re looking at?  Notice parallel “vertebrae” center left and right;  right side is submerged below the “barrel,” and left side four white tips emerge from sunken “structure.”   Just in case your life doesn’t have enough puzzles, I’m injecting this one.

I love easy puzzles as respite from the daily complications of life.  So . .  this is easy with “bayou plaquemine” on the port side bow of a wreck.  Here’s what Matt (?) wrote six years ago on Opacity:

” This ship was originally built by DeFoe Shipbuilding, Bay City, MI in 1921 for the U.S. Army and comissioned as the steel-hulled Junior Mine Planter (JMP) MAJOR ALBERT G. JENKINS. The vessel and crew were assigned to the Fourth Serivce Command during World War II and homeported at Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, FL . She was decomissioned in 1951 and sold to the Oil Transport Company, New Orleans, LA. Renamed BAYOU PLAQUEMINE [Coast Guard registery 261281], she was rebuilt as a tug. In September 1966 she was sold to the Nickerson Marine Towing Company of Tampa, FL, retaining her name. McAllister Brothers, Inc. of New York, NY purchased the vessel in June 1968, renaming her COURIER. She was scrapped in 1972.”

Puzzle solved . . . . well here comes the fun:  why mine planter and not mine layer . . .    who was Major Albert G. Jenkins . . .   are there any fotos of COURIER in her McAllister colors between 1968 and 1972 . . .  and does anyone know anyone who crewed her?

Text . . . almost as illegible as hieroglyphics . . . frustrates, but this is

“Michigan.”   Here’s a quote from a tugster post last year:  “Jeff identified it as “canal tanker Michigan.  Built by McDougal Duluth S B in 1921 as Interwaterways Line Incorporated 105, shortened to ILI-105 in 1935 before becoming Michigan. She carried caustic soda, vegetable oil , liquid sugar and such on the Erie and Welland canals. Twin screw.”  For the record, Day-Peckinpaugh was ILI-101–the prototype–built in the same year.  Thanks much, Jeff.  See an image of ILI-105 in her prime here.”  For now, Michigan carries a load of living trees, scale, and memories;  I’m guessing she went out of service before I was born .  . uh . . . 1952.  Seriously, anyone know when she retired?  I’d  say Michigan –by design and intention– slightly senior relative of Kristin Poling . . . 1934.

I hope this isn’t cheating to copy and paste, but I am reiterating info from last year and the questions it generated:  ” YOG-64 was delivered to the US Navy in May 1945, arrived in the Pacific just after the end of the “9th inning,”  served in various capacities at Bikini Atoll during Operation Sandstone, judged decontaminated and decommissioned, spent two decades hauling fuel as M/T Francis Reinauer, and has rested here since the mid-1980′s.  Anyone know of a foto of Francis Reinauer?”

For me, this is new territory.  Can you make out the text?

It’s PC-1217, one of two WW2 submarine chasers in slow-motion decay within the waters that make up the sixth boro.  PC-1217 was built in Stamford, CT and first deployed out of Tompkinsville, Staten Island.  Can anyone identify the tug to the right?

In PC-1217‘s five-year career with the Navy, it underwent one major rebuild in Jacksonville, FL after taking a beating in a “great hurricane.”  Before 1953, it seems hurricanes were just referred to as great.  So to get back to the “vertebrae” in the topmost foto, they are the tops of the twin HOR engines that once moved this vessel at 19 or so knots through Atlantic seas.

As for that other puzzle . . .  John Watson, frequent contributor to this blog, has traced Blue Marlin to its current location:  notice it moored along the great Mississippi downstream a few miles from New Orleans.  I’ve no clue what’s loading down there, but if someone wants to arrange a “business gallivant” for me, I’d already packed.

All fotos today  by Will Van Dorp, who feels empowered to tackle bigger puzzles after solving these.  More soon.  Many thanks to Ed, James, and Gary for their help.

Unrelated:  Rick “Old Salt” put up a great video on short sea shipping on the Manchester Ship Canal.

Transitioning from the “farm tugs” post, enjoy Governor Roosevelt, sister of Governor Cleveland,  both came to the canal to  break ice and do other tasks in 1927 as steam tugs.   If you add the ages of Governor Roosevelt, Governor Cleveland, and Urger . . . you have almost three hundred years of boat work.   I found Roosevelt hauled out last weekend along the Erie Canal in Lyons.

Edna (1997) was hauled out for some work recently along

the KVK.

Here’s a first sighting:  Coney Island, built by

Blount in 1958.  Here’s George (a 2009 vessel with a simple name)  taken recently in Lake Charles, LA.

And (once again . . . might she be languishing?) Grouper, a year away from a century old.  This is how she looked last weekend, and I’d love to hear an update on efforts to bring her back to life, lest she become HMS (heavy melt steel).

George foto comes thanks to eastriver;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

Many thanks to fjorder and Les for their comments to yesterday’s post.  To follow fjorder’s link, check out this youtube of a tractor using a PT boat Packard V-12.  Against this context of of tractor/tug parallels, including references to “tractor tugs,”  I offer a reprise of fotos and reportage on the Pageant of Steam.  For me, seeing fire shoot out the “straight pipes”  was magical.  Remember . . . double click enlarges most fotos.

Although wood or even straw could have been used, coal created the fire  under the boiler on this Frick Eclipse built

96 years ago.  I look at a steamer like this and imagine what its contemporary technology was:  Pegasus was 8 years old when this left the factory;  Grouper was three, and Pioneer was an adult 30

The Pageant features not only wonderfully restored steamers like this pre-1910 Sawyer-Massey but also farm and craft machines that these engines would power like

the belt-powered  McCorrmick-Deering thresher, 1912 hay baler, and a sawmill . . . all operating.

Or here, the 6-hp engine turning this roasting spit (oh . . . that beef turning over the coals smelled irresistible) was manufactured by

Fairbanks Morse, who started with farm machines and transitioned into engines for locomotives and ships.

Caterpillar (who made the “Sixty” between 1925 and 1931) started with farm equipment and evolved into their  huge contemporary array of heavy engines and machines.

Guess the function of the curved rod tipped with a red knob and located between the rear wheels of this Fageol?

Call it a huge mechanical joy stick if you wish . . . it’s a tiller.  Fageols also had no clutch.  The company eventually evolved into Peterbilt.

Back to  the “towing competition” . . . note the “sled” pulled by the competitors;  the large rectangular weight over the wheels of the yellow sled winches forward as the sled moves, shifting weight onto the read wheels of the tractor making it increasingly heavy to pull.  These tractors, like the Minneapolis-Moline here and

and this Oliver 77 were the “rides” of my growing up.  I drove an identical Oliver as a 12-year-old, although if ever I’d driven as these were the other night . . . I can’t imagine I’d be alive today.  The red weights way forward keep the front wheels down during a pull.

Some nomenclature for tractor pulls:  this course was laid out over 300 feet, hence, the signs marking off increments like 100′, 200′ . . . etc.  If a tractor pulls past the 300′ mark, it gets referred to as a “full pull” like a strike in bowling or a homerun in baseball.

Tractors have names too like Deutzilla (click on this link for screaming turbos, flames and smoke),

Miss Used,

and Father’s Pride.  For more info on the “pullers,”  here representing classes like “limited light farm pro” and limited light super stock,” click here.

Call this my J. M. W. Turner version of an after dark foto:  the tractor disappears into blurred movement;  next time I go to a tractor pull . . . oh, yeah I will . . .  I’m making video!

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s still wondering about parallels between the Pageant and the impending Great North River Tugboat Race .

A farmer on a tractor . . .  notice anything unusual?

And these flags and a grandstand?  Well, tugboats have their competitions, and so do farmers.  They compete in

restorations like this century-old Case and this

or this A. B. Farquahar.  But like 18th century farmers had horse competitions and some lobsterman race their work equipment,

a farm tractor does only pull such implements as plows.  Nor is the end of the field always the destination.

Check out this Oliver or

this Cockshutt or

this John Deere.

Here’s some background on tractor pulling.  Will Van Dorp took all fotos yesterday at the Pageant of Steam held near Canandaigua sponsored by NYSEA .   For the sound of a steam engine pulling a competition sled, click here.  But if you choose to click on ONLY ONE link here, click on this one for sounds and smoke generated during the last three fotos above.  Horsepower equal to an average sixth boro tugboat and screaming like rockets.    Here are some “puller profiles.”

No need to remind you that the sixth boro’s tugboat race happens in about two weeks!!  Anyone know what would happen if there were a pull-off between a 1000 hp. tractor on a dock and a 1000 hp. tugboat each at an end of a long wire?


Hercules . . . (keel was laid in 1915)  has never visited the sixth boro and never will, but some rough water

she appears able to handle.  You saw Hercules on this blog a few months back burning some coal to set a towing record here.  Read the narrative here in the July portion of the log here.

The body of water in question here is between Zierikzee (marked with the red balloon with capital A) and Veere . . . on the island off to the southwest.  Also notice Rotterdam, Antwerpen, and Brugge on the map.

Speaking of Brugge, notice what they call this Brugge-registered vessel working on the Rhine?

Top two fotos used with permission from Kees (pronounced “case”) and Ingrid van Trigt;  bottom foto thanks to Patty Nolan‘s own Capt. David Williams.

Finally, tugster made the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and . . . no ATF, FBI, IRS, EPIRB . . . no handcuffs, no raincoat covering my face, no sex or financial scandal, no announcement of  an imminent run for office.  Running FROM office to pick up a copy of the paper sounds like a much better idea.  Lots of thoughts there from Cornell‘s Capt Matt Perricone there too.  See “Old Salt” Rick’s post on the article AND the upcoming 19th annual Great North River Tug Race here;  watch the video and you’ll see some of Rick’s and my footage from a previous race.

Unrelated:  This weekend tugster has dispatched me on assignment/hazardous duty at the Pageant of Steam.

We’ll get to Eagle, but first . . . I encountered this sight as I lined up today’s shots.  What IS that and where?

Anyhow, I heard Eagle‘s initial “under way” around 11:30.

John Watson monitored from his POV . .  .

I envied her leaving Manhattan’s oven temperatures and hazy light*.  I believe this ends Eagle‘s summer 2011 patrol marking her 75th anniversary.  She started the summer

in Waterford  a month ahead of the tall ships festival there, covered so ably by Capt. Boucher on Nautical Log.

A murder of crows gathered at Fort Wadsworth Lighthouse to pay respects.

I’m still looking for fotos and testimonials about Eagle‘s first trip inbound here in 1946 almost two decades before the Verrazano stood here, when Fort Lafayette languished  where the Brooklynside Tower now stands.

Which brings us back to the goats:  they are civil servants, federal employees . . .  low-budget custodians of crumbling federal infrastructure, New York’s answer to the chickens of Key West or the horses of Vieques.

Who knew?   Certainly not me . .  although they’ve been here awhile, as evidenced by this video.  I’d interpreted signs to “do not feed or pet the goats” as humor.  I’m already thinking now of a sign “do not feed or pet the Congress folks.”  Fill in the blanks with your own verbs for possible prohibitions.

Happy birthday Eagle!  A personal note . . . while taking these fotos I spoke with a passerby who wondered why the USCG maintains an antiquated sailing vessel for officer training.  My answer drew from conversations with a dear friend’s father two decades back who sailed on her in the 1950s . . . he said “The academy seeks not to train technologists but leaders.   Leadership training is what happens on cutter barque Eagle.”  What think you?

Thanks to John for foto #3;  all others by Will Van Dorp, who had to check . . . yes USCG vessel docs show three commercial vessels with goat in the name:  Goat Roper (Alaska) and SeaGoat and SeaGoat III (Louisiana).  Imagine the possibilities for figureheads . .  .

*For a whole different climate, check out Issuma’s view for 8/8 here.

Two tidbits from today’s NYTimes:

What we are learning from the “high n dry” USS Monitor

(thanks to eastriver) . . .  folks on the sixth boro’s low seas



“Ghost gallery” returns to scenes from several years back with fotos I’ve not used, at least not in this version.  Take Peking‘s last move . . . the whole harbor exudes gravity on a cold mid-January afternoon as McAllister

tugs Elizabeth and Responder assist in slipping her back into hibernation (a terminal coma?) beside Pier 16.  Compare the colors here with those in Rick’s post about this other Blohm + Voss vessel.

Some years back I went to a BWAC show in the old warehouse, but the only image left in my head from that day intruded from beyond the window  . . . this dome

now gone to leave nothing but a trestle leading to a scar.

Brian A. McAllister . . . where does it now operate?

Time to bring back some color, like the

“Gardens in Transit” decals that covered many moving objects–including ex-LT-2089— in NY some years back.

Last shot here . . . Cosette used to transport the used cars out of New York, a task now performed by Grey Shark and others.  Cosette once occupied the niche of Danalith in Narragansett Bay.  I wonder two things:  where is Cosette today and what great Bolivian port of registry did/does she wear on her stern . . . Potosi?  Salar de Uyuni?

All fotos from the archives of Will Van Dorp.  Got any good fotos to share from your sixth boro archives?  I’d love to see them.

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August 2011