You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2018.

Click here for one of many posts on buoy boats.  Just recently I learned the first three wooden buoy boats were built in Tonawanda by the Richardson Boat Company.  That explains why they have lines that hint at yacht origins, no matter they were designed for maintenance tasks on the Canal.  The next two photos I took back in 2014.
And here’s Cookie’s story:
“I started about 18 years ago taking care of the flower bed that was in front of the boat.  Over the  years the bed was falling apart.    This year I decided to build a new flower bed.  I am currently working with our local Boy Scouts.  I designed the flower bed and they will build it as an Eagle Project along with helping me paint the boat.  As for the boat over the years I have watched the boat deteriorate and thought what better time than now to update it.  It is  a piece of our history that was just rotting away and I didn’t want to see this happen, especially since the boat faces one of the main entrances to our city.
Here is Cookie’s  task list:
The flower bed and dirt were removed.  Ditto the “Welcome to Lockport” sign to be cleaned and repaired.
The boat was sanded and scraped.
Holes in the boat were patched.
New paint applied.   Old windows removed, holes caulked, old door replaced, windows made and painted, and new windows cut from Lexan.
Inside there are a couple tanks that are being cleaned and rust proofed. The inside the hull is scraped and debris removed.
Tasks remaining:  rustproof paint the interior, re-install the tanks, install new marine decking, rebuild the flowerbed and plant it, re-install the welcome sign, install a “Thank you” sign to individuals and businesses that have helped in the project.
Put on new BB 110 sign.  Raise three flags:  US, NY, and NYS Canals.
Hats off to Cookie and her crew.
And while we’re on the western end of the Canal, check out this excellent addition to blogs about the NYS Canals.  It’s called  Travels with Tug DeWitt Clinton.
Meanwhile, up in central New York, here’s an article about a floating protest of Canal vessel reefing from the Finger Lakes Times.

Here are all the previous names posts.

I sometimes take photos and imagine how I’ll use them, and then later, another photo offers great juxtaposition.  Like this one.  I used it before here.

But then another photo jumps into my vantage point and camera, and suggests a different use.  We have The Commissioner above and Commodore below, so

that makes me wonder whether and where might be other boats like Contender, Confuser,  . . . Collaborator, which strikes me as a good name for a crew rowboat or a three-person kayak.

The NYC Ferry has grown quickly and chosen some interesting names.  Each time I see this one, my brain makes me say Opportunity comes and

Opportunity goes.  People who arrive late at the dock might report that they missed the opportunity.

I know this boat but I don’t know why a stranger might have difficulty identifying it.

Both sides had this treatment.

ONE Stork showed up here a while back, pink or magenta, and I missed it.  Next time.  In the fall.

There’s an announcement coming tomorrow.


Oops!  I meant this for tomorrow.
Today Robin Denny offers his second relief post.  Here are all the previous ones.
Clyde paddle-steamer Lucy Ashton operated from 1888 until 1949, at which time she was taken out of service and was about to be broken up.  But scrapping or reefing isn’t the only thing to do with an obsolete passenger vessel.

Step in the British Shipbuilding Research Association and Sir Maurice Denny.  They bought Lucy Ashton, had her paddles, paddle boxes and all upperworks stripped off and replaced by a large gantry on which were mounted four Rolls-Royce Derwent pure jet engines. Thrust gauges were fitted to measure exactly how much power was produced by the jets.   She ran various trials on the River Clyde and the Gairloch, an area familiar to some US veterans, at speeds up to 14 knots (in excess of??)    Indeed this is the world’s first jet powered vessel?

Inside this building is.

Here is the interior of the tank showing to the left stored test models, and in the center, the measuring instruments’ chariot with a test model beneath and the rails which rise by 15mm (5/8ths inch) at the half way point of 100 yards to follow the earth’s (and water) curvature!

​In 1949, Sir Maurice Denny, Chairman of the Dumbarton shipbuilders William Denny & Bros., was seeking to establish the accurate relationship between test figures for drag and resistance obtained in our Ship Model Test Tank and actual figures of ships in service.

Model testing was in still fresh-water with no turbulence from propellers or paddles. Dr. William Froude had produced accurate formulae to calculate the necessary adjustments but practical, full-size testing was very appealing.   In 1883 William Denny, with the help of Dr. Froude, built the first commercial test tank at 300′ x 30′ x 10′ depth.   It proved it’s worth immediately, especially in 1887 when we tendered to build two fast cross-Channel ships for the Belgian Government. The stringent contract stipulated a speed of 20 1/2 knots on trials with rejection of the ships if the speed was below 19 1/2knots. The test tank was vital. The tank tests could only confirm 19 1/2 knots, so the tank staff, contrary to received wisdom of the time, suggested INCREASING the beam, so achieving 21 1/2knots, making her the fastest ship in the world apart from skinny Naval torpedo boats.  The Belgian ships reduced the Dover-Ostend crossing from 4hrs.45mins. to 2hrs.55mins.

Many thanks to the cooperation of the Scottish Maritime Museum for assistance with these photos.

With that, I am grateful to Robin for telling me the story of the jet-powered former paddle steamer.   And I’m thinking it’s high time I get back to the UK.

I took this in April;  I would never have guessed a Corvette was that much lower than an early 1950s (1952?) Pontiac.

Ditto here:  Kristy Ann once rescued a motorboat I happened to be on;  from the motorboat, Kristy Ann looked immense.  Next to . . . Nicole (I think that’s Nicole Leigh Reinauer.  I took the photo more than 10 years ago.), she’s a toy.

Notice the raised lettering on the front of the nearer tug’s wheelhouse?  It says Bear.  Bear was once all red.  Bear, believe it or not, had a fleet mate–Little Bear.  See it here.

Today these tugs are called Elizabeth Anna and Sarah Ann.  Sarah Ann used to be such a brilliant orange you’d never forget it.  Above and below, those photos were taken by Glenn Raymo.

Click here for previous “scale” posts.

Thanks to Glenn for use of his photo;  all others by Will Van Dorp.


Let’s start with a Jupiter (1990) in Galveston, thanks to Allen Baker.  The photo was taken about a year ago, after Hurricane Harvey.

Next, thanks to Lisa Kolibabek, another Jupiter, a much older one, which recently went into dry dock in Philadelphia.   Know the date of launch?

Compare her frontal view with that of Pegasus, similar vintage. Click here and here for other Jupiter photos and previous Jupiter posts.

Jupiter dates from 1902.  And staying with vessels named for heavenly bodies, Rich Taylor sends along this photo of Pollux.

A delightfully busy photo, here Pollux appears again with two smalll craft, River Ij ferry, and Prinsendam.

Also from Rich, here’s a pilot boat called Pilot on the Trechtingshausen lies between Koblenz and Bingen right in the upper Rhine.  Although a pilot boat, it resembles an American tug, albeit a long one.  For many similar photo from another photographer traveling from Basel to Amsterdam, click here.

And finally, here are two more from Tony A  Below is a small yard tug on the Rondout and

here’s a tug near the Bayonne Bridge but typically along the coast of New Jersey . . . Pops.

Many thanks to Allen, Lisa, Rich, and Tony for these photos.


Thanks to Jeff, who caught Lucy H moving an oversize cargo through a sylvan stretch of Canal.  Recently Lucy H brought Ward’s Island across more than half the Erie Canal.

Thanks to Maureen, who caught these shots of two tugboats moving a Celebrity ship through the busy harbor of Venezia.  Here, here, and here are previous Venezia posts.


Thanks to Phil, who caught the elusive, Damen-styled Candace in the KVK.

And finally thanks to Jan,  who caught Vigilant I departing a creek in Toronto

with a stone scow.  Vigilant I was built by Russel Brothers for the Canadian Navy.

Also from Jan, the tug with my favorite name of all time, Radium Yellowknife.  It starts to make sense when you learn that she worked in the Arctic for over half a century.

I first became aware of her when looking for something on AIS on Lake Ontario;  Radium Yellowknife definitely caught my attention.

Thanks to Jeff, Maureen, Phil, and Jan for these photos.



Here was the first in this series.  Guess the date these photos were taken?

Consider all that coal smoke.

As it turns out Dockyard III doesn’t always blow so much smoke. Click on this link if you wish, but what I find remarkable there is that Dockyard III and its sisters were built in WW2 for Murmansk and hence have the chimney-encasing wheelhouse (for heat) and an ice-strengthened bpw.

Adelaar dates from 1925.

Paddle steamer De Majesteit dates from 1926.  I saw her on the river in Rotterdam in 2014, and included her in a comparison of old passenger vessels here.

Dockyard IX, part of that same order that never made it to Murmansk, was completed in 1942.  Dockyard IX has been on this blog once before here.

Many steam tugs crowd the river below, but nearest the camera,  that’s Heibok 4, a floating steam crane dating from 1916.

SS Furie, dates from 1916.  I wrote about her extensively here in 2016.

George Stephenson had me fooled;  it was built starting in 2007, ie., she might be called steampunk.  I saw her in May 2014.

Hercules is the real deal steam, launched in 1915.  I was aboard her in 2016, as seen here.

And the answer is late May 2018 at the Dordrecht Steam Festival.  The photos come via Jan van der Doe from the photographer Leo Schuitemaker.

Looking at these photos, I’m again struck by the number of historic vessels preserved and in operating condition in the Netherlands.  Some are scrapped there of course.  Has anyone ever heard of the Dutch reefing boats to create North Sea fish habitat?  These, and I have many others from Jan and Leo I’d love to post,  have benefitted from loving restoration. Let me know if you want more steam tugs.

Amicitia, which I wrote about in 2011, is back to life after 60 years (!!!) underwater as a result of being bombed, not reefed, back then.

Do the Dutch have different financial tools that produces this fruit?  Is it because of their different attitude toward maintaining machines and buildings?  Are there just different priorities throughout Dutch culture?

A google search leads to this article referring to “artificial reefs around the world,” but the headline is quite misleading.


I’ve posted photos of USS Little Rock on this blog last winter, when it was frozen rock hard into the Montreal winter.  Its lines helped me identify these vessels some weeks back as I was driving along the eastern shore of Wisconsin, where I had stopped to see what was in the Marinette Marine yard;  my guess is that these will be LCS 13, 15, and 17. 

The yard has also turned out Staten Island ferries like Molinari, Powhatan class tugs like Apache, coastal buoy tenders like Katherine Walker, YTBs like Ellen McAllister,  LCMs like Jennifer Miller . . . and lots of RB (M)s  . . .those are some that I know.

Here’s a link to Marinette Marine and its parent company.


And while we’re looking at Wisconsin-built government boats, check out these photos on Grasp.  They were taken in Scotland last year by Tommy Bryceland, a North Sea tug captain.

You may recall that just last week, Grasp was south of Fire Island doing training and a memorial service on USS San Diego.

Justin Zizes sent me these photos a few weeks back also, even captioning them as government boats.

Absolutely, an NYPD personal watercraft is a diminutive government boat.

Thanks to Tommy and Justin ;  the others by Will Van Dorp, who will be heading for the Great Lakes soon, so any disruption in posting is no cause for concern.   Keep an eye on the sixth boro and beyond, please.

Hats off to Glenn Raymo for figuring out where to be to catch this tow at first light.

I know it’s fruitless to wonder whether any archive has photos of any previous trip Ward’s Island made on the Hudson.  The only other trip it’s made may have been northbound in the late 1930s.

Hats off to the crews who can do this safely. With the rounded bottom propped up by welded on support beams,

she looks like an animal once living.

Dimensions of the hull are 115’6″ x 38′  x  14′.


It’s a job and it’s a melancholy sight too., knowing the next stop on this express route is the bottom of the ocean off Fire Island.

Many thanks to Glenn for catching this.  Previous “canal reef express” posts can be found here.

DeWitt Clinton was built in the 1920s, delivered before the crash. She came out of a shipyard in East Boothbay, I’m told, but I can find no record of this.   Here she was in Lockport in early October 2014.

Here is a view from the wheelhouse, and

another from a slightly different vantage point. That’s tug Urger (1901) on the wall up ahead.

Fast forward to this year, here’s one of the latest additions to the Canal tug fleet, and

here’s the view from the wheelhouse.  And yes . . . again, that’s tug Urger on the wall ahead. this time in Fonda NY, where she may or may not be today.

How about some more pics of Dewitt Clinton, all from October 2014.

Here she rounds a bend on the western Canal.

And since we’ve seen Urger from Dewitt, how about ending with Dewitt as seen from Urger.

Photos 4 and 5 by Jake van Reenen;  the others by Will Van Dorp.


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