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Ellen McAllister first appeared on this blog almost 10 years ago here. At the time I knew nothing about an entire category of navy tugs repurposed for civilian life. Here were the two previous posts in this series.
For a vessel that turns a half century this spring, to my outsider eyes, she’s as good as ever.
Here she delivers the docking pilot
before serving as escort to the dock. By the way, while ROROs like Boheme are underway, is there a panel the seals off this area?
Here are a few photos of her in Lake Michigan, off Scotland, and then as a single-engine McAllister tug. I’d love to see more….
Anyone identify the YTB below? There’s a spoiler if you scroll past, so guess before proceeding.
It’s YTB-786, which did its Navy service in Rota Spain,
and is now based as Margaret McAllister in Wilmington NC.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
So the difference that makes the “really” is that several folks have contributed these photos.
Starting in Toronto with Jan van der Doe, here’s M. R. Kane, which has appeared here and here previously on this blog. In the first link, you’ll see Kane towing the hull that would become tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry.
Next three photos came from Allan Seymour, who took them as he traversed the Cape Cod Canal recently. This Independence is rated at 5400 hp.
Bohemia and barge wait to pass.
And Buckley McAllister shares escort work on the Canal with Independence.
The rest of these photos I’ve caught recently, all of tugs I’d not previously seen. Miss Ila came through the sixth bork Saturday,
Miss Lizzy I saw Friday, and
Performance I saw in Massena earlier this month, and
Robinson Bay. These last two are operated by DOT’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), which is looking to replace these aging tugs. Robinson Bay (103′ loa and built in Wisconsin in 1957) and Performance (50′ and Indiana, 1997) do maintenance work on the US portions of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
Thanks to Jan and Allan for the first photos here. All the others are by Will Van Dorp.
Over the past few years, John Jedrlinic aka “Jed” has shared a lot of photos he’s taken near Norfolk, which is great since otherwise I’d never have seen some of these. Take Huntington, below, apparently the in-house tug of the shipyard in Newport News.
Or McAllister Boys, I’ve no idea which foreign port she works out of today.
And Russel B. Murray. Express Marine units used to be common in the sixth boro, but no more.
Russel B. Murray used to work in New York the year I was born . . . then called Shamokin.
I did see Night Hawk several times on the Elizabeth River in Fall 2015.
Chief is now Dann Marine’s Diamond Coast, but I’ve not yet seen her.
And finally, a former regular in the sixth boro, Lucinda Smith. See her here in the KVK in 2011.
All photos here were taken by Jed. Thanks.
Here were the previous in this series.
The first three photos here come from John “Jed” Jedrlinic, whose previous contributions can be found here.
Coral Coast is a venerable 3000 hp 45-year-old, like some others I know, although they might not see all that horsepower as complimentary.
Katherine, same horsepower, is nine years newer.
This Michael S is based in Port Canaveral, where Jed took this photo.
Harry Thompson, whose previous contributions include this one, sent this along of Russell 11 (I believe that’s eleven, not two) compliments of his brother. Does anyone know Russell 11‘s years of service?
And the rest of these come from Barrel, who has sent along many others I will share this month.
Tug Bay Hawk dates from 1942. Thanks to Birk’s site, here’s some info on her.
Teresa McAllister, 1961, was most recently on tugster here.
And to close out today’s post, it’s Tenacious, now a 55-year-old freshwater tug.
Many thank to Jed, Harry, and Barrel for these photos.
One of my (formerly) secret heroes is Guy Noir, secret because I may be revealing too much about myself in admitting that. But life’s too short to care about drivel like that. Noir has an office on the 20th floor of the Acme Building in a “city that knows how to keep its secrets,” yet each week a different mysterious woman seems to find him in quest of a favor. So imagine this as a view from Noir’s Portsmouth VA office around 1600 hrs . . . on the last night of the year. It’s rainy but warm and all the creeks feeding into the estuary course in, with color and warmth of some old coffee . . . I was last here, though on the river then, about six weeks ago here. And notice the hammerhead crane to the right. Here’s
the deal. But I’ll come back to this history stuff later.
For now, this is a record of the last night of the year, what my parents used to call “old years night.”
In the fading light, there’s Michael J. McAllister, another McA (Nancy??) behind it, Camie, and a trio of Robbins Maritime minis called Thunder, Lightning, and Squall. AND if you look carefully beyond the McAllister tugs, you’ll see Dann Ocean’s Neptune and the Colonna Shipyard, where a Staten Island ferry is being overhauled. Click here for previous posts referring to Colonna.
In the driving rain as the last hours of the year ebb away, Vane tug Chatham heads south; the oil must move . . . . even when the postal stream sleeps.
Shadows . . . on a rainy night paint the river. And under the “tent” inside
And so ended 2015 for me . . . not a low-flying aircraft but a high flying window perch.
All photos by Will Van Dorp, private and public eye.
I’m thrilled to discover entirely new stories, like this one, which I found after following up some info I’d seen on a historical marker sign in Bath, NC, a month ago. Click here and scroll to see the historical marker. I saw it briefly in the headlights but took no photos.
When I googled “floating theater bath nc,” I learned a book had been written about this barge and immediately ordered a copy of the book, where I got the stories, including the one about “G-string” shows, which I’ll explain at the end of this post. I guarantee you’ll be surprised. Click here for some details about Prof. Gillespie’s process in writing the book.
James Adams used two tugs–Elk and Trouper— to move the “floating theater” from town to town in the Chesapeake and the estuarial fingers of North Carolina back in the days when movie theaters and certainly mass entertainment penetrated into all the hamlets and backwaters of this portion of the US.
Although I’d never heard of this entertainment in the backwaters where I was born, it’s fairly well covered with blogposts like this and newspaper articles like this. The Chesapeake Log has done a story. In fact, there’s a group that wishes to recreate the barge.
Needless to say, any project on the water always faces this danger from its element, among other perils.
Between venues, Elk and Trouper would tow the barge, like horses moving the old time traveling carnival to the next town.
Now about “G-string” shows . . . From page 63 of the book, “there were three primary comic characters in the repertoire theater . . .[one was the G-string character], an old man, the geezer. He was evolved from the 19th century comic Yankee character, sometimes with a dose of the frontiersman thrown in. … squeaky male voice and a goatee-like beard. The cartoon Uncle Sam is a G-string character.” I’ve looked online for other references to this meaning of G-string . . . with no corroboration.
Who knew? Edna Ferber and her Showboat . . . which I don’t know well . . . I thought that was based on Mississippi traffic. The sixth boro and the Hudson have their very own Lehigh Valley 79 Showboat Barge as in here, here, and here. There was once the floating entertainments of Periwinkle and Driftwood . . . now all gone.And the whole eastern seaboard has Amara Zee . . . (scroll) Caravan Stage Company.
I think it’s high time Edna Ferber’s story gets reinterpreted as a movie, this time including Elk and Trouper.
Many thanks to Steve Seely of New Brunswick, Canada, for sending these photos and this story. Never heard of a “quarantine tug?” Well, neither had I. But here it is, launched at Bath Iron works in October 1932 as a tug for the US Public Health Service, christening with ginger ale–since it happened to be Prohibition era. If you have 50 minutes, here’s a 1936 film from the US National Library of Medicine at NIH on the work of these vessels; good references in the movie to Hoffman Island and Ellis Island. I’d forward to about five minutes in for historical background; quarantine tug activity, including clips of vessels like the one below, starts at about the six-minute mark.
Here’s some specs on the vessel: T. B. McClintic is “built of riveted Norwegian Steel (Charcoal Iron)… 60 feet, 10 inches in length overall with a 16.5 foot breadth and a 9.2 foot draft. At launching, [she] displaced 65 tons. This single screw vessel with its engine–direct reversible Standard Motor Construction Company diesel engine with 100 horsepower … four-cylinder, eight-and-one-half- inch bore by 12-inch stroke weighing 13,475 pounds–turning a 50-inch diameter, 36-inch pitch bronze propeller at 350 RPM, cruised at an average of 10 knots.”
During her life as a quarantine tug, she operated out of Boston, Norfolk, and finally Baltimore, where she also performed some light ice breaking work. The photo below shows her in Baltimore in the early 1960s.
In the early 1960s, she was sold at government auction and purchased by “City of Wilmington, North Carolina, to become the city’s new fireboat, she was completely rehabilitated by the Wilmington Iron Works in order to perform her new function. This included adding a full array of fire-fighting equipment, replacing her original 100 HP engine with a new Gray Marine 671 Diesel which increased her HP to 185, and installing a new Twin-Disc 4.5 to 1 reduction transmission. In addition, due to dangerous rust-pitting on each side of the bow, the forward steel plating was replaced. The conversion cost the city approximately $18,000. … Renamed Atlantic IV, she “was distinguished as the only ship that could sink the battleship USS North Carolina in one of her first services after conversion to a fireboat, when her hoses were used to fill the great ship’s bilge with water in order to settle her into her permanent berth in the Cape Fear River.”
From 1987 until the present, she’s been owned privately. The photo below, taken by current owner Steve Seely, was taken in Baltimore in 2012. Here I quote Steve: “I bought [her] in Baltimore in 2011 and brought it to New Brunswick, Canada in 2012. I happened to pass through NY Harbor to take advantage of the lack of swells in Long Island Sound.”
He continues: “The photo underway show it moving as fast as it’s Detroit Diesel will push it, just shy of 11 Kts. It’s an official antique by your standards but that doesn’t mean it can’t work. I salvaged a sunken barge in St Andrews harbor this summer.”
And what identification does she sport on her stern?
Her original name and Bath, Maine. The tug’s namesake was ” a University of Virginia Medical School graduate and twelve-year veteran PHS officer, Thomas B. McClintic. In 1911, at the age of thirty-eight, McClintic was detailed to Montana to perform research on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In August of 1912, McClintic contracted the disease and died.”
The tug has its own website here. The info quoted above not by Mr Seely comes from the application for her admission to the National Register of Historic Places, which makes for fun reading if you wish.
Because of the dimensions and certain missions of T. B. McClintic–boarding ships for quarantine purposes and ice breaking–this vessel is a forerunner of the WYTLs that will soon start to work the Hudson River ice chokepoints. Click here for an unpublished magazine article I posted less than a year ago on the “extended cabin” sixth-boro WYTLs.
Steve, thanks much for writing.
I wonder what kids now 12 or 13 imagine as part of their future, their 2050s, 60s, and beyond. I expected the beginning of the 20th century to bring flying cars, routine trips among the planets, and a whole different looking fleet than what we have. Of course, who knows if what we have and will have is what we need. But I digress. Hydrofoils just have not evolved as expected a half century ago. Previous posts I’ve done on the subject are here.
Actually hydrofoil history goes back more than 100 years and Alexander Graham Bell was a pioneer. Another key developer seems to be Helmut Kock (or Koch). The entire 20th century brought all kinds of research and craft. All the following photos and clippings come compliments of Capt. Ray Graham, US Navy vet and former hydrofoil captain in his native New York City’s sixth boro as well as in Florida and Vermont. The photo below shows the original Albatross in Shelburne (Burlington) in 1966. I realize this is 20/20 hindsight, but it seems risky to hang that name on any innovation.
After driving hydrofoils in New York and Vermont, Ray went to Miami,
where the next few photos were taken.
Here are Ray’s words: [Later] “I left hydrofoils in Miami because I could see the end coming. I hired on as a Captain running a double decker sightseeing boat out of Haulover Docks on the Intracoastal Waterway. When an opening came I applied for and got a job with the City of Miami as an Assistant Dockmaster at one of their Marinas.”
Here are undated images of prototypes clipped from various magazines and newspapers. Click on this photo gallery from the International Hydrofoil Society for many, many more photos.
Left to right here . . . Miss USA 1966, a hydrofoil “stewardess,” and Capt. Ray Graham, after an exciting tour of the harbor on then-“the latest” in transportation.
Click here for a range of info on hydrofoils and hydroplanes. Click here for an “I don’t know what it is” vessel that visited the sixth boro back in 2007 . . . and I missed it, heard about it the next day.
Seriously, what astounds me about this technology is how thoroughly it has disappeared, at least from the US Northeast, my perspective. As I looked for info on hydrofoils on Lake Champlain, e.g., this (about halfway through the article) new use of “hydrofoil” come up.
When I asked Capt. Graham why hydrofoils have mostly disappeared here, he opined that “they all died of the same disease, mismanagement.” He added, “starting off carrying passengers was a mistake; it might have been better carrying light freight across the Sound and up and down the Hudson.”
I asked if he thought today’s catamarans were an evolution of this generation of hydrofoils, he said, “They’re a horse of a different color entirely, in my opinion. When I worked testing the air cushion vehicle (ACV) for General Dynamics, we had a smaller boat (16′) configured like a catamaran, known to us as “hard walled” or “hard sided” which had to be rigged with a lift engine. [But after a year] General Dynamics dumped the whole project . . . we were all laid off, returned to jobs in the Electric Boat division. In my opinion, today’s catamaran ferries are more offspring of ACVs than hydrofoils.”
Many thanks to Ray for sharing these photos, stories, and opinions.
Click here for a post I did a few years back with a photo showing the ignominious end of Plainview AGEH-1.
It’s still November 2015, so for me, it’s day 22 of this focus.
I guess this would be a small Navy yard tug. Click here (and scroll) to see a variant with roll bars. Here it closes the security gate after a Moran tug has come inside.
More security is provided by WPB-87329 Cochito.
Emily Anne McAllister (2003) waits at the Norfolk International Terminals.
And there’s a long list of commercial tugboats, more than I want to squeeze into this post. So let’s start with Ocean Endeavor (1966),
Night Hawk (1981),
Dauntless II (1953),
Payton Grace Moran (2015),
Goose Creek (1981), and finally for now
Steven McAllister (1963).
All foggy/rainy photos above by Will Van Dorp.
One of these days we’ll meander farther south on the Elizabeth River aka ICW. In the meantime, if you have photos of work vessels from any port huge or tiny, get in touch; there are still a few days of November left.
And since we’re a week or so from December, my idea for next month’s collaboration is “antique/classic” workboats, functioning or wrecked. Of course, a definition for that category is impossible. For example, NewYorkBoater says this: “The definition of an antique boat according to Antique and Classic Boating Society is a boat built between 1919 and 1942. A classic was built between 1943 and 1975 and the term contemporary, are boats built from 1976 and on.” Hmm . . . what do you call an old vessel built before 1919 . . . a restoration project? antediluvian?
If you take another transportation sector–automobiles, you get another definition: 25 years old or more. And for the great race, here were the rules for this year: “Vehicle entries must have been manufactured in 1972 or before.” Next year’s cut-off will likely be 1973.
So my flexible definition is . . . photo should have been taken in 1999 or before, by you or of you or a family member, and in the case of a wreck, probably identifiable. Exception . . . it could be a boat built before . . . say . . . 1965.
This post is a direct follow-up to one I did a week ago, documenting the 270-nm trip from Kings Point NY to Norfolk aboard USMMA Sailing Foundation vessel Tortuga. This post documents the second and final leg of the trip to Tortuga‘s winter berth in New Bern NC, a 179-nm trip from Norfolk.
Let’s start here. Departure time on day 1 is 1100 h. If you think the navy vessel in dry dock looks familiar, well . . . it visited the sixth boro in May 2012, and I toured the ship DDG 57 USS Mitscher at that time here.
A USN presence is pervasive along the Elizabeth river portion of the ICW, but the Norfolk Naval Ship is
Click here and here for info on the Elizabeth River, technically a tidal estuary. Click on the map below to get interactivity.
I was surprised to learn there’s a lock in the ICW, the Great Bridge Lock. I was even more surprised to learn the USACE contracts the operation and maintenance of the lock to a company called US Facilities.
I must read more about the ICW, but in WW2 it proved a safe route for commerce when enemy submarines preyed on vessels offshore.
Paradise Creek pushes oil along the ICW today; when I started this blog, it was a regular workhorse in the sixth boro of NYC.
The color of ICW water is determined by natural tannins.
The ICW is composed of wide open bays and sounds–which have narrow channels-as well as narrow cuts. Here Evelyn Doris of the ICM fleet pushes a covered barge–soybeans, I’ll wager–northbound, possibly to Norfolk.
Ahead is the US Rte 64 Bridge over the Alligator River, a swing bridge.
Note the proximity of the photo above to the Atlantic Ocean.
Tannins in the Alligator River water create this color.
North Carolina today protects a lot of its coastal wetlands. Hunting is permitted, and in fact, VHF radio picked up a lot of communication with folks hunting in there.
Parts of the ICW flow through cuts like the Alligator-Pungo Canal.
This moment of arrival in Belhaven meant a lot to me, because just around the point in the center of the photo is the hospital where I was born. I hadn’t known it, but Belhaven also considers itself the birthplace of the ICW.
Departure time on day 3 was 0600, Jupiter and Venus were higher in the sky than the rising sun.
See the mine area on the south side of the Pamlico River below.
Hunting abounds here.
Note the spelling.
Belhaven used to support a fishing fleet. I’ve no idea how the size of the fleet and market in Hobucken has fluctuated over the years.
Tortuga is docked here for winter.
All photos by Will Van Dorp. Again many thanks to the USMMA Sailing Foundation for inviting me to crew in winter relocation for Tortuga.