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See November gusts here.  Today on the Upper Bay gusts were in excess of 25 mph.

Spray crashes over the bulwarks although to my untrained eye, Quantico Creek rides smooth, as

does Elk River, a short time later.

Pilot boats like Yankee are designed to ride in all weather.

Ellen Bouchard pushes B. No. 284 through quite effortlessly.

Kate Maersk holds tight.

But this outboard motorboat needed more care in negotiating wakes and swells.

Yet, here’s a similar size boat–a 26′ Grover–that crossed the Atlantic.  See video here and a background article here.

Some basic statistics:  route was from St. Pierre to Portugal, 26 days at sea, 615 gallons of fuel resulting in only 10″ freeboard upon departure, and an encounter with Hurricane Claudette.    You can see her in Freeport, NY.  See 10 minutes of fotos of a Grover restoration project here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

See doryman for more small boats.  I ran some small boat posts here and here back in January.

Fishing vessel Sharon Ann is not coming ashore, nor is

she–as I’d hoped while approaching Le Papillon–here as offshore muscle to drag her off.

Hatches are sealed, but

here, on Day 10,

she remains, sanded in.

I wish I had better news.  Fotos by Will Van Dorp on April 10 midmorning.


I’d hoped to see movement today, but no news.  Just

weather.  Fotos taken at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Day 5

Hightide’s fury pounded it so hard that it did move, but like a horse with a broken leg

trying to stand.

I kept my distance, but I wondered about the size of openings where water geysers out here midships.

It’s a tough ship, but it reminds me of Gallopin’ Gertie.

Fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Fotos from a few days ago, here.

Launched a month before the big stock market crash,  drafted into submarine hunting duty during World War 2, and here three years back sailing past the sugar dome no more in Red Hook, it’s Shearwater, a product–like some of the new Moran tugs–of Boothbay, Maine.


Below, she exits the northern end of Arthur Kill, after no doubt returning from post-New York sailing  season maintenance.  Unlike Lettie G. Howard, also a New England-built schooner, Shearwater was never a fish boat.  Oyster Bay of the Gatsby-era was her first port, and any oysters aboard were harvested by another vessel.  I’m told there’s a spiral staircase leading below.  I must make a point to sail aboard her next season.


Anyone know where she winters this year?  Anyone have fotos of Shearwater as a gray-painted sub chaser?


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

It took a few months before I could identify this tug, which I’d seen in Kingston last spring.  No one was talking maybe.

When I saw the vessel again in Waterford, it bore a name:

But why . . . Nor did I know that it had arrived upriver via anything but its own propulsion.  The prominent broom in foto is a distractor.

It’s time to play . . . Samhain!  See neversealand‘s play here.

Sorry . . . the hallowdayeen spirit intruded.  All fotos that follow come via Harold, whose foto collection and expertise are immense.  Spooky traveled to the Roundup on the hip of . . .

Gowanus Bay, whose previous shots here can be seen using the search window upper left.

Before acquiring a patina of fright by lurking in the waters of Amityville (Long Island), the spooky one had been just plain Josie, pushing sand by means of her own propulsion.

Enjoy the weekend;  I’m off haunting the river of my my forebears.  See a halfmoonthly installment here later Friday.  More on that next week.

Sometimes I find I just misunderstood–and forget– stuff.  Like the story of Benjamin Elliot and Margot.  Margot is at the half century mark and Benjamin Elliot will be there in two years.  And they work as a major portion of New York State Marine Highway.

Margot came off the ways at Jakobson’s in Oyster Bay, NY, and Benjamin Elliot, Gladding Hearn.  Contrast Margot’s wheelhouse in the foto below with the one at the NYS link here.

I took the two fotos below in 2006.  Last weekend I spoke with a crewman of Margot, who corrected my erroneous assumption that these were semi-retired boats.  No way . . . on the most recent voyage, Margot traveled from Norfolk, VA to Duluth, MN, over 1500 miles away!    And after the Roundup, she would run a similar load to coastal Ohio.   Oh, what I forgot was my foto here of Margot following the highway through the sixth boro last winter.

I’d be happy to post either of these NYS Marine Highway vessels in any distant ports.  If you have one, pass it along.

Benjamin Elliot is ex-El Jean.  Margot is ex-Hustler II, ex-Jolene Rose, and ex-Margot Moran.

Fishnets get dragged by different forces around the world, but what’s remarkable is the similarity of modern commercial fishing boats. Scroll through this “December holiday” series taken by the master of yacht Nolwandle to see net boats from South Africa.

I’ll be really surprised to see a net boat called after the Norse sea goddess Rán, an original “fisher of me” and this Sunday’s siren. Above are some Jersey shore boats.

By the name, you’d guess this photo to have been taken in Asia, but . . . Jersey shore, again, although the boat’s registered in Pennsylvania. Check out this great post showing Galician boats from El Mar.

Here are two shots, above and below, of boats from Long Island and New Jersey.

What makes people who fish commercially part of a global brother- and sisterhood is the constant danger; it’s one of the most dangerous professions, whether nets or traps are used.

Anyone out there can send fotos or shout out blogs of fish boats in Asia, Europe, the Pacific, Australia? South America?

Finally, unrelated except through the danger factor, read cruelkev‘s April 5 report on–and foto of –a French sailing yacht taken by pirates off Somalia.

Check the quote at the end of the previous post in this series here.

I saw this orange vessel zooming toward me the other day and was certain someone from the homeland intended to secure me . . . I escaped only to learn (two days later) a dear friend was aboard. Hi g. g. ! In the background that’s remnants of a wooden floating dry dock, itself dry-docked on a bank west of Shooter’s Island, ex-yacht building site for the rich and famous.


If I misread security for survey on the as-yet unnamed (that I know of) vessel at the top, markings are clearer on Smoke II, a 1958 Fire Department tender. I love the lines on this boat. Read a Smoke II rescue story here.


Redfish, below, based in Greenport, was the winner of the 2007 Workboat Race there. See her as a speck in the last foto.


Survey vessel Red Rogers sleeps at a marina on Arthur Kill, but I now nothing about RR.


Thinking back on this post . . . fotos of red boats without much to read.

Speaking of names, look what’s got “Steve Irwin” on its stern now.

In two days tugster begins year 2 of blogging. Hence, some retrospection these days. Stories I missed include the biggest, I mean biggest! tanker to enter NY harbor possibly ever, a VLCC aka Malaccamax named Centennial Jewel ex Courtenay Bay 300,000 dwt! This compares with an average tanker dwt of under 70,000 in NY harbor. And, you might ask, where was tugster?


Uh . . . on a bridge over the Mississippi with his eye focused on a big snapping turtle drifting closer to a clueless duckling, maybe? Friends told me about the VLCC, but well, I missed it. And then there was Proteus. Not the seagod or any of the other meanings. But where was I, you might ask?


Uh, at the beach watching boa constrictors where they oughtn’t be. This boa’s eyes transfixed me, and I couldn’t break away, I confess.

Anyhow, while we’re on big unusual things, beasties and such, here’s another monster I missed. Before–long before–I was born, believe it or not . . . a whale shark was caught off Fire Island, August 9, 1935. Damn! I missed that one too. Check this out. A better picture hangs in White Caps in Islip. Don’t click on the link at the end of this sentence if you wish to avoid seeing more–this time from National Geographic–about the Japanese humpback hunt. It’s disturbing.

I missed many more stories, too. So I’m hoping in year 2, tugster evolves into more cameras and eyes. Email me: I’d love the collaboration and multiple PsOV.

Speaking of other points of view, click here for Peter Mello’s coverage of the sinking off Antarctica.

Thanks to the tillerman, this post, long enough gestated, gets published. Over two months ago I posted about wheels, and if you look at the last foto in that post of Cornell’s wheel sans projecting spokes, you’ll understand what modifications are made to protect the helmsman’s face/teeth during quick maneuvers associated with docking assists.


Scroll thru to nautical etymologies here to “tiller” to see the crossbow connection. Sorry, not alphabetical. While looking there, is there a difference in usage today between scow and barge?


Most assuredly the helmsman on Rosemary Ruth is handling a tiller. Read the saga of Orbitlog here.


Note the tiller/rudderpost connection here. Scroll down for the rest of the vessel.


Here’s the front section driven by that tiller/prop farther above. No mast? Why the low freeboard? Come back tomorrow. The two fotos immediately above were taken in southern Long Island.

Btw, happy thanksgiving. And thanks for reading the blog.

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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.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

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.


November 2015
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