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Here are some posts about Lettie G. Howard.


Want to join the crew for a sail to Gloucester for the 2016 schooner race, be part of the race crew, or help sail the 1893 schooner back to NYC’s sixth boro?


You’d be crew in training, integrated into watch-standing along with her professional crew.


On the return, she stops in New London for the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival.  And all the while, you’d be supporting the good work of South Street Seaport Museum, which has many other unparalleled events coming up in the next few weeks.


Here are the specifics on ticket prices, dates, and itineraries:

NYC to Gloucester | 8/29-9/2: $800.00*
Gloucester Schooner Race | 9/4: $160.00
Gloucester to New London | 9/5-9/9: $800.00
New London to NYC | 9/11-9/13: $480.00
*Sail the first leg and join the race at no additional cost!
To reserve your spot,  email:



The first and last photos here come from Hannah Basch-Gould;  all the other have been taken by Will Van Dorp, who on these dates will be gallivanting to francophone Canada in search of Champlain’s dream.

With a tip of the hat  to Hildegarde Swift and Lynd Ward, the title that came to mind as I shot these, and you’ll see why by the end.  See the road signs up there intended for drivers on the Triboro Bridge?


Rewarding my wait, it’s Jaguar towing Highlander Sea into the Gate,


past the Ward’s Island Footbridge, and


past Archibald Gracie’s cottage on the point. Click here for peers of the 1978 Jaguar.


Westbound the tow came at almost slack water and past


RTC 104 and


the Twins bound for Riverhead.


More on the brick building there with romanesque windows and green roof at the end of this post.


And here, when they were under the Queensboro Bridge,  the title occurred to me . . . having the same syllabication and cadence as the Swift and Ward title.


Now we need a story, one that starts as hundreds could in tiny but huge Essex.  Click here for my previous posts on Essex.


Maybe one about a fishing schooner design turned pilot boat turned yacht turned school turned . . .


fish market and restaurant/bar in the sixth boro.  I hope they sell monkfish.  These photos are compliments of my brother taken in Zwolle at a


pop-up market.

Thanks bro . . .

All other photos here by Will Van Dorp.

So, thanks to identification by Jonathan Steinman, the brick building there is ConEd’s cogeneration plant at East  74th St.  And this is a digression, but 74th Street has long been quite the interesting place.

Here are the previous ones.

One of the joys of driving is the serendipity–even if guided . . . thanks, GT–of noticing the entirely unexpected, like the device below.  Any ideas?  If GT hadn’t mentioned this, I probably would not have thought twice about this weathered industrial object.  And it’s for sale.  For the right price, it can be on your boat.


A clue is that the device above is located geographically between the tin building below and Boston, where this road trip ends.   The tin building is Gallery 53 on Rocky Neck.  I’m guessing it once had a seafood related purpose.


A bit down the coast is Salem.  The brick building with cupola in the distance is the old Custom House, where Nathaniel Hawthorne once worked.


I had forgotten that this replica is Hudson River built. There was a trade with China already 200 years ago.




I’ll have to come back to the North Shore when all these vessels–Adventure, Friendship, and Fame–are sailing.




Continuing southward . . . we arrive in East Boston, and Jake.


Here’s another device on a rooftop.  Fiat Topolino?


If you know the area, you’ll guess I’ve been heading south on 1A, and now I’ve parked and am walking over the McArdelle Bridge.  Anyone know anything about that red vessel that looks a bit like Augie?


My tour of Luna recently is what lured me to this area around Chelsea Creek.  Here’s Luna resplendent.


Anyone know the story of JW Powell?


And the red and the white sailing vessels farthest from the camera here?


Over yonder is Aegean Sea, formerly of the seas of the sixth boro.


This bullnose will likely never again see the water.


And here we are at the end of this stretch of road . . . it’s Roxbury High Fort aka the Cochituate Standpipe.


So here we are . . . it’s a whistle from the SS United States!  Are there any developments in her refurbishing?  For some interior shots of her I took two years ago, click here.   Here are some other photos taken on the SS United States.

As to the particulars on the whistle, here’s what I learned this morning from SW:  “The whistle from the United States is a Leslie Tyfon, size 300DVE-5.  [Click on that link to hear one of these.]  It was purchased in 1986 by my uncle at auction I believe through Marine Technologies  Brokerage Corp. out of N.Y.   We have a letter of authenticity and it is currently for sale to the best offer.  Last recorded offer was $10,000.00.  We feel it is much more valuable.  It was on of three steam whistles from the forward stack of the ocean liner.  My uncle purchased the large forward whistle.  Thanks for your curiosity.”


All photos taken by Will Van Dorp.

Many thanks to GT for the heads up and to Steve for the info on whistle.

Visiting Gloucester for me is always restorative.  Here are a few more photos I took Saturday and Sunday of




Full Moon, 


and Adventure.  That’s a great sequence of names!


Last fall she was sailing with some food cargo here.  And if I had an editor, that editor would be unhappy, because yesterday I suggested I’d seen Adventure in Boothbay last October.  Mea culpa  . . . I saw Ernestina!  Click here for a fairly active blog with updates on the work on Ernestina.


Lady Jane and


Ardelle .  .  . have fishing origins.  Ardelle is of course the older design but a much newer boat, and I DID see her in Boothbay, off the stern of Ernrstina.


Ardelle touched the water in summer of 2011.  See some of her history here.




When I took these photos of other pinky schooners in Essex in November 2009, Ardelle existed (maybe) only in plans.





I’m not sure where Maine and Essex are today–maybe right here–but as much as I enjoy seeing hulls out of the water, I’d rather see them afloat and underway.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has photos of yet another pinky tomorrow.

For more traditional vessels of Gloucester, see Paul’s post here.

Way too many years ago I made a trip back to Gloucester, as posted about here.  So I went back this weekend, had long talks with a few people, but of course that means I didn’t see all the people I would have liked to.  And although putting up these photos seems like walking on a concrete slab before it’s set, here I go, premature or not.

It’s the old 1952 Blue Ocean alongside some newer yachts.  This is the transition in Gloucester.


Here’s looking south toward Rocky Neck.  From left, it’s lobster boat Blivy Fish, Fort Point, and Disch’s old Dredge No. 200.   Click here for a post I did in 2009 showing the No. 200 in the KVK.  After the company owner died, the Disch equipment was auctioned off to the four winds.  One of Disch’s small tugs is on the Lake Erie now.  Fort Point used to be Patrick J. Hunt.


Waiting to go back in soon are Irish Piper and UB88, whose story you can find here on the GMG site.  More on GMG a little later.


F. H. Lane used to paint this scene.  Near the left, you see Our Lady of the Good Voyage, but lower,  more left I see a pinky stern and some interesting vessels made to the prominent dock.  Adventure‘s returned from Boothbay, where I saw both the black-hulled schooner and the pinky here.  More on these tomorrow.


Here’s the reciprocal shot, showing the bow of Adventure, which has a 90th year gala coming up in less than a month,  and a closer-up of the old motor life boat.  Anyone tell anything about her?  I know someone who probably can. Here’s another set of rebuilds.


This mystery life boat looks quite original.


Here’s Wanderbird with a schooner tied alongside.  Unicorn?  If so, did she ever sell?  Is Wanderbird for sale?  Also there, Lisa Ann III and Full Moon.  Overkill‘s in there too.


This beauty aint telling, nothing.


Here’s some info on Ardelle.


And here’s the home base for many things in Gloucester, including lobsters and community.  Cheers, Joey C. and GMG . . . Good Morning Gloucester.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Back in 1987, I took a leave from work (nearby in Newburyport) one morning to see a large Soviet factory ship that had finally been granted permission for shore leave in Gloucester after working offshore for months.  Here’s an article about that time.  Does anyone have photos to share of that?  I recall the chill I got seeing the hammer and sickle on the stack as she was tied up behind Gortons. I didn’t carry a camera much back then.

I could have called this a “scale” post, but I wanted to keep the thread.  The next two fotos were taken over a hundred years ago;  I used them back in 1989 in a now out-of-print book called Incomplete Journeys.  It was about shipwrecks in or near the mouth of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts.  The fotos show not salt but sand being loaded onto a schooner.  The vessel would be run onto the “sand pile” bank at high tide, loaded, and then floated off the next high tide.


These ships were called sand droghers there, although that usage doesn’t seem very widespread.   But I digress.


Let’s return to Port Newark, United Challenger, and salt.


61,000 tons of salt arrived on this ship.


Two men in cranes emptied the ship in about five days.


That involved an additional eight men driving trucks to the mountain.


Time lapse photography might be fun.


Notice the spiral staircase into the hold.  Also, this hatch is midships;  the bridge is quite a distance away.


Double click to enlarge (most fotos) this foto and just to the left of the Newark Bay Bridge, you’ll see WTC1.



This is taken from just forward of the first hatch, counting from the bow.


This is the bridge view.





This parting shot is from the starboard bridge wing.


Safe driving on icy roads.

All fotos (except the first two, of course)  by Will Van Dorp.   Many thanks to Brian DeForest of Atlantic Salt.

Three years ago when I visited Cape Ann, I returned obsessed with ideas about edifices and erections . . .  no no not what you think.  For a spell I toyed with efforts to grow ideas of erecting lights in the sixth boro like this . . . until I concluded–at the time–that our fair harbor already has its light. . . yet I’m ambivalent about the finality of that answer.

I like Gloucester’s unique reinvention of the tradition of a tree with lights, a genuine community effort, building the tree while building a community.

Evidence of community building showed elsewhere too  . .  like here.

The inscription barely visible in the foreground says “Step into my shoes and feel inspired,” and I did and was.  Fitz Hugh (or Henry) Lane‘s work is truly a memorial framing past.

Gloucester’s Harbor Walk has to be one of the most amazing ways to marry state-of-the-art technology with a  means to memorialize the past.  Here’s an article on its genesis and funding, and the  home website for these 42 “stations of the port.”

A stone’s throw from the water . . . a shrine to Gordon W. Thomas,  author of one of my all-time favorite books.

Here’s another memorial at the Portuguese church.

This marker in Bearskin Neck (Rockport) features some great obsolete words, seafencibles and “townsmen … in stockings.”

Actually, I was there in part to build a personal memorial, although I hadn’t known that when I first arrived.  Standing in Fitz’s shoes was inspirational.

And so  . ..  south of Straitsmouth Light, here memorialized in a postcard . . .  until some gust might topple it, a cairn stands.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Three years ago I did posts about wooden vessels and names while in the greater Cape Ann area.  This time what struck me was the variety of vessels in this small but intensely important peninsula.  Essex Shipbuilding Museum is always “must stop there” . . . and make a donation if you wish.  Essex has fewer than 4000 people.   Treat yourself to beautiful lines fleshed out in old  . . .

and new like these.

Speak of random tugs, it’s YTL-438, built on City Island, NY,  in 1944, Nicholas T today.

I can’t hear the word “Gloucester” without thinking of fish and lobsters and other sea life.  Read what Capt Joey has to say about Western Venture, here with Osprey. Joey’s GMG does “citizen journalism” par excellence on many aspect of Gloucester life, and a more historically focused website on Gloucester industry can be found here.

Vessels old and

new–like these three midwater trawlers of Western Sea Fishing— line the piers when they’re not at sea.   It no secret that fishing brings risks:  a vessel I featured here three years ago–Plan B-sank earlier this year.

Small and newish like Cat Eyes or

or classic, versatile, and large like 1924 Highlander Sea (for sale)  and 1926 Adventure both Essex built . . .  they all lie in the few dozen acres of water in Gloucester’s Inner Harbor.   See Adventure‘ s site here and some fun fotos here.

Treats appear at every glance, near and far.

Can anyone tell me more about Traveler . .  and all her lives?  Here’s what I learned from Good Morning Gloucester:  follow the comments and you’ll learn that she was launched in “1942 by Cambridge Ship Builder, Inc. based in MD, for the US Army. She is 79.9 ft. long, was a rescue boat serving in WWII picking up downed fighter pilots and had full infirmary facilities aboard.”

More Gloucester tomorrow.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who realizes he should come back here more often.   And if you’ve never been to Cape Ann, sooner is better.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below 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.


October 2016
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