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Either this foto is science fiction, fotos of Eagle –which arrives on August 5 appearing on this blog already on August 4– or

this is a rehearsal, including crew in the rigging and

vessel lining up for fotos shoots-future, a real 75-year-old barque 

doing dances with a 25-year-old replica, getting ready for

the official entry into the Upper Bay tomorrow.

Actually, I’d prefer you believe the sci-fi explanation, a narrative that allows me to believe these vessels (Peking, for example, was built at Blohm + Voss as was Eagle … ex-Horst Wessel …)  are heartsick to be bound, gagged, and held hostage at these piers . . .  rather than sailing and sallying forth to join the celebration.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  If you are anywhere near the Narrows tomorrow morning, watch reality catch up with sci-fi and witness Eagle sail her way (if there’s wind) up to the Statue.

Quick post . . . when will Janice Ann Reinauer and the other emigrants load onto Blue Marlin?

Peking‘s 100th birthday aka launch date has NOT officially been mentioned by South Street Seaport Museum . . . her guardian . . . but then again, nothing else has been discussed in detail by this secretive disorganization.  A good dozen folks spoke on behalf of saving the museum at last night’s Community Board 1 meeting.

Thanks much to Justin Nash for this foto of the horns of Brangus;  she worked in NYC waters  for Great Lakes Dock and Dredge two years ago, but I’ve never seen a foto of the horns of this mighty vessel . . . til now, and maybe neither have you.  Tugboats used to regularly sport eagles atop the house.

And finally, for now, Hocking came through the KVK recently with what appeared to be loosely attached outriggers.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Finally, three people asked yesterday whether I had “coined” the now-ubiquitous term “sixth boro” to refer to the waters that unite the other five boros of New York City and its Jersey neighbors.  The answer is–for that usage–YES, loud and clear.  And I’m thrilled that so many folks have adopted the term.

See fotos from the Save our Seaport rally here and here.    Below, with Peking and Helen McAllister as backdrop of “hostage” vessels , South Street Seaport founder and first president Peter Sanford speaks of the Museum’s past AND future, while

supporters listen and cheer.    Ships . . . present.  Supporters . . . present and spirited.  Current management  . . .   er . . .   absent!!??

Well then, some new lyrics to “Leave her Johnny,” a traditional sea shanty melody . . . click here if you don’t know the tune.

Oh the times were hard and donations slow

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

But it’s no excuse for the ships to go

And it’s time for you to leave us.


Leave us, Frankie, leave us

Oh, leave us, Mary, leave us,

For the ships must stay and you must go

And it’s time for you to leave us.


So we’ll sand and paint through snow and rain

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

And sail our tug and schooners again

And it’s time for you to leave us.


Scrimshaw models print shop too

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

Should all be out on public view 

And it’s time for you to leave us


Long hours, hard work, and nopay

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

The volunteers do more than play

And it’s time for you to leave us


Fotos by Will Van Dorp, who previously posted our the Seaport struggle here and here.

Meanwhile and unrelated, an update on Blue Marlin . . . as of late afternoon, Blue Marlin had still not “sunk,” and the tug starboard aft is Vulcan III, no doubt assisting with preparations to receive the cargo.

Just a quick update:  I’ve heard from 11 people–some on email–willing to put up some money.  I intended this as pledging a la Public Radio/Television.  I had imagined that once a sizeable amount of money was pledged and a goal for the money was agreed upon, we could collect the money.  May Day–the seasonal one–arrives soon.  The dire one I hope never arrives.  To fuel the discussion, I’m putting up fotos never before (I think) never posted here.  Like Peking,


Helen and Marion, Pioneer without the orange raft,

Adam flaking,

schooners side by side,


more Peking at Caddell’s,

and Decker.

Ambrose soon.  All fotos by will Van Dorp.

I’m offering to give away a Benjamin Franklin, or a half dozen.  And I’ll do it before May Day!!   See the end of the post.

The foto below–never posted here before–comes from 2005 and shows “the schooners,”  a handsome Pioneer (1885) and elegant Lettie G. Howard (1893), 244 years of sailing between them.    On a personal note, I logged in over 600 hours as a volunteer on these two boats as well as on W. O. Decker between 2004–2006.  That means winter maintenance as well as summer sailing.

Such nautical treasures are these vessels (left to right:  Marion M, Wavertree, W. O. Decker, and Peking) and so many fine folks, volunteers as well as professional crew, did I meet during this time . .  that

current developments at that place created as South Street Seaport break my heart and then make me angry.

When word on the street says Museum administration is looking to  “send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage” and otherwise declining comment on the crumbling state of affairs, I hope to hear that these same administrators abdicate their positions.  These vessels are no white elephants.  These are no “floating paperweights.”

During my years as an active volunteer, I knew this place could be much more than a red barn with seven masts sticking up above it.

Conditions of giving away my Benjamins:  current Museum president Mary Pelzer resign effective immediately and  a committee focused on the vessels be installed forthwith.  And, I’d like 1000 people (former volunteers, boat fans, former professional crew members, just plain fans of these vessels, or friends and friends of friends of any of the above)  to pledge at least a Benjamin each to be deposited with a trustworthy  and maricentric steward by May 1, 2011.   This could be the “seaport spring.”  Let’s not let this go to May Day.

See the selection below from yesterday’s New York Post.   Here’s info on a “Save our Ships” meeting for April 28.   All fotos above by Will Van Dorp.

“Abandoning ships: City’s old vessels lost in fog of debt, neglect,” New York Post, April 25. “Rotting wood covers their decks, their masts are flaked with rust, and their hulls are corroding.
New York’s last tall ships — once-proud symbols of the Big Apple’s rise to greatness — are in a shameful state of disrepair as the museum that’s supposed to care for them sinks in a Bermuda Triangle of debt and bad management. Seaport Museum New York has closed its landside galleries and is looking to send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage.
The museum’s stationary ships — Peking, one of the biggest sailing ships ever built, Wavertree, a three-masted cargo ship, and Ambrose, a lightship that a century ago guided sailors into New York harbor — face an unknown fate. ‘Those ships, which are emblematic of our heritage on the waterfront, are almost being left to rot,’ said Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit groups. . . . The museum declined comment, except to say it is ‘exploring various options’ to maintain its vessels.”

Elizabeth Wood took the following pics just over three years ago;  I hated the gloomy light that day, but now I find it appropriate given the topic this post.  Below is a letter from Peter Stanford, founder of South Street Seaport Museum, who thinks the current chairman and director should resign.

<<   … a  long slide from four piers under Seaport Museum control and a museum  that was operating in the black until corporate managers took control, who sold out to Rouse in 1980. In those days you helped lead “a revival of spirit” (as  a NY Times headline called it) in 1980, when Jakob (Isbrandtsen] and the Wavertee Volunteers turned to, supported by NMHS, and saved the ship from the sale or scrapping as set forth in the Rouse plan. Today we have one pier and have lost our urban renewal status which gave the Seaport Museum control of waterfront development which now proceeds regardless of museum needs and interests.

Seaport management asked Terry Walton and myself, with another seaport founder, Robert Ferraro, to develop an outline plan for the ships. We’ve now done this, after consultation with leaders in the Mystic, San Diego, and Erie maritime museums.  These good souls run active, creative ship programs. And they have the vision to see that failure of the historic ships’ cause in New York would deal a deadly blow to the movement nationally – and in fact, internationally. As soon as we have final approval by Ray Ashley in San Diego, Dana Hewson in Mystic, Walter Rybka in Erie we’d like to circulate a summary of the Ships Plan to bring fresh life and interest to the ships of South Street.

We might also hold a meeting of informed people on what the Seaport needs and what it can deliver. We might hold this meeting on Maritime Day, 22 May, during the scheduled visit of the Gazela of Philadelphia, the last square-rigger in the immemorial Newfoundland fisheries – Jakob’s old skipper Robert Rustchak is relief skipper and trustee of the ship, and I hope he can help us do this in proper style. And I hope others of like mind may also weigh in to get a public campaign rolling.

ACTION THIS DAY! Meantime we urgently need e-mails to Mayor Bloomberg ( and the NY Times (212) 639-9675), to let the Mayor (www/ know that the fate of the Seaport Museum cannot be left to real estate interests in high cabal, and to alert Times readers to back-alley dealings over an institution which has been a resource and inspiration to many New Yorkers – which needs their support to tell the story of New York as a city built by seafaring,  which is vital its well-being and progress on the sea trades today and tomorrow. >>

To any who wants to e-mail Mayor Michael Bloomberg, put this address on your browser line This will bring you to a form to email the mayor. Max 300 words.  What to write?

Whatever you want, whatever you know.  If you don’t know much, keep in mind that ( as Rick Old Salt reports)  Peter Stanford, Museum founder, has so little confidence in the the current leadership of the Museum that he calls for them to resign.   I’m not privy to the inner workings at the Museum, but I did invest 1000 volunteer hours there, ending a few years back because the low morale among folks who worked there just broke my heart.   If you know anyone who has ever worked there, ask them.

A vibrant port city, with its active sixth boro, deserves an energetic and maricentric museum, determined to provide residents and visitors to New York ” a living maritime museum …  on New York’s historic waterfront, where a century ago a thousand bowsprits pointed the way to commercial greatness,”   as Robert S. Gallagher wrote in October 1969.  And a functional research library . . . that would be nice, too.  May brighter days lie ahead.  And may Peking and her sister vessels breathe again.

To see pics of Peking as a proud merchant vessel under sail, click here . . . last three fotos.  For fotos of  Peking‘s first arrival at the Narrows on the wire of Utrecht, click here.

First, to get back to the mystery tug . . . It was taken in Dordrecht,  a city of about 120,000 whose history goes back 1000 years.  In this area about 20 miles southeast of Rotterdam, the rivers Noord, Oude Maas, Dordtse Kil and Beneden Merwede meet.  That foto–as well as all the others in this post– comes via Jan van der Doe, frequent commenter on this blog.  According to Jan, Dordrecht is the busiest shipping intersection in Europe.  It has been and still is very important for the inland shipping.

Tug below is Rotterdam, 22,000 hp, formerly owned by Smit, then Smitwijs, and now Switzer.  A foto of a Smit tug (or related subsequent) company towing bark Peking into the sixth boro appeared here.  Rotterdam towed SS France on its long journey to Alang here (scroll about halfway through).

Study this foto Jan took on the waterfront in Rotterdam;  look for odd features.

Info follows.

Dockyard IX is a 500 hp steam tug, currently owned by The Maritime Museum. It was built in 1940 for dockyard work and owned by the Rotterdamse Droogdok Maatschappij (literally, “Rotterdam Drydock Company”).  The stack location allows the skipper unobstructed view while towing and assisting during docking and un-docking.

Enclosing the stack in the house also solved the heating problem during the winter months, although I’m not sure what that means for summer.

Variable height houses are used in the Netherlands, like on Maasstroom 9 (1957), here near Vlaardingen (my father’s birthplace!!), and

Matricaria.  (Note:  in this link, check out all the wind turbines in the background;  the Dutch seem to have traded old model windmills for new.)

Left to right, MTS Vengeance (1988) and Koral (1976).

I love the colors.  Vengeance is UK-registered and Koral Maltese.

These last two foto make me wonder when last a foreign-flagged tug traversed the sixth boro.

All fotos by Jan van der Doe.  Jan, hartelijk dank.

Unrelated:  I’ve NOT seen Rosemary McAllister for some time now.  Anyone know where she is?

Updates on Mon Lei, see Matt at Soundbounder.

February 24, 1836 . . . is the birthday of my favorite watercolorist.  Who?  Answer follows.

For most of these shots, some of which remind me of watercolor, I’m not going to identify the vessel, although all (except the orange one below)  floated somewhere in the sixth boro.  As to the watercolorist, he died at age 74.  As to the orange one, the watercolorist died less than 100 miles north of where that lobster boat, which has appeared in this blog before, docks.

Some  of my favorite works by this artist featured scenes in the Keys and points east and south.

He did some stunning war work, too, like one of a Union sharpshooter aka sniper in tree.

Peripatetic, he got up to the Adirondacks to paint a lot of canoe and fishing tableaux.

Some of his sunsets immersed maritime subjects–lots of schooners– in Gloucester.

The vessel, high and dry below, is Peking, which Winslow Homer never painted, but I’ll bet he wished he had the chance.  See 481 of his works here.  Peking, featured here many times before, launched a year after Winslow Homer died.

He would have turned a mere 174 today, and I’ll bet he’d be waterblogging and watercoloring.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  This post is dedicated to my second . . .  well, actually first among those I know,  favorite watercolorist.

Technically this is a post about the effects of weather;  I couldn’t document the wind-driven snow because it happened in darkness.  Maybe you witnessed it; I took the coward’s way out and crawled into bed early.  I trudged out early to record these effects like the wreath on Liberty IV having more frosting than two days back; in fact the after deck

has the same covering as Bedloe’s Island in the distance.  Exactly two months ago already I tramped in snow upstate.

Wherever Morgan Reinauer’s headed from seemed to offer a glazing.

A crewman on Pegasus (the younger not the ancient) demonstrates why a snow shovel is standard equipment.

Wavertree sprouts some fangs around her stern.

Austin Reinauer heads eastbound past the crushed stone piles deposited by Alice and her sisters or cousins.

W. O. Decker nestles among other snow-covered historical vessels.  The black hull foreground left is Peking, former schoolship Arethusa (the second?).

Amy C. McAllister looked somewhat hoary this morning, and

Marjorie B. McAllister, house up, moves this barge into a snow-sweeping wind for the first time since last night.

Ancient Helen, it piled up on her.

And the final shot for now . . . I believe it’s Emma Foss (a really outa-towner)  pulling an interesting but unidentifiable barge;  the tow was too far past when I noticed.  Had I stayed along the East River a bit longer, I would have gotten a close-up.  Anyone have an idea?  ((Thanks to Stan Willhight, the answer follows.  Much obliged, Stan))

All fotos by Will Van Dorp today.

Answer to the mystery tow above, Emma Foss is towing barge Columbia Boston, the fifth Cianbro module for a Motiva crude refinery in Port Arthur, Texas.  Watch a video showing tow departure from the Cianbro dock on the Penobscot here.  Interesting close-ups, interactions with the USCG Bridle,  and perfect illustration for Bowsprite’s boat time post on a three-watch system.  FYI, the tow left the sixth boro aka exited the Narrows around 1300 Sunday headed south.

Doesn’t that look like the Staten Island shore out beyond this color foto of Utrecht?  And the towline stretches taut with 3100 gross tons of steel, a hull that wants to sprint its 16 knots and some:


the bark Peking, late summer 1975, approaching the Narrows for the first time ever, as its previous route took it around Cape Horn.


Let’s walk around the foto a bit.  Invisible on this foto, some of the missing spars lie on deck.


The 1975 paint scheme differs from from that on the 1929-30 foto, and from the current one.  The assist tug appears to be a McAllister.


And on its 17-day passage from the UK, a “riding crew” rode Peking, there to stand watch and perform any as-needed functions excluding anything involving navigation, as Peking had non-functional rudder and no means of propulsion.  Several people are visible on deck below.  Lots of questions come to mind:  would a “dead ship” in general and Peking specifically have a generator on board?  What navigation lights are required?  What damage control would they have anticipated?  How different was radio communications tug-to-Peking 34 years ago?  Did watches include bilge and hold checks?  Who was this crew and what specialties did they have?  Did they take any fotos, and if so, where might those fotos be?


Peking masts are all steel;  topgallants were shortened.


What tales the crew of this tow must have told!  I’d love to learn more of the details of Peking‘s most recent passage, recent although 34 years ago.

Thanks to John for sending a link to the story (and many pics)  of Bear, which after a long life and many roles, sank while under tow from Halifax to Philadelphia for conversion to restaurant on the Delaware, a role currently played by Moshulu.  If you’ve seen Peking, you must visit Moshulu–and eat there to see the tweendecks.  Moshulu launched seven years before Peking also for the nitrate trade but from Scotland.

I’m curious:  any readers who know the ports of Chile today . . . is there recollection of the time a century back when these large commercial sail vessels arrived and departed with raw materials from the the Atacama Desert?  I’d love to hear.

Many thanks to Charlie Deroko for images and information.

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