You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Pioneer’ category.

Here are previous posts in this series.  All photos below come compliments of Mike Weiss and were taken on September 24, i.e., about a month after Wavertree rose out of the water on Caddell Dry Dock No. 6.


Rather than a very satisfying sifting through the index above, you can read a short history of Wavertree here.


Many thanks, Mike.



Time to renew your South Street Seaport Museum membership?

Here was part 1.  Thanks much for the comments.  My conclusion is that most but not all were taken at the 1986 centennial celebration of our lady of the harbor.    I am still seeking a photo of the canal tug Grand Erie, ex-USACE Chartiers, launched in 1951, at the event.

Barque Simón Bolívar it would be good to see her back in the sixth boro again.  At this point, she was less than a decade old.   This past summer, she called in various ports in the Caribbean.


Any help here anyone?


USS Iowa BB-61 served as the reviewing stand for the event.  Click here for scans of the day and here for video.  Can anyone identify the tug alongside the battleship starting at about 2:10?


Barque Eagle of course.  Can anyone identify the tugs in this photo?


It’s schooner Pioneer in the background.


The red-hulled vessel at the foot of the tower .  . is that stick lighter Ollie, now rotting away in VerPlanck?  See the end of this post.   Anyone know the USCG tug?


These look like the morning-after spent fireworks shells.  What did it say in front of “industry” here?  And here ends the photos supplied by Harry Thompson.


And here, as a note that I should do a post soon about Ollie . . . is one of the photos I took of her in 2010.  I saw her earlier in 2015, and it’ was even sadder by five years than this one.  Anyone have good pics of Ollie in her day?

Thanks very much, Harry, for getting this show going.

Tis the season . . .  to keep your eyes and ears on the weather.  In 1938 . . . before hurricanes had names or we had satellites to track them thousands of miles off, a big one came ashore on Long Island, a once-a-century-or-longer storm.   Do you know this structure below?


Here’s the ocean side view . . .




and the inland side.  To the right and up the Acushnet River are the ports of


New Bedford and Fairhaven.  Click here for info and photos on the building of the barrier.

The benchmark storm for the sixth boro is Sandy, and an event this past weekend happened on a location wiped out by the storm, Rockaway Beach at 106th Street.  Click here for posts/photos from my friend Barbara that chronicle the before/after in that part of NYC.  Welcome to the first annual Poseidon parade.




and a temporary replacement for Whalemina, the glacial erratic rolled away by Sandy.



Of the 10 worst hurricanes of the 20th century (judged by impact on the US), almost all happened  in September.  Since that link leaves off Katrina (??), I add this one.

Thanks to Barbara Barnard for the Poseidon Parade photos;  the ones from the Achushnet are by Will Van Dorp, who will have photos from up the Acushnet soon.   Technically, this fits into my “other watersheds” series.

There’s winter sail, spring sail, and autumn sail.  And today I’m just staying inside culling photos.   Since moving by wind has been around for millennia, Pioneer is a relatively modern vessel.


Pioneer, 1885

This vessel below can be “insanely fast.” I took this photos and ones that follow back on May 11, 2015 in Morris Canal.


Lending Club 2, 2015

Here’s another sixth boro regular, the largest NYC-based schooner.  See her here in winter maintenance.


Check out these special sails on Clipper City.

Here LC2‘s just finished the 635 nm run in less than 24 hours.


From Seth Tane on the Columbia River, it’s HMCS Oriole, US-built in 1921.


I’d love to see the interior of Lending Club 2, but my guess is . . . spartan.


Also from back in May . . . it’s Wavertree in the last feet of its transit for a major makeover, Thomas J. Brown sliding her over.



Here’s another shot of L’Hermione entering the Upper Bay for the first time.


And what do you make of this?


Maybe more on that last photo tomorrow.

Except for the photo by Seth Tane, all photos by Will Van Dorp.


First, if you’re free today and within travel distance of Lower Manhattan, do yourself a favor and attend this event, 4 p. m., a book signing by Dr. James M. Lindgren.  His new book is a much needed complement to Peter Stanford’s A Dream of Tall Ships, reviewed here a few months ago.   Details in Preserving South Street Seaport cover almost a half century and will enthrall anyone who’s ever volunteered at, donated to, been employed by, or attended any events of South Street Seaport Museum.  Lindgren laments SSSM’s absence of institutional memory saying, “Discontinuity instead defined the Seaport’s administration.”  Amen . .  as a volunteer I wanted to know the historical context for what seemed to me to be museum administrations’ repeated squandering of  hope despite herculean efforts on the part of volunteers and staff I knew.

As my contribution to creation of memory, I offer these photos and I’d ask again for some pooling of photos about the myriad efforts of this museum over the years.

Pier 17.  April 17, 2014.  According to Lindgren, this mall opened on Sept 11, 1985 with a fireworks show.  Its demise may by this week’s end be complete.


April 12, 2014.  Photo by Justin Zizes.


Feb 23, 2014.


Jan 21, 2014 . . . Lettie G. Howard returns.


Sept 20, 2013.  This is the last photo I ever took FROM the upper balcony of Pier 17.


Sept 12, 2013.


July 2012.  A fire had broken out on the pier, and Shark was the first on scene responder.   Damage was minimal, despite appearances here.


Now for some photos of vessels that have docked in the South Street area in the past half century.

July 2012 . . . Helen McAllister departs, assisted by W. O. Decker and McAllister Responder.


June 2012.  Departure of Marion M as seen from house of W. O. Decker.  Photo by Jonathan Boulware.  The last I knew, Marion M is being restored on the Chesapeake by a former SSSM volunteer.


Lettie G. Howard hauled out in 2009.


2009. The Floating Hospital . .  . was never part of the SSSM collection.


2009.  Maj. Gen. Hart aka John A. Lynch aka Harlem.


Helen McAllister with Peking and Wavertree.   Portion of bow of Marion M along Helen‘s starboard.


Mathilda posing with W. O. Decker in Kingston.  2009.


Moshulu now in Philadelphia.


2005, I believe.  Spuyten Duyvil (not a SSSM vessel) and Pioneer.


Thanks to Justin and Jonathan for use of their photos.  All others by Will Van Dorp.  For many stories on these vessels, that mall, and so much more, pick up or download these books and read them asap.



Between spring 2004 and summer 2007, I volunteered about 1000 hours at South Street Seaport Museum, or SSSM, mostly on Pioneer but also on W. O. Decker and Lettie G. Howard.  The experience was exhilarating—learning the lingo of schooner sailing and the lines and procedures, rustbusting and painting,  all good for maintaining youthfulness and  toning up aging muscle.  Without my time at SSSM, there might never have been this blog called tugster about a place I imagine as the sixth (and primary) boro.


What pulled me away from volunteering was my sprouting curiosity about all the other vessels and projects and careers in the harbor with more tugboats than I could recall without the assistance of my camera.  Downloading my photos after a day’s sail would lead to a night’s worth of googling, to learn what I could about the boats, companies, cargoes, and ultimately the crews.  Volunteering there felt focused too exclusively on SSSM and their vessels’ tracks from Pier 16 back to Pier 16.   This frustration should not have surprised me, given my lifelong wanderlust and curiosity.


SSSM has stayed with me though. One sweet memory I carry of SSSM is of the stories I heard as a volunteer about the time of creation, creation of the museum, that is.   But these stories came in fragments, and the gaps between have triggered lots more questions.  The more I heard, the less I felt I knew.   A Dream of Tall Ships, covering the time period from 1967 until 1974 in 500 pages, is like a vessel loaded deep with memories filtered through the recollections of Peter and Norma Stanford, founders of  SSSM.  The account is detailed and peopled with legends from a half century ago, a time when nautical giants were feeling the urge to preserve what remained of commercial sail, both coastwise and global.  People like Alan Villiers and Karl Kortum, “ship savers” who inhabit this book, strike me as optimists who could imagine second (or “new”) lives for these old vessels built a century or more before. The Stanfords recall their travels to places like Punta Arenas and the old port of Buenos Aires to purchase Wavertree, one of the tall ships that seem in hibernation down at SSSM today.  The photo below–taken from among the over 60 images in the the book, shows Wavertree in the condition SSSM acquired her.


The book describes a time in the history of SSSM and New York City when it seemed that only the brightest future could lie ahead.  When SSSM sponsored an event, the most powerful, brightest, wealthiest, and most generous of the city rolled up their sleeves and weighed in.  In a timeline of SSSM events in the postscript pages of the book, names appearing include Jack Kaplan, Brooke Astor, as well as Laurance and David Rockefeller.  Then there are giants like Pete Seeger and Burl Ives.  At a January 5, 1968 meeting at the Whitehall Club to launch SSSM’s James Monroe Luncheons, the pantheon of New York’s maritime industry showed up to listen to ocean historian Robert G. Albion speak. NY political elite like Mayor Lindsay were there, as was the famed naval architect Howard Chapelle.

Real estate struggles existed already back at the creation, but it seemed manifest that SSSM would grow into a premier maritime institution, center of the New York State Maritime Museum, and more.  Stanford documents the growing membership.  New York was heady with the growing fleet of tall ships and other interesting vessels.  Exciting happenings like Sea Day seemed to spread a love of the city’s connection with the sea, an event that predates “City of Water” day.

But don’t take my word for all the memories in this book.  I hope enough of you read this book—skim quickly through the too-long segments about martinis and such– and maybe if enough of us start to glow again with embers long ignored, maybe new energies will again start up the dream to make SSSM a street of tall ships that will inspire seafarers of the future.

As I stated earlier, the book has over 60 photos, like the one below showing Wavertree first arriving at the museum, and


this one, showing ARA Libertad docked at the SSSM in July 1969 after delivering a portion of the Wavertree‘s topmast, shattered off in 1910 while rounding Cape Horn.  Two other interesting notes about the photo below.  First, when the Commissioner of Ports and Terminals tried to block Libertad from docking at the SSSM pier, Libertad‘s Captain Vazquez Maiztegui responded, “Libertad will berth in New York at South Street Seaport, no other place.”  Second, at around the same time, Pete Seeger and Clearwater put in there to celebrate her first arrival in New york.


I immensely enjoyed this book.  My only regret is that it didn’t contain 160 photos or 1600 photos.  For example, on September 20, 1968, a Bronx River Towing tug delivered the vessel today known as Lettie G. Howard to Pier 16;  I’d love to know more and see a photo.  Square Rigger Bar & Grille is repeatedly mentioned;  let’s see at least the facade.  I’d be thrilled if an electronic addendum of photos from these early years could remedy this.

Here, here  and here are two posts I’ve previously done using photos showing history of vessels in  SSSM’s collection.

Again, get the book and read it soon.

Click here for some previous reviews I’ve posted.

Here’s the treat I’ll leave you with for a few days.  The twin towers in the background should clearly state we aren’t in Kansas or 2013 anymore.  Please comment on your speculations.   Foto #1


This is from the converging waters just south of the Battery.  Notice the towers to the right.    Foto#2


Note the stripe on Coursen‘s bow.   Foto #3


Note the I-beam structure to the right.  Foto #4


Note the relative positions of the towers and the Manhattan-side Holland Tunnel vent.  Foto #5


Again, thanks in advance for your comments and reminiscences.

Source will be credited soon.

Pioneer headed southwest,  then


and Clipper City taking her stern.

Laura K Moran takes the stern of an Offshore Sailing School boat.

A small sloop appears to go head-t0-head with Meriom Topaz and does the same with

Americas Spirit, as the tanker is lightered and provisioned.

And finally .  . is the green cata-schooner passing off the stern of Comet really Heron, which I last saw in Puerto Rico here (last foto)?

Here she tacks to the east just north of the Verrazano.  And Saturday night I spotted her again passing southbound through Hell Gate.

I hope to have more exciting autumn sail soon.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here was 7.

There are figureheads, and then there are figures on the head rig.

Or dancers on the jibboom?

Whatever part of a sail evolution this was, it looked

like fun on Shearwater.

Pioneer too seemed to relish playing in the Upper Bay the other evening,

tacking off Ellis Island.

I saw another too after dark, a non-sixth-boro schooner, but I couldn’t make the ID.  All fotos here by Will Van Dorp, who imagines  thrilling autumn schooner sails in his near future.

Here was 2, nearly three years ago.  I could also call this “some of the parts,” which is what I show . . . and you guess the rest.

We start with an easy one;  answer will be clear once you get through a half dozen or so.

The ladders are distinctive.

I airbrushed out the first name.

If you were out on the sixth boro today, you might know these next ones.

The gray one is Newtown Creek.

Not the same vessel as above.  Note the light at the Narrows far right.

Purrty sail!  And then the answers.

Top one was the schooner Pioneer.

Meredith C. Reinauer

Joan Turecamo

BW Hudson

Han Jin Chittagong

Basuto     Now I want to know what the relationship is between Stolt and Unicorn . . .   And Basuto is a South African word.

Stolt Efficiency

“Gunboat” catamaran Tiger Lily

And here’s the prize for putting up with my format:  America 2.0 heeling over in the stiff breeze of the Upper Bay this afternoon.

All fotos taken today by Will Van Dorp, who didn’t even expect to be here today.



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