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Hats off to all the sailboats that SAIL in, like Knotta Yachta here and Serenity in the distance. 

I know there are reasons that sometimes require motoring in, as the beautiful ketch Bellina was here. 

. . . or in drizzle, Adventurer.

But this cutter (?) came in the other day and impressed me.

This boat had four sails set and a fair tide

 

and through the Narrows they came,

 

and sailed in as far as I followed them.  Merry crew, hats off. 

All photos and any errors, WVD.

The two headsails make that a cutter rig, right?

 

I’ll return to the Erie Canal tomorrow, but for now . . . the clock is ticking louder.

In exactly 24 hours, Grouper will thaw out;  a new owner, the person with the highest bid, will be acclaimed.  I’ve been following the fate of this boat in Wayne County for so many years that I can’t look away as we get to this milestone.  So have a lot of people who live nearby, or live farther away and have been intrigued about it since it arrived.  Many others know it from its various places of work in the Upper Great Lakes, having some family connection going back many decades.

The big question is . . . Will it be scrapped or reimagined as a vessel of some sort.  Reimagining has been a theme of NYS canal efforts in recent years, right?

Here’s one of my first photos of the boat, literally frozen in place, a great metaphor for its years of being frozen in time, showing remarkable resilience to the ravages of rust.  In all this time of neglect and in the absence of bilge pumps, it has not sunk, has not gone down to a muddy grave where the catfish and gobies lurk.

Friends have devoted countless hours reimagining Grouper.

Lee Rust sent along these diagrams highlighting the hull similarities, the 1912 tugboat and

a late 19th century sail/steam half model.

Lee writes:  “Maybe we’ve been misunderstanding the possibilities of Grouper by getting [ourselves] stuck on the old tug story. Here’s what she really is. Subtract Kahlenberg, add ballast, masts & sails. Maybe an auxiliary electric motor to turn the propeller. Voila! Clean and green and good for another 100 years. Piece of cake! Only [a day] left to decide to take that plunge. Here’s [an aerial] view of the hull model revealing the significant difference in beam [and bow design] from Grouper, but the profiles are almost identical. This even shows where the masts would go.

 

A simpler approach might be to remove 15 tons of Kahlenberg and replace with 7 tons of batteries and an electric propulsion system. This might be enough to decrease draft by the 3 feet needed to maneuver in the current Canal. Compare the waterline on the model to that of Grouper.  Image below shows ship model by my friend Rob Napier.

Looking back at this hypothetical lift diagram I made [above],  aside from the difference in beam, the antique hull model could be that of any ‘City’ class Great Lakes tug. (You can pick out the ‘City’ class tugs here.]  The ‘lifted’ waterline on Grouper is awfully close to that of the model. I suppose this hull form was pretty normal back at the end of the 19th century and the tugboat designers of the time just went with what they knew and hoped the vessels wouldn’t sink when they threw in all that coal and machinery.

OK, I know… daydreaming again. Must be time for my nap.”

Thanks,  Lee.  As I said before, lots of people have been looking at these “excessed canal vessels” for a long time now, and tomorrow, in the heat of summer, Grouper will thaw out.  May the highest bidder win and show exuberance in reimagining canal technology.

 

Related:  This NYTimes article from this past week which examines sail designs on cargo vessels is worth a look.

 

 

It’s June, and I’m starting my 176th month doing tugster.  Wow!  how many hours might I have put into this now? 

June 2011 saw some interesting sailboats and boats.  This post mentions only a few and covers the first half of the month.

The Dyna-rigged Maltese Falcon was in town, sailing at 20 kts across the harbor and then dousing all sails almost instantly at the push of a button. She’s currently in Messina, IT.

Blue Marlin was in town and spent three weeks loading US tugs and barges sold to Nigerian interests.  Most of these names–Dean Reinauer, Curtis Reinauer, Janice Ann Reinauer, and John Reinauer–have been re-used on quite different tugboats.  “Three weeks to load a Float on-float off . . .?” you might be wondering.

Well, there were some setbacks with ill-fitting cradles.

Eventually, everything found its place and stayed there. 

I recall taking photos from Fort Wadsworth and overhearing some folks concerned “the big orange ship” was sinking.

Sixth boro haze that June made for some dull photos.  If you want to relive the ordeal of loading, click here for the tugster six-part “groundhog day” series.

Reefer Albemarle Island got assistance into the Red Hook terminals from Brendan Turecamo and Margaret Moran. Currently, the reefer is running between Martinique and Panama.

EPA Bold came into town;  the 1989 USNS Vigorous has changed hands several times and is now operated as Bold Explorer, an EGS survey vessel.

The 2007 Barbara C became Arabian Sea and is currently Saint Emilion.

The 5100 teu Cosco New York gets an assist from Miriam Moran.  Currently, she’s running south along the western Mexico coast.

We began with a luxury sailing vessel;  Black Seal made one run into the sixth boro with a cargo on cacao from Dominican Republic.  The three-masted schooner is currently at a mooring in Pocasset MA.

Let’s lleave it here for now, with all photos, WVD.

 

May Day!  It’s a busy day without access to my archives.  May 2011 . . .  Urger in Lyons NY, waiting for the dry dock to flood.

Back in the sixth boro, it’s Elk River and Siberian Sea…eastbound at Con Hook, and  

near the same location, it’s Lincoln Sea and Eastern Dawn, both westbound.

Greenland Sea . . . also westbound.

Barbara McAllister has long gone from the boro, as have some of the vessels above and below. 

Others, like Eagle Service, have been renamed. 

This Ken’s Marine Service boat I saw once, and I’d still love to know the story and current disposition.  Anyone?

Shelby Rose is still in the boro, but when I last saw her at a dock, her vivid livery was greatly faded.

Gazela is still in Philly.  She arrived here in May 2011 to dock at Atlantic Salt, I believe, in a driving rain.

And in late May, the orange Blue Marlin arrived in town for the longer-than-expected loading process of some boats sold to Nigerian interests. If I recall correctly, that Trumpy (?) yacht is still in the boro.

Happy May Day . . .  smell the flowers, work in the garden, or even dance around the pole today if you are so inclined.  Or, you might choose to adopt the May Day tradition of  University of St. Andrews students in Scotland . . .

All photos from the archives . . .  WVD. 

April 1, 2011 … and this was not a joke.  More on this distressed vessel at the end of this post.

McCormack Boys and

Turecamo Girls with Barney Turecamo.  All three are still working in the same liveries, I believe.

Long Island-built Escort was phased out as a certain coal-fired power plant shut down.  She’s taken on new life as Northstar Innovator, based on NJ’s

Maurice River, although I’ve yet to see her. 

Stad Amsterdam is not currently in Amsterdam;  she’s not far away though in Scheveningen.  If you want to pronounce this shibboleth as a Dutch speaker would, have a listen. 

Spring sunrises . . .  Coming into port is the 2017-scrapped Atlantic Cartier

escorted by Ellen McAllister and

passing Bow Clipper and Maria J.  That tug is now Nicholas Vinik. Bow Clipper is now in Santos Brasil. 

The venerable Chemical Pioneer was ushered in by Ellen McAllister and McAllister Responder. I say “venerable” because she was built using the stern of Sea Witch, after a massive conflagration in the port, told here by the Fire Fighter site.   .

Two small USMMA boats made their way through the fog.   I’m not sure the name of the vessel to the left, but the one to the right was Growler and she’s back (though hidden away) in the sixth boro.

Of course, I post a photo of Kristin Poling, which had only a few months of service left at this point. She started service in 1934 as Poughkeepsie Socony.

Marion M . . . I’ve been told she was sold to parties in the Chesapeake who planned to restore her and put her up for sale in 2018.  Does anyone have an update on that?

And finally, we return to Le Papillon . . .  the 48′ steel schooner was dragged off the beach but I lost track of her after that.  I believe she was cut up.

It all seems like stuff from long ago . .    all photos, WVD.

So in a recent post, you had a glimpse of this small craft, which I initially thought was a fishing boat.   I know how addictive fishing can be, since I used to ice fish and canoe fish.

But it turned out to be Lynn, a Ken‘s boat, used for line and boom handling. I’d not before noticed that some of these small boats have names.

Another boom and line handling company, ACV Enviro, also has names on their boat.  Meet Miss Urvi, an interesting name in several ways.

Here’s Miss Urvi showing my bow on a foggy day.

An intriguing small craft departed the Narrows yesterday.  Where is it headed I wonder.  It looked to be no more than 35′ and the name might be Sirius.

I’m not sure who operates Grace D, but she’s been in the harbor for the better part of a decade doing launch service.

 

Head on . . . who is this survey boat?  Notice the up fold-down transponder on the bow between the hulls.

It’s USACE.  I believe it’s a Silver Ship boat.

At first, I didn’t know what I was looking at when I saw six knees.  Sure, Gabby I knew and I saw a small boat to starboard,

but

there were two alongside, one on each side.  And on the far side, it’s Mister “B”...   a new one for me.

So it is.  All photos, WVD.

Barebones post today . . .  since these photos I took between 1030 and 1130.  By now, 1230, they’ve dropped the pilot at the end of Ambrose and set a course for . . .  warmer weather and

(but first sails need to be raised…

and adjusted.)

… warmer weather in Dominican Republic, where a load of cocoa awaits in that tropical heat, two weeks or so ahead.

Mid North River, they tacked and 

waved at the French Lady and

us . .  on the Media Boat

and they headed for the opening.

Bon voyage.  Many thanks to Bjoern at the New York Media Boat.

All photos, WVD.

More context . . .  see previous installments of Grain de Sail here. For info on their cargo, click here.

 I took these photos back in early August 2019 in the village where I learned to swim . . . Sodus Point.   When I asked a few people about it, I heard that it was a wreck, it was done  . . .  etc. 

The small schooner clearly had been loved at one time.

Last week I learned the good news that the lift had loaded it onto a trailer to take it to a yard for  . . .

restoration!  So I finally googled it, which I’d not thought to do before, and lo and behold . . . it has pedigree!  It was designed by William H. Hand, and launched in Rocky River OH in 1918.  The S. S. S. means “Sea Scout Ship.”  Thirty years ago, it had been trucked to Rivendell Marine, in Monument Beach MA in 1991. 

All photos, WVD, and story to be continued.

Photo and discussion below can be found on FB, John Kucko Digital . . .  December 21, 2020.  By the way, John Kucko is a legend up in western and central NYS. Tugboat in the background is Donald Sea.

Since this post features a sailing post, let me share what I’ve been watching, based on a suggestion of a reader from South Africa.

First a trip from the Falklands to Capetown on an impressive boat this past summer.

Then I learned the name of the boat and the concept developer, Skip NovakHere‘s more Skip Novak.

Then I learned of his latest project . . . 2020 into 2021, appropriate for these days.

Thx, Colin.  This is good winter fare.

First you might want to watch these three videos of this vessel traveling from France to the US.  They merit subtitles like setting out,   riding the storm,  and fooling around.  All the talk is in French, but you don’t need to understand to catch the spirit.   OK, here’s a fourth clip with more great sailing.

When I posted part 1, I wasn’t sure I’d get to visit the boat. You also can visit the boat by “buying” a free ticket . . . a crowd control protocol.  As soon as some sail repairs are complete, the schooner heads south to the Caribbean to pick up coffee and cocoa beans, then to France, back to NYC . .  etc.  They call it a virtuous circle, not triangular trade.  The virtue part of the trade is delivery of humanitarian goods from NYC to parts of the Caribbean, e.g., school supplies . . . 

The cutaway below shows the hold, between the masts.  There’s space there for 28 pallets, 50 tons.  A photo of the hold I took follows eventually below. 

Grain de Sail is a prototype.  It’s referred to as a VOTAAN 72, seventy-two feet loa, and VOTAAN is the acronym for “V oilier O céanic de T ransport tr A ns A tlantic i N novating“, which translates as “innovative [cargo] transportation by trans-Atlantic sailing,”  which, IMHO alludes obliquely to the fact that the point is to carry cargo, in this instance, wine, up to 18,000 bottles of a number of varieties of it. Here’s an interview with Matthieu Riou, U.S. Wine & Spirits Director at Grain de Sail, vessel name and company name .  As to it being a working prototype, designers in France are already working on the follow up, a 50-meter sailing ship with five times the capacity.

Although Marseille is the port of registry, the home port is Saint-Malo in Brittany. Many more details on the vessels, its sails, and its captain can be found here. The captain, Loïc Briand, joined the project as a way of doing something different after years of working on North Sea wind projects.

The vessel can fly seven sails:  mainsail, foremast, staysail, ORC, solent, genoa and asymmetric spinnaker.  It also has a 115 hp Nanni engine, used only for maneuvering in port. 

Here’s the open-though-protected helm, with stowage space for harnesses and helmets, and forward of that

is the enclosed cockpit.  Children of Grain de Sail employees by in France have sent along their stuffed animals as proxies for themselves seeing the oceanic marvels.

And finally . . . this is the hold.  Attention has been paid to secure cargo stowage on motor vessels in designing this hold.  Pad eyes abound, and air bags are placed in voids to prevent cargo shift.  A custom hand truck (yellow and festooned with straps) stows very low profile.

Here’s a shot of the cargo being loaded into the hold, and

Showing scale, here Matthieu and Stefan Gallard hold their logo, and

topside, there’s more.  L to r, it’s daughter with bowsprite, Laurent Apollon, Capt. Loïc Briand, and yours truly . . .  WVD.  And to the right, the gwenn-ha-du, the flag of Brittany.

Again, see above for tickets to visit the boat in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  No wine is available for sale on the boat;  that was offloaded in Port Elizabeth last week and “resting” after the voyage.  You can get info on that purchasing here

All color photos, WVD.

It still says Eastern Star Dawn, but now it’s Toula!

She’s going to look great all buff and green.

Barry Silverton finally

has a lion on its stack!  All those birds?  It’s water teeming with the bunker, the bunker that recently drew a humpback into the Upper Bay.

Pelham, launched in 1960, is always a pleasant sight.  She has a list of previous names almost as long as my seasonal wish list this year.

Here she took a wake on the bow.

James William used the waters off the salt pile

as a turning basin.

And finally, after a long hiatus down south, CMT Pike has returned.  When i caught her, she was being pursued

by this container ship.

All photos, WVD.

Unrelated but of interest, below . . .

yes, Grain de Sail is a 72′ schooner coming into the sixth boro with a 50-ton cargo hold, some of it refrigerated, bringing in French wine.  She’ll set up a market in the Brooklyn Navy Yard for about a week.  Contact info and an e-shop can be found here, although you’ll have to use a machine translate if you’re not up to functionality in French.  

Grain de Sail is involved in triangular  trade, French wine to here and the Caribbean, and then Caribbean chocolate and other products to France . . . .  Something similar in sail freight  domestically has been done by Ceres and more recently by Apollonia.  The most recent international sailing cargo into the sixth boro that I know of was Black Seal, a three-masted schooner.

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