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Alaska has the Iditarod, Quebec City has the ice canoe races, Honobia OK has the Bigfoot 5K and there’s still time to make plans to get there.  And sometimes, the sixth boro (and lots of other waterway cities) has tugboat races.  

Enjoy this smattering of photos from Sept 2, 2012.

As often is the case, the weather was fabulous and a large number of organizations turned out with one or more boats for the race, the pushing, the line toss, the spinach eating, the grudge match maybe, and the beauty contest. 


Boats get decked out with almost every flag available.

There’s old school and new school padding .  . or fendering.

Some traveled in formation for the line up.

The Bronx came all the way from . . . da Bronx’ Westchester Creek.

Preliminary heats resulted in finalists to take on the fearsome, the feral, the never forgotten


In the wake of the class 1 boats, the Hudson had developed some chop for classes 2 and 3.

Note the gent tossing the line has his entire coaching staff and his closest advisors on hand to help him guide the eye over the bollard.

All photos, September 2, 2012, WVD, who hopes NYC’s sixth boro sees a tugboat race in 2023.  If not by power boats, maybe it could be a rowing race in Whitehalls and dories.  . . . Here are the boats in the race back in 1952.   Here are some other tugboats racing in NYC in the 1950s.

North River entered service in 1974.


Hunts Point entered the sixth boro sludge trade in February 2014.  My my my . . . how the design has evolved!


Photos by Will Van Dorp.

Here and here are previous sludge tanker posts.  Here are pics from five years ago when sludge tanker Red Hook began service.

Here was 1.

Bob Stopper sends along this foto from Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario.  Miss Debbie,  1969, was originally 30′ but extended to 46′.


Here’s a bow shot I took a few years back.


The Bronx and W. O. Decker here headed up along the west side of Manhattan before the 2010 Hudson River tug race.  Click here to see a clip called Bootleggers Return to the Bronx, re-enacting a 1922 federal raid on a barge where “hootch” was sold.   The clip was sent along by Robert Apuzzo, who samples the bottle on the bow of the tug in the clip.


From the 2008 Hudson River tug race, Terilou, I believe.   I know nothing about Terilou‘s past or present, although it may be tied up on the Raritan River.


And here’s a boat i just stumbled onto .  . .  Cynthia Garner.  Anyone know her story?


The first foto comes compliments of Bob Stopper, the eyes on western NY waterways.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

When I posted about the race last year, I recapped the five previous years posts too.  See that here for part a and here for part b.

The day started early for me;  here at 07:01, not knowing I’d see her later in the morning, I passed Weddell Sea in the notch.

By 07:47, I was in the McAllister yard, thanks to Harold Tartell and of course the McAllisters.  Maurania III, also in last year’s race, will be the ride.

By 09:50, we were off Pier 84;  W. O. Decker and Meagan Ann were already there.

Aound then, Debora, Susan, and Shawn Miller lined up for a family shot.

At 10:01, it’s Pegasus and  . . .lo and behold . . . Weddell Sea has come out of the notch in the Upper Bay anchorage to join in the festivities.

I’ve never even seen this Little Toot. . .  out of Highlands, NJ, and she’s not so little.

10:06 . . .  Quantico Creek, Buchanan 1, Vulcan III, and Debora Miller begin to line up with us for the parade past Pier 84.

And when Weddell Sea and especially Lincoln Sea mingle with other boats, their size is apparent.  …  8000 hp, Lincoln Sea, appeared in K-Sea colors in the 2006 race.

10:43 some of the boats have turned around and waiting for the  race to begin . . .  the tide is flooding, adverse.

10:45 . . . note the two dark green tugs Gage Paul Thornton and Thornton Bros. still needing to turn around, as does

Freddie K Miller.  

If my camera clock is correct, the race started at 10:47, and

tomorrow I’ll get you the results.

It was great meeting/catching up with so many folks today, and again . . . thanks to Harold and McAllister towing for getting me on Maurania III.

A sign of changing seasons for me is . . . this weekend . . . staying in, getting in touch, catching up, following up.

Exhibit A:  Daniel DiNapoli, built in Stamford, CT  at Luders Marine.  I took this foto about six years ago, used it in the first full month of this blog but never named it here.   The vessel came up in a conversation this week with its former name Spuyten Duyvil and its legendary captain . . .  Before that, this vessel of timeless beauty was False Cape and YT-164, built 1941.  Has anyone seen her recently?  I’m guessing she frequents the north shore of Long Island, a place I know as little as Polynesia.

Exhibit B:  Foto thanks to Jeff Anzevino and taken last weekend in the Potomac off Alexandria, VA . . .  Bourne has some squatters who feel comfortable enough to build some sizeable nests on her.

I’m guessing she’s idled by litigation.  The Washington Post took notice already a year ago, as evidenced here.   I want to know why she’s wearing USACE colors, more clearly seen here.

Exhibit C:  Thanks to John Wark, the next three fotos show the “graveyard” on the Arthur Kill, fotos all taken in September 2000.   The foto below show the yard “north” from Hila.

Using Hila again as the axis, see the vessels here looking south.    For more of John’s vast archive, click here.

Finally, Exhibit D:  I dropped the line on the mighty The Bronx, as she looked a few years ago and

as she looked to my camera in early September.  The “twenty-five-footer” was built in 1952 at Island Dock company.  Thanks to Robert Apuzzo for the “before” foto showing Viking in her deshabille disarray.

Fotos as credited.

Related:  Has the Bronx-built  Hoga aka YT-146 already made its way to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum?

Unrelated:  Enjoy this archive I stumbled upon today.

Working Harbor Committee win an award for perpetuating this event and calling it race AND competition.  And at the expense of making this post almost as long as some of those cinema and music award shows, I’d like to add some aditional awards . . .

like for “best improvised bowsprit on a tugboat” . . . Ross Sea,  [doubleclick enlarges all fotos]

“most spirited better-late-than-never”   . . . The Bronx,   [more The Bronx soon]

“best press boat disguised as a tugboat”  again, The Bronx,

“best connection to the cliff at Weehawken”  Sea Wolf,

“best crew-to-crew face off . . .

 . . . over a series of two fotos”  to Pegasus and Ross Sea,

“most crew rallying on the foredeck” Maurania III.

Next we have many line handling awards.  First up, “best right-hand follow through form” to Quantico Creek,

“best send the whole coil at once” to Sea Wolf,

“best hand and leg follow through form”   also to Sea Wolf,

“best mascot with cute purple antennae” also to Sea Wolf . . .  might this BE THE sea WOLF?

“biggest line-thrower cheering section”  Maurania III,

“best facial expression”  to Susan Miller,

“best overall posture award”   Ross Sea,

and now a break from line-throwing awards . . . best photographer-aloft . . . Shipshooter on Ross Sea.

“best  ‘make-that-line-walk'”   . . . also Ross Sea,

“most earnest line thrower expression”   . . . Catherine C Miller,

“best ‘looks-like-that-was-overhand'”   Freddie K Miller,

“best ‘over-the-bollard-and . . .

…put-turns-on-the-quarterbitt'”  Pegasus,

“best and longest lariat twirling followed by the

longest throw”  Growler.  Note for next year . . . the Growler crew might decide to dress as rodeo folk, given that the 30-second lasso-demonstration prompted a comment from some unnamed person behind me . . . “Next year for Growler we should replace that bollard with a fiberglass cow.”  Great showmanship!!

“best winch-matching costume” the inimitable Jeff Schurr, frequent and erudite commenter on this blog.

“best Lab mascot” . . .  Peaches on Ross Sea,

“best mascot with a hat and pin”  Salty of The Bronx,

And “my favorite mascot and name,”  goes to the bantam fowl named Jack E. Sparrow . . . of the mighty Sea Wolf crew.

You’re all winners in my book . . .  Get in touch if you want higher-res version of your foto.

Finally and last but not least  . . . two technical awards  . ..  for “best dredger”  Maurania III, and

“best watercolor creation” . . .  Sea Wolf.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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