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The race may last for less than 10 minutes for (most) boats, but each participant spends hours before and after.  Here, using the power of thousands of conceptual horses and one very real donkey, all four vessels in Miller contingent make their way upriver.

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At Pier 66, crew on deck and crew below start them up.

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Lady B (read her interesting history here and here, the latter explaining that the “B” stands for either “Benazir” or Bhutto.”

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For boats that arrive on the scene early, Red Hook may have come straight from a job delivering bunker to Norwegian Breakaway, there’s time for what might look like lollygagging, and

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(in these next two shots from William Hyman) saluting the spectators or just

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being seen.  Does Seagus have another name?

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But it’s also getting acquainted time.

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Some regulars didn’t show, and other vessels arrived that I’d never seen before.

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I had to look up South River Rescue Squad attending the Great North River race . . .

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Somewhere in the attractively dressed race day crew on Jake-boat Resolute are two of the principals of tugboatinformation.com . . .  hi Birk and Craig, as well as the force majeure aka Rod behind Narragansett Bay Shipping.

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This kayaker stays well out of the stream.

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The white bowstriped vessel–Lt. Michael P. Murphy– in the distance won the prize for persistence, finishing the course in a historic half an hour . . . spending most of that time doing a mid-race-course onboard repair.

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Despite forecasts of storms–and rain north of the GW Bridge–the only lightning I saw was here and

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thunder from the crowds on the piers.  That’s the intrepid bowsprite showing us her drawing/painting arm.

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Spectators took advantage of any platform.

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More soon.   Thanks to William Hyman for his fotos, especially the one of an exuberant W. O. Decker, which I featured hard at work using Seth Tane fotos from over 30 years ago here.  Click here for John Huntington’s superb fotos from a wet place in the race . . ..

Again, my hat’s off to all who must work on Labor Day, including my son, who always works holidays for the higher hourly rate.  And if you’re inclined, read what Paul Krugman has to say about Labor Day.

There are many blues in the sixth boro . . . besides my own.  Saturday I caught an unexpected glimpse of King’s Point  Liberator.

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DonJon has their unmistakeable blue.

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But then there’s this one, which mesmerized me for the first time almost six years ago and when the vessel was just off the ways.

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Palva is a midsized vessel of the NesteOil fleet.

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And these blues are just part of their corporate colors scheme.

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No matter . . . I’m still captured by these colors,

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arrested and drawn in.

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Five years ago I wrote: “It’s the color of sky, water, twilight ice, and distant land.”  When Palva left for sea yesterday, it’s destination was Murmansk, possibly 11 days away.

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Murmansk . . . exotic though not  balmy.   Fair winds and frazil ice . . . if any.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s frustrated by wordpress interface changes which prevent the fotos from enlarging when you click on them . . . the way they used to.  If anyone has a solution, let me know, svp.

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.

Here’s 2010, 2009, and 2008.  And here’s 2007, when I got the best race start foto but with a less good camera.  September 2006 predated the blog although I posted 2006 race fotos here, my third EVER post.

Many thanks to Working Harbor Committee and all their volunteers and sponsors as well as to the towing companies and their crews for making this event possible, even a week after Irene whirled through here.  Here’s my favorite action shot from today, Quantico Creek neck and neck with Maurania III as FDNY Three Forty Three misted them.   I’m not sure what the results of the race were, but my bias says everyone who participated or spectated–even before hurrying to baseball, tennis, picnicking, or what have you– won.

By 9:15 the table had been set;  bowls at the ready for the gourmet spinach tasting ritual, which I will spare you out of concerns for propriety and delicate palates.

The most prestigious cup in water sport waits.

By 10 am, 0n the safety boat, Capt. John Doswell, calls the parade to order.

The race committee checks radios, stopwatches and imaging devices.   Capt. Jerry Roberts stands on the bench.

NY-1 is there with camera;  here’s their reportage.

Crews waved as they passed the dais;  my special “enthusiastic wave” awards go to the crews of Ross Sea and

Susan Miller.

Nine tugs in all this year paraded

up to the start line,

just south of 79 Street.

Sea Wolf, tug nine this year, enthusiastically raced up to the start line.

From Pier 84 at precisely 10:33:56, I witnessed those puffs of smoke, evidence that the great race had begun.

Here a half minute later,  frothy “bones in the teeth” demonstrate that RPM as well as SOG and probably adrenaline levels have risen.

Vessels left to right are Ross Sea, Quantico Creek, Maurania III, and Pegasus.  As evidence of investment in the sixth boro towing industry, these boats were launched 2003, 2010, 2004, and 2006, respectively.

Top horsepower boats were (l. to r. ) Ross Sea (3400), Quantico Creek (3000), and Maurania III (4000).  As to design and function, the two tugs on the left push oil barges, and Maurania III does mostly ship assists.

Here are the smaller boats, l. to r. Pegasus, Growler, Sea Wolf, Catherine C. Miller, and Freddy K. Miller.  Type any of these names in the search window upper left and you’ll see what I’ve written about them before.

For Quantico Creek  and Maurania III  it was indeed

a foto finish.  This is NOT an official foto-finish foto.  Check back here for official “processed” results.

Vessel on the extreme right is Susan Miller.

Pegasus passes, and

as does the

rest of the field.

Check back here for results.

Tomorrow more reportage of the rest of the competitions.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who reminds you that unlike the farm tugs I put last month, these boats might already be back on the job this evening, Labor Day weekend notwithstanding.

A lot has happened here in 10 days, although the fotos here reveal none of it.  The sixth boro has its way of obscuring change, seasonal or otherwise.  I know folks within 10 miles of this waterway who have no power yet and who have tossed to curb-side trash picker-uppers most of their water-befouled furniture, appliances, books, etc.

But along the KVK, Chem Antares (ex-Sichem Unicorn) transfers fluids,  while

Torm Sara waits to do the same.  [Doubleclick enlarges most fotos.]

Kings Point Liberator inspects other vessels along the KVK.  I’d never guessed she had a wooden hull.

Sarah Dann froths eastbound.

My shot is a half second late as splash dissipates from this Ken’s Marine boat.

Note the water color here from  Marie J Turecamo and from

Ellen Bouchard.

Anyone identify this crew boat?

To get a sense of scale on ATB Freeport, note the two crew outside the wheelhouse.

So far, Freeport is the only of the US Shipping Partners 12,000 hp ATBs.  Some years back, I was fortunate to have caught one of their ITBs–Philadelphia- high and dry, here and here.  For an update on Philadelphia‘s current location/status, read Harold’s comment below.  Thanks, much . . . Harold.

Skiff in the foreground seems to be capturing flotsam planks for reuse.

Oh, by the way, four days  from now will be the sixth boro’s 19th annual tugboat race.  See you there?

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.

Late summer sail might look like this, Clipper City motorsailing up the Buttermilk Channel past Caribbean Princess, and early autumn

sail like this: Gazela showing the flag in Oyster Bay.  The town dock here is roughly located in the former Jakobson yard, and that’s Growler and the Jakobson-built Deborah Quinn (1957, ex-W. R. Coe, Karen Tibbets, Ethel Tibbets)   across from Gazela.   W. R. Coe’s first work was for the Virginian Railroad.

Early autumn sailing can also look like this:  Breck Marshall‘s skipper standing while making her play in the wind.

Or this:  a heeled over Escape Plan.

or this: 1929 Summerwind playing a bit before headed for the Chesapeake Schooner race last month.

while on that same day Lettie G. Howard comes out of slumber to mingle with the likes of this

varnished catboat-with-a-blog named Silent Maid.

Getting later into autumn can mean mild weather and bright light over this aptly-named vessel–Persephone . . . preparing to head for the underworld or –at least–the southern approach to northern winter.

Or it can look like this:  skipper Richard Hudson beginning winter preparations as Issuma heads in the direction of its port of registry . . .  the Yukon.

More Issuma soon.

For now, as you make your own preparations for winter, check out this new Thad Koza 2011 Tall Ship calendar featuring a sixth-boro based schooner . . . . Any guesses?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here’s Autumn Sail 2.  All fotos today come compliments of Melanie Lettau, who crews on A. J. Meerwald, below.  The occasion for the gathering down on the Chesapeake was

the annual schooner race from Baltimore to Portsmouth, VA.  Here are the results.  Below, it’s Sultana and Summerwind.  Summerwind, based at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY, was the Class AA winner.

Privateer Lynx finished third.

Lady Maryland–yes she is painted pink –finished fourth.

left to right, Woodwind (?)  and the curvaceous Shanty

And not to be omitted, with a second place finish, it’s Pride of Baltimore II.

A schooner that would have been happy to race last week–When and If--did not, since it’s for sale.  Who knows . . . some other participants from previous years but NOT on hand in 2010 might also be for sale.

Final shot . . . left to right:  Norfolk Rebel (the world’s only “tugantine”), Summerwind, Lady Maryland, and an unidentifed tug in the background.

All fotos by Melanie Lettau.  Thanks a bunch!

And some sixth boro autumn sailing pics coming soon.

Once back in the sixth boro, we realized our phone chargers got left in Seattle . . . which brought to mind songs like Tony Bennett’s and Bob Dylan‘s.   It is a fact that–especially with the bright sun I saw in Seattle and the overcast days since returning here–I’m not ready to be here.  Rainier hangs over the city  like a moon, here beyond bulker Tian Yu Feng, possibly waiting for a load of grain.

So back to the waterfront, starting along the Canal.  Discovery Star is a fish processor that started life as a GOM mud boat, and we’ve heard way too much about mud and the Gulf these past months.

Fishing and processing vessel Courageous is another vessel that started life in a different game . . . a 180′ buoy tender named Tupelo launched in Duluth at Zenith Dredge in 1942.  The government builds their boats and ships to last.

Another case in point:  Assertive, now part of  Seattle Community Colleges’ Maritime Academy, began life as a Stalwart-class ocean surveillance ship aka T-AGOS, like our local Kings Pointer and (dock-bound?) Stalwart.

I loved the number of wooden boats in the Salish . . . like GloryBe, well-cared-for since 1914, and recently

rebuilt as part of a . . .  community college carpentry program.

Currently docked nearby are Lady Washington and . . .

cool figurehead … and

this tiny steamer and …

this 1928 water taxi.  See an urban sketcher’s rendering here.  A wooden vessel that was not saved is Wawona, whose final journey is shown in a youtube clip here.

And occasionally . . . a visitor ties up  (and later casts off) , like Coot.  By the way, to see almost four years of building Coot, click here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Belated joyeux Bastille Day and happy birthday HRH Prince of Tonga!

In less than half day from this writing, March will arrive.  Since I hope for t-shirt mildness by end of March, I’m counting on the month to arrive  . . . like a large feline:  lion plus whatever synergy comes from compounding with year of the Tiger.  (For the record, the tiger portion of that synergy frightens me most.)  As peace offering then, I dedicate this post to the large felines.  The foto of Sea Lion below comes from 2006;  I haven’t seen this 1980 tug in a while.  Anyone explain?

Feline connection with Half Moon?  Some of the hawses, like these two, are

framed by red felines . ..  line lions, I suppose?

Atlantic Leo

Onrust has as figurehead a growling lion today, but this foto from a year ago shows the about-to-hatch beast pre-blond, actually natural wood tones.  More Onrust soon.

Growler . ..  that could be a lion reference.

Eagle Boston, escorted by McAllister Responder, shows registry as Singapore, from the Malay Singapura meaning “Lion City,”   although the namesake was probably a tiger, not a lion at all.  So we should call that nation Tigrapura?

From the platbodem armada headed north on the Hudson last summer, farther is Danish Naval Frigate Thetis, but nearer sailing vessel is Pieternel, registered in the Dutch town of Beneden-Leeuwen (Lower Lion).

Notice the claws hanging from the bow of tanker Puma.

And thanks to my poor eyesight, it’s easy to see the lettering on the Evergreen vessel forward here of Tasman Sea as Ever Feline.  Can’t you make it out?  Squint a bit and it’s skewed as daylight . ..  Ever Feline, also registered in Tigrapura.

All fotos by will Van Dorp, who’s hoping for t-shirt weather and a dip off Coney Island in exactly 31 days.  Anyone care to join in . . .  a Patty Nolan bikini?

Happy Labor Day!  An often forgotten fact about this holiday is that it stems from labor disputes.  President Grover Cleveland (former governor of New York),  115 years ago, put together  a proposal for this celebration to make reconciliation with Labor after the Pullman Strike, in which 13 strikers were killed.  The suggested formula for celebrating Labor Day included “street parade to exhibit to the public ‘the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,’ followed by a festival for the workers and their families.”

What better time then than now to devote some space to some Jones Act issues that affect working mariners in the Gulf of Mexico.  Since I’m out of my depth in specifics, I’m ceding this link to a maritime lawyer who has launched a petition drive to save American seafarers’ jobs.  Check his homepage here. Read the link here and sign the petition if you so feel moved.  It seems relevant to me, since the marine job market is a national one.  Fotos of some of these vessels can be found here.

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Videos follow at the end of this post, but the tugboat race (Technically called  “17th annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition”) quite well fits the description of “festival for  the workers and their families.”

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What a day to introduce families to the working water,  to teach curiosity, to

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feel solidarity, to join

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in the rewards, to take time off with

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fellow students as well as sister and brother vikings, and

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just scud across the sparkling waters.

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Ellen McAllister made it down the nautical mile in six minutes and seventeen seconds;  watch the abridged version below.  Countdown starts at about T minus twelve seconds.

After a glide past by the most beautiful 108-year-old ever in the sixth boro . . . Urger–with Jack, Rick, and crew–no doubt serving the function of “urging” the tugs to shove away, push matches ensue  featuring Ellen McAllister, Nathan E. Stewart, Meagan Ann, and Pegasus. Enjoy.

See old salt blog’s fabulous shoreside coverage of this event here.  Bravo Rick.  I love the horns, hoots, and whistles!  One group Rick’s video captures is a set of PCV’s, “population control volunteers,” commingling their wake with those in the middle of this race, seemingly determined to do themselves in.  See them at the following times:  1:14, 1:24, and 2:05.  What’s not funny is that had there –please no please no–been an incident, somehow others might have caught the heat.

Fotos and videos by Will Van Dorp.

Again, if you haven’t voted yet, consider casting one for Cornell for the “People’s Choice” award at next week’s Waterford Tug roundup here.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

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More Photos

Seth Tane American Painting

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Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

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My imaginings and bowsprite's renderings of Henry Hudson's trip through the harbor 400 years ago.

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.

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