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Springtime . . . and motion gives a renewed sense of life to the watery boro.  Emerald Sea‘s been around all winter, but she’s not moved loads like this.  Diner?  Prefab beach buildings for post-Sandy reconstruction?  Many thanks to Ashley Hutto for this shot taken along Roxbury, Queens.


Eclipse, the huge yacht in the distance has taller masts than Clipper City, the tallest sailing vessel operating in the the harbor.  Eclipse left the harbor Tuesday, headed for Gibraltar.


Schooner Virginia left Wednesday, headed for Virginia . . . by way of Portland, Maine.


Anyone know the manufacturer of the speedboat in the foreground?  In the background is Zephyr, launched 10 years ago from the Austal Shipyard in Mobile, AL . . . and Wavertree, launched 128 years ago in Southampton, UK.


I could almost imagine this boat has a bowsprit.


Smaller workboats seem more commonplace this time of year like Henry Hudson,


this Oyster Bay government boat,


an OCC vessel,


and of course the ubiquitous all-weather sludge tanker North River, frequently mentioned on this blog.


Thanks to Ashley for the first foto, and I’d love to know what that structure on the Weeks barge is.  All other fotos by Will Van Dorp, who feels the urge to go somewhere too.

It was a rainy day and I was giving some friends a tour of the city,  intending to leave the camera in the waterproof bag . . . but how could I pass up a foto like this . . . “spring-showers” washed-out colors notwithstanding.


Schooner Virginia was in town.  As of this writing, it’s anchored south of the George Washington Bridge.   Two very different places I’ve seen Virginia in the past year are here in tropical waters and here in her home waters.   I’d loved to have been on the tug HMS Liberty at this moment.



Here’s where I first caught sight of her . . . approaching tug Liberty Service lightering Amalthea.


Another delight in port was T/S State of Maine, by now headed south for the 2013 training cruise . . . with San Juan as its southernmost destination.



Also in port . .  Prisco Elizaveta and Atlantic Jupiter.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who in the course of the day, was so thoroughly and delightfully showered upon that the clothes are still wet

The Atlantic is a huge place, and this vessel is currently northbound in that expanse.  And where would that put them?



Off Namibia.


here leaving Cape Town last weekend.  Click here for the map, and here for the kapteines-logg, complete with pics.   See the huge blue wall along the portside of Sørlandet?


It turns out that this 85-year-old ship stopped in the sixth boro in 1981 and 1986.  Click here for a video of the vessel headed for Chicago in 1933!


The “blue wall” is Colossos . . . although I’ve no idea what it’s doing down in Cape Town.


All fotos thanks to Colin Syndercombe.

Does anyone have fotos of Sørlandet in the sixth boro in the 1980s?

When this event happened on Memorial Day in the sixth boro, I wrote about it as “cast.”   The New London cast right after the 4th of July was quite different.   All these fotos come with thanks to Birk Thomas, now at sea. Ferry New London is automatically part of the local and daily cast .

Thames (rhymes with “james” ) Towboat Company’s   John P. Wronowski (2004) was built in Florida.

Gwendolyn (1975) was built in Louisiana.

USCGC Eagle began to take shape in Hamburg in 1936.

USS Carter Hall had her keel laid in Louisiana in 1991.

Adam uses her 450 hp mostly around the Thames Towboat Company yards, where it was built.

Patricia Ann came out of a Louisiana shipyard as a YTB on hull #758 . .  to Hercules #766, now in Nigeria.

Figureheads need inspection.

John P. and Paul A. Wronowski (1980 in Connecticut) assist USS Carter Hall into its berth.  Paul A. was one of the first z-drive tugs ever built.

Ticonderoga (1936 by Herreshoff in Boston as Tioga) begs to be seen from closer, much closer.

Ferry Race Point is cast, even if she’s really working the run to Fisher’s Island.

Behold Wolf . . . she flies the flag of the Conch Republic, where I found myself exactly a year ago!

Cisne Branco . . . like Eagle was in the sixth boro almost two months ago.

Schooner Brilliant, 1932 in the Bronx, is truly brilliant.

Schooner A. J. Meerwald, 1932 in South Jersey, homeports in Bivalve . . . yes the village is truly called that.

Wisconsin-built YP-700 had its keel laid in 1987.

Another shot of Paul A.

It’s Amistad  (Connecticut with a 2000 launch) with its unmistakable rake.

Again . . . many thanks to Birk for these fotos.

A week ago, I posted this foto (last one scrolling through) and asked where it was taken.   Answer is Brazil.  And the relationship to this foto is what?  Buchanan 12 was built 1972 in Louisiana, but the black ship in the foreground handmade with woods such as olanje, jaquera, pau oleo . . .

was built in Brasil about 50 miles southwest of Salvador.  It’s a replica of Niña as seen from  . ..  Pinta.  Both hurried through Manhattan earlier this week on their way here in Newburgh until this Sunday.

Next  stop is then Rochester, NY (click for schedule)  . . . which means unstepping the masts and traversing the Erie Canal via Oswego.  From there it’s the Great Lakes and ultimately the Mississippi.

Pinta was launched in 2005 from the same shipyard in Brasil, about 1/3 larger to accommodate school groups.  Here I quote from the site:  both vessels were built by the Assis de Santana family, who have built wooden vessels there for eight generations using 15th century “Mediterranean Whole Moulding [techniques] with mechanically generated geometric progressions known as graminhos.  Shipwrights were using traditional tools, such as axes, adzes, hand saws and chisels, as well as utilizing traditional construction methods; and finally, the tropical forests of Bahia provided a source for the various naturally-shaped timbers necessary to build a large wooden ship. ”  This makes me think of Onrust upriver.

Surely  record of this visit

is being created by local artists.

This tender is said to have been built by an Assis de Santana family member, 14 years old at the time.

The catalyst for this project, John Patrick Sarsfield, has a tragic ending.

A few weeks ago Bounty was up this way.  From the dock in Newburgh looking south as Buchanan 12 pushes her hundreds of truckloads of crushed stone, you can see Bannermans Castle, marking the northern end of the Hudson Highlands.  Here is another “ghosts” post I did about Bannermans about five years ago.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

One last look, unless you want to see them for another whole weekend;  in the latter case, just head for Norfolk.  You’ll see  some but not all the same cast.  The screen shot below shows some of the vessels, probably getting some sailing and training in.  I notice Ice Hawk (9th foto down) is in Norfolk also . . .  hmmm.

Find the tall ship here . . . foto from Wednesday?  Look extreme right.  It’s Elcano.

Guayas is headed for Norfolk.  OpSail’s almost like a traveling carnival, and I don’t mean that disparagingly.

The Indonesians are headed there.  Find Dewaruci and other tall ships recently in the sixth boro on the screen capture above.

The Spaniards get additional fotos here for literally sailing out . . .

although I’m guessing they were motorsailing.

That’s Elcano way up by the Battery.  McAllister Responder and her identical sibs have been busy, and always is, with or without the sailcloth on her bow.

The Mexicans are headed for Norfolk.  That’s Coney Island parachute jump in the distance.

Appledore V, however, is not following the others to the south.

Bounty avoided the sixth boro for OpSail–opting for her homeport of Greenport instead–and is currently turned pirate in Newburgh.

Mystic Whaler –faux gunports at the ready –continues to work in and patrol the greater sixth boro.

Last Sunday morning at the foot of Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn.

Last wednesday after the procession upriver.

Pioneer, here with $65,000 of new innards and outards and sailing parallel to Gloria, does public sails out of Pier 16 South Street.

Belle Poule, here feted by John J. Harvey, and Etoile make their way for the French islands in the Canadian Maritimes.  Name them?

If you want smaller scale, check out the Bronx River Festival.

For the names of the French islands, click here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s tempted to follow a traveling carnival, any traveling one.

I thought all the vessels had left under cover of night.  Unceremoniously.  It turned out that the Japanese and Colombians had, but lots remained.  So the best place to go was near the exit . . . everyone would depart through the Narrows.  The forecast was 50 percent chance of rain all day, but I’d shoot from under an umbrella if necessary.    At 10, tugs were ready for USS Gonzalez to cast off.  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

10:14 . . . she was under weigh.

10:23 . . . Responder returns for the next departee and Miller Girls (?) shuttles yokohamas back to Miller’s home base.

USS Mitscher at 10:33,

10:36, and

10:38, posing for Black Hawk photogs with a better perch than mine.

10:55 . . . Cuauhtemoc is next.

11:15 . . . USS Donald Cook moves away.

11:25 . . . San Jac next?

Nope. 11:34 . . . Argus heads for the Narrows

leaving Brooklyn’s “gold coast” (as on lots of these fotos) to port.

USS San Jac proceeds at 11:53 with escorts and fans aplenty.

11:56 . . . it’s “local-build” USCGC Seneca.

12:26 . . . Elcano departs under  11 sails . . . and screw  turned by ” motor diesel sobrealimentado de 2.000 caballos de potencia.”

Scotty Sky passes. . . WW2 vet and still at work, as is

Julia Miller.

12:50 . . . and I’d thought all vessels had exited, but here comes USS  . . .


followed by LHD-1 USS Wasp with all her

like this Sea Stallion.

It’s 13:38:  Wasp has left the Narrows and Scotty Sky is topping off the tanks of Dewaruci.

Tankers wait in the anchorage, and

 . . .oh wait . . . for today, the end of the parade is provided by Guayas.

Some of these vessels will reconvenrge in Norfolk.  By 1400 yesterday, I know the French schooners, the Brazilians,

and the Indonesians were still in the sixth boro.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who is looking to score two XL OpSail shirts.    Barters . ..  anyone?

Here’s the engine order telegraph and a bit of uniform.  Guess the vessel?  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

Here’s more signage.  Identification later in the post.

And a closeup of the topsail furling system of Etoile, one of the French schooners.

More brass and brightwork on Etoile.

And the guard of the passerelle.

Not far away, crew on this vessel looked less inviting.  Guess the nationality?

Canadian.  She’s guarding HMCS Iroquoisbuilt in the same Quebec town as Mathilda!

Here was Iroquois last Wednesday converging with other vessels in the sixth boro, and

here she is nose to nose with USCGC (WLB 202) Willow, alternatively captured by bowsprite.

From the bridge deck of Argus, looking over the stern and toward the west . . . Governors Island and New Jersey beyond.   Along the horizon near the south tip of Governors Island . . . those are the cranes of Bayonne and even fainter beyond that Port Elizabeth.

Here’s the view from the forward positioned bridge.  Back in 2007 I caught these fotos of Oslo Express, the only bridge-forward container vessel I can recall seeing in the sixth boro.

Here’s a bit more info on Argus.  My tour guide and describe Argus as the only vessel in the world to have a CT scanner.    As it turns out, she also has a cat.  This is Simon, and yes . . . Simon went off duty decades ago, but his healing presence in the hospital lives on.  More sobering, Argus has patient monitors that allow patients to have a chance to survive IED-caused triple amputations.

Nearing dusk, yesterday afternoon . . . the Brooklyn vessels as seen from the water:  stern of Seneca, Shirane, the French Belle Poule and Etoile, and Cuauhtemoc.

Which brings me back to the Mexican ship.  Some of the cadets I spoke with finally explained this flag . . . it’s the captain’s personal flag . . . personal pirate flag, actually is what the cadet said.

Aboard were over 250 crew, who started their morning yesterday polishing brass before they let any visitors up the pasillo.

And the vessel was immaculate.

Below the stack here, I’m told, is a 1250 hp Cat.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who needs to get to another job now.

It had just finished pouring in Red Hook, 8 a.m.  Here, looking SW are the two French schooners (l to r) Etoile and La Belle Poule, RFA Argus beyond extending overtop of the warehouse, Cuauhtemoc, Pohjanmaa  now departed, and the bowspit of Elcano.

Virgin of Guadalupe adorns the jibboom tip of Cuauhtemoc.

This HAS to be one of the best ever figureheads.

The 1932 French schooners fly the French flag with the cross of Lorraine, in honor of their service to the Free French.  Their design was once used by hundreds of French schooners that fished cod off Iceland.

Note the double booms (oh . . . I’m on thin ice with technical terminology  here.) atop the topsail.  I can’t quite figure out how this furling/unfurling system works until I see it happen.

This helm and compass appeared here in April 27 in Jed’s post from Fernandina Beach, FL.

Click to enlarge.  The brass plate shows engine rpms for various orders, AV (forward) and AR (reverse).)

Recall that fleet week/OpSail happens in the context of regular traffic in the sixth boro, although I’ve seen NOT a word referring to these events in the NYTimes.  Should I really conclude that in spite of how many folks stood in line to see these vessels today, NYC in general and in officialdom care  very little for these events.  But I digress . . .  notice something new on the barge company logo?

Click here for a host of changes on Labrador Sea over the years I’ve followed harbor traffic.

Looking NE, that’s JS Shirane, schooner Elcano, and Finnish mine layer Pohjanmaa.

I’m guessing these critters on the superstructure of Pohjanmaa are ermine;  if so, does each symbol represent a number of “ermine laid” maybe?  Sorry.

Argus was once a RORO container vessel called Contender Bezant.  Today her roles include “primary casualty reception [PCR] ship” aka hospital, aviation training, drug interception, and disaster relief.

Self defense?  Sniper rifles on board are used to disable engines of drug boats.

Here’s her engine order telegraph.

Click here for another foto of Argus pre-conversion.

Here’s part of her equipment for PCR duties.

Note the kayaker, seagull size, alongside Seneca.

Looking NW toward the southern tip of Manhattan, that (near to far) Willow and Iroquois.

Tomorrow I plan to visit Elcano, she of the four masts and

and golden figurehead.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

If you live near NYC , a great way to mark Memorial Day aka Decoration Day, visit any of the open piers.  Check out the “early history” in this wikipedia link.  I seized the morning out here, on DDG 57 USS Mitscher.

Here’s the view forward from the starboard bridge wing,

to port were CG-56 USS San Jacinto and DDG-56 USS Donald Cook.

and starboard aft toward DDG-66 USS Gonzalez.   On the tour I saw a wide range of specialists.

I had been assigned to Dewaruci, and went incognito, wanting to check some rumors . . .  like  . . as the US Navy has SEALS, but the Indonesians have

walruses!!  And it turns out they do!  Although, seriously, masks of different sorts are worn in traditional dances–reorgs–and the walrus represents strength.

Although Dewaruci was built at Stulken Sohn in Hamburg, begun in 1932 (pre-WW2 and therefore commssioned by the Dutch??) , it was completed in 1953, year four of Indonesian independence from the Dutch.  The design, then, dates from a time that commercial sail still existed.  But the detail on this vessel, currently on its last voyage, is phenomenal.  I haven’t seen so much wood carving on a vessel since I visited the schooner Anne.

Here’s the namesake hero aft

and forward.  The rest of the weekend I will be figurehead comparing, but this is hard to top.

Three main islands of Indonesia west to east are Sumatra, Java, and Irian Jaya;  so the three masts–fore to mizzen–of the vessel are decorated in those styles.  Here’s Sumatran.

and Javanese

with Garuda and

Irian Jayan, actually the western end of the island of New Guinea.

Here’s the wheel and

and the engine order telegraph.

A poster onboard shows the itinerary for this last voyage.  A replacement vessel is on order;  I’m curious whether it will

carry the same figurehead and wood carving.

An intriguing poster on deck also shows all the commanding officers from 1953 to present, from Majoor A. F. H. Rosenow to Haris Bima B. Letkol Laut.

Meanwhile, I have confirmed that the Indonsian Navy has walruses, which I was unable to interview, and

flies the jolly roger.

Tomorrow I head over to Brooklyn.

All fotos and story by Will Van Dorp.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

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

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.


October 2016
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