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Whatzit?!!  in the background with the classy leeboards.  In the foreground, of course, it’s the world-infamous tug44, and in its own lair near the hideaway of Fred, in the north country approximately 200 miles north of the sixth boro.


It’s the sailing freighter Ceres, a moving cornucopia of all things edible, sixth boro bound


with auxiliary power for the Canals, where sailing is not an option.


Here Ceres exits Lock C-7.


At the tiller, it looks like Steve Schwartz, whose inimitable idea of a figurehead appears in foto 8 here affixed to sloop Woody Guthrie.

Much appreciation to Fred Wehner for all fotos here.   Fair winds to Ceres.

Back in November 2009, I did this post and I’ll repost two of my fotos from then, showing a 1940 Chris Craft and a 1939 ACF, slightly tweaked here


and here.


Earlier this week, Darrin Rice got these followup pics.


I find these poignant, yet there is some buoyancy in that


it appears this old vessel is being taken apart with care so that


planks and sections of them can be recycled, evoking what’s happening nearby.   You couldn’t do this with old fiberglass.





Many thanks to Darrin Rice for these fotos.

Here’s a site dedicated to antique and classic wooden boats in varying states of repair.

Here are some tugster posts on projects and collections.

Here’s a projects post I did two years ago.  The project boat below–an early 1930s 35′ ACF– is available.   Here’s a post I did five years ago about an ACF and here’s an article with a few fotos about another ACF that was lavished with love.   For info on the vessel below–located in Cape Cod–get in touch.  Seller is motivated!


Multiple prompts have got me thinking about projects.  One is the vessel below called Source, starting point for transformation into a restaurant boat in a movie called Secret of the Grain, set in southern France.   Possibly this is a good but sad Father’s Day movie.


Some day I will take on a boat project.  Shoofly caught my attention when I visited Astoria OR recently.  This 28′ cedar gill-net boat is mentioned in Carl Safina’s Song for the Blue Ocean (207).  Obviously, I’d have to stop blogging this way if I undertook a project boat or a boat project.


Seth Tane took this foto in the early 1980s on Hoboken bank of the North River.   This has to be the wildest variation on a trimaran I’ve ever seen. Anybody know what became of this project?


I wish I’d made more effort to see Comanche when I was in the Tacoma-Seattle area a few years back.  She’s had many lives already.


I saw this 1915 beauty in her restored state closeup a few years back in North Cove.  This foto I took in Noank CT in 2011.  For her history, click here and here.


And then there’s the exquisite Cangarda, once a sunken hulk . . . as shown here.


What else has gotten me into this mood include some books I’ve recently finish, notably Max Hardberger’s Seized:  Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World’s Most Troubled Waters.  Start reading and you won’t put it down.    Other forces have also created this mood, which has also driven me through all the “wrecks & relics” on a fantastic site called shipspotting.  Here are some of my favorites:   Here and here for PT3,  wooden yachts  Averilla and Wayward Girl, trawler to schoolship Prinses Juliana, island freighter Gerda Maria, and tugboats Arv Fernando Gomez,   Tulagi US Navy tug Saint Christopher,   Torrent,   and finally Catriel in Argentina.  Some exotic projects could be this  cold war era patrol boat VMV 20, and twin antiques of the future Falcon II and III.  

And seriously, if you’re interested in the ACF in the top foto, please drop me a comment or email.

Some day when I’ve got a space to work in and trade in this blog, I’ll begin a boat project . . . building something new from scratch.  And if I do this, I’ll document the project from plans and sawdust to charts and logs of journeys as Meryll and Tom have done here for the past half dozen years.

Here was the first post.  Today spring has sprung and may Lettie,


with such graceful toughness


delicate efficiency,


like a crocus,  burst forth.  Support the fundraiser.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

For updates on Marion M. and if you do FB, click here.   It updates this article:  Marion M. has been purchased and is undergoing restoration in the Chesapeake.

Here and here are some older Lettie posts.

All the fotos I have of Lettie G. Howard were taken five or more years ago.    So why am I posting these now . . .  reposting some, in fact?  Here’s why:   April 8, 2013 Rosanne Cash will perform a gala concert to raise funds to restore Lettie, as she is affectionately known, which needs about $250,000 worth of repairs to repair rot and maintain her sailing integrity.   Rosanne Cash traces her family to an ancestor who arrived in Salem, MA in 1643 aboard Good Intent.   Click here for info on buying tickets.





Right now, Lettie is docked at Pier 17 cloaked in unflattering shrinkwrap.    Here’s some history of the unique vessel:

Built in 1893 at Essex, MA, in the yard of Arthur D. StoryLettie G. Howard is named for the daughter of her first captain, Frederick Howard, Lettie fished out of Gloucester, MA, for her first eight years. In 1901, she was purchased by owners in Pensacola, FL, for use in the red snapper fishery off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. After surviving two major hurricanes, she was thoroughly rebuilt in 1923 by a new owner—Thomas Welles of Mystic, CT—who installed her first auxiliary engine and renamed her Mystic C. She continued to fish under sail for the Welles Company for 43 years, until it disbanded in 1966.   That year, she was sold to the Historic Ships Association in Gloucester, and in 1968 she was purchased by the year-old South Street Seaport Museum. She traveled from Gloucester to the Museum’s pier at South Street largely under sail. By then, she had been renamed twice, and her long working life had obscured her origins; research into her background led to a docking book that confirmed her identity as Lettie G. Howard.

Since 1968, Lettie has been a proud and beloved resident of South Street, where scores of fishing schooners like her used to dock to bring their catches to the Fulton Fish Market. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, and between 1991 and 1993 she was completely restored to her 1893 appearance.   Lettie has operated as a certified sail training vessel since 1994, taking student crews on trips in New York Harbor and waters further afield—teaching history and ecology along with the skills and crafts of sailing, and celebrating the legacy of the North Atlantic fisheries and the Gloucester fleets.

Unrelated but this just in:  Former SSSM vessel Marion M has a vibrant new life ahead of her on the Chesapeake.  If you do facebook, check out these fotos!

I took this foto in August 2010, here with my back to Anthony’s Nose.  Any guesses about the vintage of this chubby people mover?


Here’s a foto I took yesterday in Greenport of


this Morehead, NC veteran of WW1!!!


At the same locstion, I took this foto.  Anyone know what manufacturer this beauty is, frontal and


stern view.


And from inside the post-Sandy rebuilt Scrimshaw restaurant, I’d love to know what vessel


this figurehead once graced.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Three years ago I did posts about wooden vessels and names while in the greater Cape Ann area.  This time what struck me was the variety of vessels in this small but intensely important peninsula.  Essex Shipbuilding Museum is always “must stop there” . . . and make a donation if you wish.  Essex has fewer than 4000 people.   Treat yourself to beautiful lines fleshed out in old  . . .

and new like these.

Speak of random tugs, it’s YTL-438, built on City Island, NY,  in 1944, Nicholas T today.

I can’t hear the word “Gloucester” without thinking of fish and lobsters and other sea life.  Read what Capt Joey has to say about Western Venture, here with Osprey. Joey’s GMG does “citizen journalism” par excellence on many aspect of Gloucester life, and a more historically focused website on Gloucester industry can be found here.

Vessels old and

new–like these three midwater trawlers of Western Sea Fishing— line the piers when they’re not at sea.   It no secret that fishing brings risks:  a vessel I featured here three years ago–Plan B-sank earlier this year.

Small and newish like Cat Eyes or

or classic, versatile, and large like 1924 Highlander Sea (for sale)  and 1926 Adventure both Essex built . . .  they all lie in the few dozen acres of water in Gloucester’s Inner Harbor.   See Adventure‘ s site here and some fun fotos here.

Treats appear at every glance, near and far.

Can anyone tell me more about Traveler . .  and all her lives?  Here’s what I learned from Good Morning Gloucester:  follow the comments and you’ll learn that she was launched in “1942 by Cambridge Ship Builder, Inc. based in MD, for the US Army. She is 79.9 ft. long, was a rescue boat serving in WWII picking up downed fighter pilots and had full infirmary facilities aboard.”

More Gloucester tomorrow.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who realizes he should come back here more often.   And if you’ve never been to Cape Ann, sooner is better.

First, check “parrotlect flickrstream” along the left margin here for my favorite 45 fotos from the start of the Great Chesapeake Schooner Race last week.  I had posted some of them earlier, but put them up in the moment and without the benefit of my “foto-cleanup” tools.

Here is the real predecessor for this post . . . small specialized East coast designs.  And here’s a question . . . guess the loa and beam of this vessel.  Answer and fotos follow.

 Some small craft are just beautiful . . .  sweet

not to emphasize the “just” there.  Seriously sweet lines here.

And here. And nearby but in the shadows was a twin called Puffin.   And that vintage Johnson Sea horse 18 was attached to the

the prettiest motorboat I’ve ever seen.  I don’t think that Johnson comes with the blender attachment seen here!!

This is Silk.  Silk is a pushboat.  Believe it or not, it’s the prime mover for a 65′ skipjack, and while hauling for oysters, Silk needs to be hanging high and dry.  I regret I didn’t get a chance to look at the engine.

Stanley Norman dates from 1902.  And that boom looks impossibly long.

And here’s a surprise, maybe.  The vessel in the top foto here is a restored 1925 Hooper Island Draketail named Peg Wallace, measuring a belief-defying 37’6″ loa with a beam of only 6’8″!!  I’d written of local Chesapeake and southern boats here almost two years ago, but this was my first encounter with a draketail.  Scroll down to pete44’s comment here to learn his sense of the origin of the design.

I’d love to see her move through the water.

Draketail . . .  named for a duck.  Make way!

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Celebrity ships call in Bayonne at what’s technically called the Cape Liberty Cruise Port, one of three ocean-going passenger ports in the sixth boro.

This is a port surrounded by people known far and wide, and although I don’t look for celebrities, I’ve crossed paths with the likes of Al Sharpton in Penn Station one dawn on my way to work and Lou Reed on the westside esplanade a rainy weekend day,  I suspect a celebrity must be on a vessel to merit a water display like this one last weekend as Norwegian Star exited the Narrows.

Then there are eye-catching yachts like this one.  Actually at first glance I thought this one was Manhattan or Justice.  But clearly, it had less sheer and more house.

Only when I got back home did I read the name S. S. Sophie and that it is or was the 1947 Trumpy owned by Greta van Susteren.   I know she’s “a celebrity,” but as a non-consumer of TV news, I’ve no idea what her voice sounds like.  And the S. S. ?  steam?  Nope.

Springer spaniel, the owner’s dog . . . if you read that link embedded in the 1947 Trumpy above.  Here and here are  tugster posts with yachts by Trumpy.    Here’s a foto taken from the deck of Scanaro’s Manhattan.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Is Marion M (Greenport, NY 1932) on her own power projecting that potentially gorgeous deck before her?  Might she be?

I’ll be straightforward for once:  Marion M has been moved away from South Street because the museum needs space.  She is for sale. You/your organization can get information on purchasing her by contacting Captain Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum.  His tele and email are:  212.748.8772

Some specifics on her history accompany bowsprite’s rendering here.  Wooden tugboat W. O. Decker (1930) demonstrates that she has the stuff  still in her.  Decker stays at South Street Seaport Museum.   Here and here are two of my many favorite bowsprite illustrations of Decker.

All these fotos come compliments of Jonathan Boulware, who took them in late June, as

Decker towed Marion M out to

her holding area on the KVK . . . where you can pick her up.

I wanted to add a few more fotos of Helen McAllister . . .

who also has at least one

more life ahead of her.   Here’s how she might look under her own power headed your way.

And with all this movement, what might Peking be thinking, saying . ..  .?

Uh . . . she can’t talk, can she?

Again, Marion M can be yours.  Contact Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum     212.748.8772      I’m told she’s listed in WoodenBoat‘s “Save a Classic” section, but I haven’t seen that yet.

I’d love to see her gussied up to 1932 standards.  I’d even put greenbacks and sweat equity in the project.  I’m reminded of what the “crazy farmers of Villiersdorp” managed to do . . . or the Onrust project in Rotterdam Junction.

Unrelated but NYTimes article about resurgence:  Cross-harbor rail about to expand exponentially on the sixth boro!!

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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.

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.


November 2015
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