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It’s hard to believe, but I’ve not been to the Great North River Tugboat Race since 2014, but in normal times, September 5 would see the next race.  But we’ve dispensed with the “normal times” concept for the time being.

In selecting the batch for this post, I wanted splash, froth, bubbles, and the effervescence the river can react with when tons of steel and thousands of horsepower push through the ever changing water.   The next two photos are from that 2014 race. 

It was overcast during the race, but an hour or so later, when pushing contests were happening and

the wakes flattened out and we sized up USAV MGen. Anthony Wayne, patches of blue appeared.  I should leave you in suspense about how this push went.  Let me put it this way;  they left town not long after the push-off.

2013 was an equally overcast day, and again, not to identify every tugboat in that lineup, it appears that W. O. Decker has either jumped the gun or activated its jet drive and will soon rise up out of the Hudson on her hydrofoil assists. I’d guess the latter.

See what I told you . . . Decker has gone so far ahead that it’s already over the horizon.

Second lap maybe for Decker?

It’s starting to appear that in 2012, as in ’13 and ’14, it was overcast.

It was great to see Buchanan 12, usually burdened with a half dozen stone barges, disencumbered and frothing up the river.  That’s the 1907 Pegasus back there too.

In 2011, I was able to get a photo of the racing craft along with sky spray by one of the fireboats present, likely 343.  What’s remarkable comparing the photo above with the one below is the color of the water;  hurricane Irene had dropped a lot of rain upstate and all the tributaries sent that into the Hudson with tribute in the form of silt.

Quantico Creek and Maurania III did an excellent job of stirring up the water.

But again, it was overcast and hazy over silty water.

However, in 2010, we had blue skies that really accentuated the DonJon boats like Cheyenne and

the harbor colossus, Atlantic Salvor.

In 2009, there were wispy clouds, allowing the “queen of the day” to be Ellen McAllister. But look who else showed up!!!!

Urger.   Urger would EASILY have won the race, but she was doing what she does best . . .  urging all the other boats and crews to be fleeter than she, holding herself back, allowed herself to be that day.

All photos and commentary, WVD. See you at the races in 2022.

 

 

Let’s do 2013 and 2014, or redo them, same conditions as I stated yesterday. But first let’s look at the 2013 crowd, packing in like you wouldn’t with covid.  Here was the crowd at 1010 and

by 1035 they had grown significantly.

The compulsory muster takes place, irrigated by fireboat John J. Harvey.

Once the race begins, a front-runner like Decker

might soon get left in the wake.

The fire boat slices up from behind and

propels itself between two Miller boats.

Pushoffs happen next, sometimes quite equally matched like here, with 3900 hp countering 4200.

Let’s jump ahead to 2014, with the arrivals on the watery carpet,

the processing to the starting line,

and get straight to racing without all the preening and posturing.

Someone seems a bit oversize in that gray livery.

This is a fairly mis-matched pair:  Wayne at 5100 hp, and Ellen at 4000.  Maybe a re-match is in order Wayne v. Ava.

Thanks to Jeff Anzevino for this shot, the Media Boat has military background in common with Wayne.

After Wayne has strutted its stuff in the push-offs, some of the boats lined up for the roping the bollard.

Let’s hold it up here.  All photos, WVD.

 

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.

Uh . . . what’s this?

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It’s Buddy, living breathing braying hoof-beglittered mascot of Debora Miller.  If you’ve never been to the New York’s race, there’s a best mascot category.  In the past there’ve been  . . . dogs, hermit crabs, even a chicken . . . but Buddy redefines the contest.

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With the threat of rain, someone made a wise decision and advanced the start of the race.  Here Resolute, Catherine Miller, Tasman Sea, and Red Hook move toward the starting line . . . feted by now-retired 1931 fireboat John J. Harvey.

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Foto thanks to William Hyman . . . the line up.

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And at 10:29:30 . . . they’re off . . . with 1930 wooden tug W. O. Decker taking an early and easy lead!!

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45 seconds later . . . W. O. Decker has dropped back.

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Here’s they are 15 seconds later.

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John J. Harvey is not a tug, but to see the speed out of this octogenarian . . . was humbling.   An engineer toiling away in the engine room later told me all four engines were driving propulsion.

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The red tug–Resolute–went on to win, although I don’t yet have the official times.  I could have written them down, but I was far too busy applauding and taking fotos.

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And here’s the crowd at the finish line.

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Part B tomorrow.  Thanks to William Hyman for foto 4.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

Many thanks to Glen Miller of Miller’s Launch for my ride this year.

Unrelated and almost forgot:  Here’s a query from Jeff S, a frequent commenter on this blog:  he saw a “very weather beaten wooden sailing vessel (hull) at the Jersey end of the Goethels Bridge, about 65-70 foot long , two deck cabins and a bowsprit.”  It was parked in the oversize lot waiting to cross the Bridge when traffic gets light.  Anyone have an idea what this may be?

 

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