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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.

Thanks to Matt Perricone, I witnessed the 17th annual tugboat race from an up-close platform, kind of like watching the Kentucky Derby from hind edge of the jockey’s seat.  Cornell won the best vintage tug award today, and if you haven’t voted yet, vote for Cornell for the “People’s Choice” award at next week’s Waterford Tug roundup here.

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And they’re off.

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Fastest tug and winner of Class A (over 2000 hp) was Ellen McAllister.  She also won “best-looking” and a member of the crew had

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“best tattoo.”  Find the text here; scroll down til you see “The Last Watch.”

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Fastest in Class B was Megan Ann, whose very hospitable crew also won another award, to be shown later.

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It was 1901 Urger for the Class C speed award.  To get some sense of Urger‘s first life, appearance and function, click here.

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Nathan E. Stewart, second fastest overall, also won the line throw.

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Now which award might this be?  Best Viking award maybe?

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Karl, fearless Cornell crewman, didn’t win the spinach eating award, but gave the most intimidating pre-contest show.

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The “lil toot” award went to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, named in honor of the Navy Seal?

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“Best spirit” award went to all the Miller Launch boats, here from left to right:  Susan, Catherine, Shawn, and Gabby L.

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After a competition, all is forgiven and affectionate.

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My award for “best decoration” goes to Growler, who counted a Viking among its crew as did Megan Ann although Growler’s Viking identity shifted during the morning.  Growler comes from the USMMA at Kings Point.

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My special award goes to this gentleman–Antonio Alcaraz Arbelo–who traveled from Spain for the race today.  Boluda is a Spanish tug company.  Antonio’s blog is fotosdebarcos.com , great pics even if you don’t read Spanish.  Antonio and Samuel, welcome to the sixth boro.

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More fotos and video soon.    Please inform me if any information is wrong.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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Seth Tane American Painting

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