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It’s been over a half year since I played voyeur at a docking, so I was happy when I got to watch Minerva Eleonora sally in recently, following Mary Gellatly. Note Laura K. to port and Doris Moran to starboard.

Once Laura K. controls most forward momentum, Doris cuts around the stern

and makes to.

Shore crew catching lines await behind some unambiguously inhospitable signage

When signals are clear, Laura K. puts her 5100 hp into pushing,

shoving Eleonora toward the dock,

with utmost control, pinning the tanker.  Note Laura K. prop froth extending most of the way across the KVK.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Z . . . the end.   Of the alphabet but not the blog.  This A through Z set of meditations–with one medication slipped in on Q day–happened quite by chance.  If I am moved to repeat the series, Z could be ZULU time, z-drive or Zuider Zee.  Or Zachery Reinauer (Cohoes, NY-built and ex-Mobil 1 and Tioga)  . . .


or Zim San Francisco,


one of more than 40 vessels operated by Zim Integrated Services.  Again below is Zim San Francisco and McAllister Sisters.


Or Zhen Hua 10, one of many differing only in the number suffix.


Or Zim Qingdao or


Or Zim Shenzhen.


Or Zim Virginia . . . here following Mary Gellatly.


But actually I’m reflecting on something different . . .  non-tangible.  Zulu tango, my invented term for


“zero tolerance,” a term which is way overused.  Zulu tango (“zebra tango”  . ..  some striped equines doing a sultry dance snout à snout  . . . would be more fun to imagine) or ZT gets my complete support in some areas, like operating any large or lethal machine under “the influence.”  But then ZT gets overused . . . like in the case of the “end of the pocket knife.”  It reminds me of the time I was almost arrested as I entered the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian just after sailing:  when they ran my backpack through the scanner, they found my boat “tool” and spike, which I’d forgotten was there.

So here’s my list of  ZT acts:  no postponing projects, no assuming outcomes, no ducking disagreement, no enabling chaos, no hobbling myself, no losing sight of priorities . . . .and I guess I might as well say . . . no excessive zebra tango.    Thank you for bearing with me in this series of meditations.  Time to move on, although I’m happy to hear your association(s) with different letters of the alphabet in this vein.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Full disclosure:  I spent an hour yesterday and an hour today in the area between Piers 66 and 90, i.e., Krevey’s and the Passenger Terminal.  If I didn’t say this, you’d wonder why the light looks different.  So any idea what’s happening in this  start  foto?  That is the Hoboken Terminal tower across the river, and those are tools dangling on line lanyards, a really good idea you know if you’ve ever worked over water.  I can’t count the screwdrivers I lost overboard as I worked on planking of a wooden boat some years back until I “discovered” this solution.


Ok, so it’s head rig.  Bent  (did it strike one?) dolphin striker and figurehead . . . which vessel?


The one and only.  Marlon Brando worked here, and so did  . .  uh . .  some racier pirates.


By early August Bounty will start a European tour.  See the schedule here.


 Here Mary Gellatly  maneuvers a bunker barge away from .  . . .


Peace Boat (ex-Starship Oceanic and Big Red Boat 1).


Not unusual, some vestige of its previous lives remains.  Can you make out the previous port of registry?


Nassau.  Below is one of the megayachts  (Can you think of another name for this vast assemblage of floating stuff?) in the sixth boro.  Earlier this week I missed Le Grand Bleu,  although this foto comes from Jed. There are three “tenders” on her starboard side, but have you EVER seen a sailboat, mast stepped!!, as tender on a yacht?


Yesterday I caught Lady Christine.  Readers/commenters compared one of Bart’s recent finds, a similar yacht, to . . .  a small power tool for personal “hedge” trimming?  Can you imagine what such a yacht looks like in the body shop getting re-painted?  If you can’t imagine, check here.


Given all this transient traffic, it’s always therapeutic then to see the venerable McAllister Responder or . . .


keeping its distance over on the other side, Cheyenne.  Use the upper left search box to find many previous fotos of Responder and Cheyenne on this blog.


All fotos . . .  by Will Van Dorp, except Jed’s, for which I am grateful.

Remember . . . I might not post tomorrow because the  Appalachian Trail … or some such . . . beckons.

Spring brings farmers and random green-thumbers to the fields, players to the parks and playgrounds, other folks to their gardens and yards, dancers to the streets, old and new vessels to splash into the water, landsmen and fraus to the pierheads, and fishermen and fotograffers for pleasant escapades along the riverbanks.  Boat crews spend more time on deck, where they can see to execute their work and take relief from it.  I last added to this series less than a month ago here.   Crew on Dynamic Express might be out to watch their escort as well as handle line.


Deckhand on Miriam tends line on the h-bitt,


and undoes it as needed.  Notice crewman at helm looking out port window.


Crewman departs Zim San Francisco to rejoin Sisters,


survey craft Wolf River currently has no one out on deck but their equipment lets them see where others can’t anyhow no matter who’s where,


Enjoy the rest of these people on the boro shots:   Marion C. Bouchard,

aapb6Mary Gellatly,




Ruth M.


more Ruth M., which has an angular but interesting stern.


Crewman on the sixth boro might call anywhere home, like this guy on Turkon Line’s Ecem Kalkavan as Taurus moves in with a bunker barge.

aapb10Crewmen from APL Japan prepare bays 54 and 55 to receive 20′ containers.

aaaapb9Actually, it’s time for me to get out there myself.  Later.

Images, WVD.

I recall once hearing a crewman talk about the “wench.”  She was on the aft deck making a strange noise, he said.  He had me intrigued until I realized he was talking about the towing machine, like the one below on Nathan Stewart.


Nathan Stewart has a double-drum winch.


So does Turecamo BoysProfessional Mariner has a great introductory article on towing winches here.


To wind the wire rope onto the drum neatly, a winch has a level-winding device


Notice that on each of the fotos above, one drum has wire rope and the other, what a farmer like me might call rope.  Here’s a clear article on “rope.”  Oh, I know I’m going to be corrected for my use of the word “rope,” which might mean nylon and high-strength materials marketed as plasma and spectra that might be twisted or braided.


Lots of tugboats have no winches.  Check June K.   There’s a capstan but no winch.


More on this later. Now about the “wench,” I guess she just lives in sea chanteys and my mind.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  Henry’s sent in another message across the seas of time from the docks of Amsterdam.  Check it out here.

or not so random, but tugs nonetheless. Thanks to Jed, check out a frontal view of Lincoln Sea, air draft 86 feet.  A “taller” tug appears later. Any ideas?

Bridge Builder 40, estimated air draft of 15′ (?) serves in its own niche–in fact, many niches not suitable for Lincoln Sea. Check out those enormous push knees.

Mary Gellatly (also in this Flickr shot)

Franklin Reinauer, ablaze in morning color

Laura K. and Margaret Moran (love the natural fiber fendering on Margaret)

Here’s the “tall” one, Norwegian Sea, with air draft of 88.’  Am I wrong in thinking that’s almost three times the height of the Olympic “high” diving event?  If so, !@#@!

So below is a mystery tug for me–is it also Norwegian Sea? I couldn’t get close enough.

Photos, WVD.

Fotos and some info on five tugs follow. You may notice the locations differ although I’d guess that–as the bird flies–all five fotos were taken within the same two-mile diameter with Shooter’s Island as midpont. As it turns out, all five were built far from NYC but along the same coastline. The age range is 36 years. Only one currently goes by its original name. The difference in LOA between the longest and shortest is 35.’ Answers follow. The tug below in orange is June K.

Eastbound in morning orange is Baltic Sea.

Eastbound in KVK is Michaela McAllister.

Crosscurrent in KVK and pointed south here is Kimberly Poling.

Docked in May Ship Repair Yard is Mary Gellatly. See link here for a NY Times story involving her back in 2000.

So location of build, launch dates, previous name(s), longest, and shortest?

All were built along the Gulf Coast. The oldest here is Michaela McAllister (built 1967 and is also the longest) and the newest and shortest), June K., which was built in 2003 as June K. Here are the previous names:

Baltic Sea–ex S/R Albany and Tahchee; Michaela McAllister— ex Betty Culbreath

Kimberly Poling–ex Jaguar; Mary Gellatly— ex North Service

Unrelated: Check out these wild fotos of a tow taken off the coast of Portugal.

Photos, WVD.

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February 2021