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Actually, the full title of this book is Tugboats Illustrated: History-Technology-Seamanship with Drawings by the author Paul Farrell

I first heard of the book and Paul Farrell last February;  I got an email from an editor at W. W. Norton expressing interest in licensing one of my photos for the cover of the forthcoming book. The photo was the 9th in the post called “Helen’s Last Waltz.” I was thrilled, as you might imagine, and we arrived at a price. Then I hoped it would be an attractive, technically accurate book.

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A few months later, Norton’s publicity department sent along a five-page sampler and asked if I’d write a review of the book. The cover letter described Tugboats Illustrated as “gorgeously detailed guide to the evolution, design, and role of tugboats” from “ the earliest days of steam up to today’s most advanced ocean-going workboats” and referred to its “dynamic drawings that show how different kinds of propellers move, to explanations of the physics and engineering that allow this movement to happen.”

Mr. Farrell, an architect with almost a half century of experience, was described as having spent a quarter century researching and writing this book, his first. When someone spends that amount of time focusing on a subject, I’m impressed. But I wasn’t ready to do a review until I saw the entire 156-page book, which arrived in November.  The photo below should illustrate how comprehensive this slim but well-designed book is.

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I first paged through it and then read it cover to cover. Paging through, I noticed how many of these “dynamic drawings” there are, more than 70 of them at least, depending how you count.  Below is a sample of a set of drawings from p. 114, illustrating an evolution that always mesmerizes me . . . a flanking turn with a long tow on a winding river, and he shows it from both the downstream and upstream perspective.

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Indeed, an architect’s drawings honed by years of professional work complemented with captions, guided by the experts in the wheelhouse, illustrate complex maneuvers in this and many other instances.  Ironically, Farrell never intended to showcase his illustrations in the book; he says it began as “rough sketching intended to guide a mythical illustrator who would intuit just the right feel and content” until he realized this these sketches, such as they were, would work. He reports that doing the set of drawings to illustrate hull chines as seen from underwater were pivotal. I find them charming, below (p. 93),  a boon to the book and not just “limited” or “enough.”

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Then there are the photographs, over 80 of them in total and more than half of them in color, many of them taken by photographers whose work I know and have great respect for: Brian Gauvin, Alan Haig-Brown, and Pat Folan.  There was one photo by Rod Smith, who has so many to choose from in his albums on the shipbuilding work at Senesco. Many of the black-and-white photos come from the collections of Steven Lang and Brent Dibner. Other photos introduced me to photographers I’d like to see more of in the future.

In the “Acknowledgements,” Farrell reveals that he first sent a draft of the book to Norton in 1996, a full twenty years ago. When a book takes shape over such a long period of time as this one, it gets vetted for accuracy and thoroughness, which this one has.

Got friends who want to learn about tugboats? Want to expand your own knowledge of the history and variety of these vessels? Then order it here.

I’m just so thrilled that my photo from that July 17, 2012 move graces the cover of this fine book that I’ll digress and post three more photos from that day.

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Helen, she is a classic from 1900!   Does anyone have photos of her working out of South Carolina waters as Georgetown?  In that photo above, Helen looks just slightly like Little Toot in Hardie Gramatky’s wonderful watercolors, reproduced on p. 11 of Paul Farrell’s book.

Click here for some previous reviews.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

Here’s a range of photos from the present to the unknowable past.  Gage Paul Thornton . . . 1944 equipment working well in adverse 2014 conditions.   Photo by Bjoern Kils of New York Media Boat.

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In 2007, McAllister Responder (1967) moved Peking (1911) across the sixth boro for hull inspection.  Photo by Elizabeth Wood.  That’s me standing on port side Peking adjacent to Responder house.

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1953 Hobo races in Greenport Harbor in 2007.

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A glazed over Gulf Dawn (1966)  inbound from sea passes BlueFin (2010).

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Deborah Quinn (1957) awaits in Oyster Bay in 2010.

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HP-Otter and HR-Beaver . . .  said to be in C-6 Lock in Fort Edward yesterday.  Photo by tug44 Fred.   New equipment chokes on ancient foe but no doubt will be dried off to run again.  Compare this photo with the fourth one here.

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Unidentified tug on Newburgh land’s edge back in 2009.  I’ve been told it’s no longer there.

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Unidentified wooden tug possibly succumbing to time in August  2011.

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Ditto.  Wish there was a connection with a past here.

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Thanks to Bjoern, Elizabeth, and Fred for their photos.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

 

Huron Service (1981) sailed into the springy morning it was.

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Chesapeake Coast (2012) lit up the dawn this morning.

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McAllister Responder (1967) and Gage Paul Thornton  (1944)  met in the KVK last Saturday.    Click here for Gage Paul‘s long history, during one part of which she carried the name Elizabeth McAllister.

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Joyce D. Brown (2002) passes Stolt Jade.

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HMS Liberty (1978)  . . .was originally a freshwater tug, one of two operating in the sixth boro for Harley, a company mostly based on the west coast but expanding.

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Houma (1970) like many of the vessels in this post, has operated under a long list of companies.

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Gulf Coast (1982) enters the KVK from the east this morning before 9 a.m.

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A parting shot of the vessel that started today’s post . . .  Huron Service, headed to refuel.

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All photos taken the last few days by Will Van Dorp.

As you know, I’m on the road in Georgia, but thanks to some good friends here are some fotos for your Boxing Day.  Back on the first day of winter, December 21, I got these fotos from Ashley Hutto:  Responder towing Ellen through the Kills.    Who knows . . . maybe this was a solstice version of Kills do-si-do?

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Here from a few years back is a post featuring both Responder and Ellen.

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And from Rod Smith, who labors on the site Narragansett Bay Shipping whenever he’s not working for bread-n-butter, here’s a shot by Rod in the wee hours of the same day, Haggerty Girls first trip to the sixth boro.  If you click here, you’ll see how Rod documented almost every week in the construction of this newest vessel in the sixth boro, taking almost 500 fotos over parts of three years starting from the time that two plates were laid down and joined.  Bravo, Rod, on this ongoing work.   That’s Matthew Tibbetts looking on.   Here’s more info on Haggerty Girls.

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Many thanks to Ashley and Rod.

. . . aka a jumble.

I took the foto below of Stephen  L. Colby (St. Louis, MO-built, 1967, 144′ x 40′) on 1/4/2013 in Cairo, IL.  Yesterday, the boat sank into 14 feet of water farther north on the Mississippi.

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Below, s/v Concetta meets Charles D. McAllister (Jacksonville, FL, 1967, 94′ x 29′)  in late October.

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Twin Tube (Blount, 1951, 64′ x 19′)  passes the polytube rack.  If you click on the link in the previous sentence, you’ll see the very next completed Blount project was of Ceres, a “grain elevator.”  A google search turned up no fotos.  Anyone know of any?

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I took this foto a week and a half ago.  Currently, Grande Sierra Leone has left Dakar bound for Cotonou, passing the older Grande Buenos Aires en route.

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Bow Hector in the Kills a few days ago . . . now in Morehead City.   Bow! Hector!

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Taft Beach . . . shuttling dredge spoils, inbound.

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Sludge tanker North River noses past 118,000-bbl  barge Charleston.

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On Marathon Day, this was Explorer of the Seas ( I think) approaching the Narrows, as seen past the stern of Transib Bridge.

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A few days ago . . . it’s Challenge Paradise.   I wonder if that’s ever a command. . . .

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And at the same moment, crude oil tanker Felicity.   By the way, I passed between felicity and challenge paradise . ..  steering clear.   Both vessels are currently southbound off the coast of the Carolinas.

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Finally, in the Buttermilk, it’s MAST’s r/v Blue Sea, passing Wilson Newcastle and McAllister Responder.    Responder and Charles D. are two of the triplets built near the end of the run at Gibbs Gas Engine, currently a place to sleep and stroll.   The last time I saw Roderick-the third triplet– in the sixth boro was here.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

See it there, the modest red covered barge between Wavertree and Peking?  The steel covered barge is called Progress today.   Once it transported coffee from ship to shore.   I’m making a note to myself:  learn more about these.

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And right across the East River to the right of the firehouse at Fulton Landing, that modified but still modest white barge used to be Erie Lackawanna 375.  It too transported coffee.  More on this later.   I took this foto 6/16/2009.

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Here’s another modified coffee barge, this one just south of Camden, NJ, now the floating office of McAllister in that waterway.

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It’s a counterpart to this McAllister office on the KVK.   So given all these repurposed coffee barges I knew about, why

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did it take me a day short of seven years doing this blog to go to Bargemusic, the EL 375 barge in the foto above?   Shame on me, posing in the “shadow selfie” below, for waiting so long to check out this extraordinary barge.

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I trekked out there yesterday in spite of the gusty sub-freezing weather to hear some music and have a look.

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It was warm inside and the smell of old wood  . . . I felt immediately welcomed.  Note the brick fireplace to the left.  Some wood from American Legion lives on here.

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Jung Lin was warming up on the Steinway, as

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was Andy Simionescu.

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I didn’t–and one shouldn’t–take fotos during the performance, but during intermission, I went out onto the pier to see the view from the “back” of the stage.

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Here’s  the obit of founder Olga Bloom–with more info on her barge project– from the NYTimes almost exactly two years ago.  From this article, I learn this was her third barge, that it was built around 1900, and that Peter Stamford was instrumental in getting it permission to dock at Fulton Landing.   Here’s a spring 1978 article on what may have been Bargemusic’s first season.  Here’s a link that gets you an interview with the current president and calendar of upcoming events.  By the way, at 2:48 in that interview, a Bouchard tug passes eastbound on the East River.

Credits to those who offered marine trade skills and others can be found here.

Request:  the bargemusic site credits a Captain Hearnley as the one to tow the barge to this location.  Can anyone say anything about him?  Does anyone know the name of the tug or . . . have a foto of that tow?  When was the former EL 375 last  hauled?

Final shot for today, a foto from 8/27/2010 of Volunteer passing bargemusic.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  If you have never been to bargemusic, you’ll thank youself if you go there SOON.

For two more repurposed barges serving as cultural centers, click here and here.  Pennsy 399 will deliver sinterklaas to Kingston this coming week.

Here was 1 and 2.  Twelve minutes elapses in the set of fotos.  In the distance beyond the pipelines, Siteam Explorer (more on her later) and ACL Atlantic Compass pass.  The green vessel center right is Atchafalaya, foto at the end of this post.

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Tailing Atlantic Compass around Bergen Point is the vessel currently known as Elizabeth McAllister.  Click here for her long history, including a quite serious mishap almost exactly 25 years ago when she was called Elizabeth Moran.

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Atlantic Compass–like some of her fleetmates–is 29 years old, built at Kockums in Malmo, Sweden–right across the water from Copenhagen.  Click here for some great archival fotos of this generation of ACL ROROs.

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Atlantic Compassgreen-faster-bigger replacement will come from near Shanghai, China . . .

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That’s McAllister Responder now tailing portside.

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Note the folded-down mast.

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Unrelated:  Here’s a closer up of Atchafalaya.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Those film awards started in 1929.

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William Oscar Decker was launched in 1930.

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Every day should be Oscar day and every night . . . Oscar night.  And the winner is  . . . W. O.!  Shouldn’t there be a George Stanley statuette front and center of wheelhouse?

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Foto #1 taken in September 2010 in Troy, and the other two taken in July 2012 in the East River.

Cold winter waterscapes –like especially hot dry landscapes –delight with the optical ilusions they yield.  Behold Hyundai Glory . . . or maybe just an assemblage of coherent containers hovering together.

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Have a look at MSC Catania.   On the left in the distance, notice the very long  arm of the Statue of Liberty, and midway between it and the ship . . . a very tall building in Queens, One Court Square, looking much taller than its 50 stories.

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Rosemary Miller ? (center)  meets Torm Aslaug, which triggered today’s series.

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Sand Master and sand mining barge nearly spans the Narrows.

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Tanker Cape Tallin heads for the anchorage, passing the tops of the towers of Marine Parkway.

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Here’s the foto that started the series.  notice two grayish shapes forward of the bow of Torm Aslug?  I could see them all the way from the top of a bridge on the Belt Parkway.

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Here, as seen from Mount Mitchill, the highest headland on the east coast south of Maine . . .  you can see the same two vessels–MSC by the color of their stacks–and McAllister Responder.

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This is the closest I could get . . . . T-AKE 13 USNS Medgar Evers at the Leonardo docks of  Naval Weapons Station Earle.

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East of her . . . I don’t know, but my guess would be a T-AOE.

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Any guess on the viewpoint of Manhattan with Hood Island departing back south for more tropical fruit?

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It’s taken from the same ridge at Sandy Hook, looking down across the still closed Sandy Hook National Park area.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

I heard the foghorn (or is it called a ship’s horn?)  for some time before I saw the vessel, but I knew I’d see Americas Spirit because of  the AIS app on my phone.  If I’d had my VHF with me, I’d also know from that which vessel approached and with whose assist.

With these and other elements of redundant technology, any vessel–like the small one below– in the vicinity would have slim chance of being surprised by a massive bow like this appearing unexpectedly out of the fog.

So if the question is  . . . why do ships still use these spectacular horns even with all the others means of “seeing” through the fog?   I suppose the answer is that redundancy is a good thing.

Click here for fog horns in San Francisco, but I believe the sounds from Americas Spirit were even lower pitched.  Even at a quarter mile’s distance, I felt it as much as heard.

Once the docking rotation began, the horn ceased…

and Barbara and Responder pinned Americas Spirit to the dock.

That horn booming out of the fog, though, stays with me.  It sounded almost human, like the breath wafting through and resonating within a wind instrument.

Next foggy day, head down to the Kills.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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