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“A butterfly among moths” flitted past lower Manhattan yesterday, northbound  on the North River, albeit a butterfly that hadn’t yet fully shed its cocoon.

“The boat has a colorful history, beginning as a small trading vessel along the South China coast. It reputedly once belonged to a Chinese warlord who had to sell it in haste to flee the country. Believe it or not, Robert Ripley purchased it in 1946 and owned it until he died…  It was sailed across the Pacific Ocean in 1939 and then to the East Coast the following year.”  All that was written here in 1985.   Mon Lei is not to be confused with a junk called Free China.

Maybe she flitted as a butterfly in my mind, but yesterday Mon Lei was being towed.   I should have gotten this photo without the excursion boat in the distance.

I had forgotten that the bow was squared off until I returned to my post from that year.

It’s truly unique, and I hope it doesn’t berth too far upstream because

I’d love to see it again, sans shrink-wrap and with junk-rig sails set on all three masts.  Here’s a long article from 2017 with black-and-white photos from the distant past, including one with the unique Robert Ripley playing mahjong, believe it or not.

Here’s another unique sailing vessel of the sixth boro, Lettie G. Howard.  And if you don’t see it in the next day and a half, you won’t see it in New York any time soon, as it heads west by sailing east:  Lake Erie bound by way of Nova Scotia and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.  Maybe my friends along the way will get photos of her.  The Seaway and its locks might provide good opportunities for photos.

And to round out this post, here’s a Nautor Swan for sale, currently tied up in North Cove.  At a bit over $1.6 million, it could be yours, or mine, or someone else’s.

Like a RORO and a tanker that have appeared here before, Tugela is named for a South African river.

Quite the mast!

Finally, not the same black hulled sailboat, it entered the Upper Bay last week passing the Quarantine Station.  Anyone know if a facility by that name exists there  today?

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who should take walks around the land’s edge every weekend.

Here’s Mon Lei‘s homepage.  Somewhere  (?)  I recall seeing photos of her in the 1976 bicentennial harbor muster.  Also, not surprisingly, bowsprite dabbled with junk for a time.

Unrelated:  Here’s a voyaging sailboat from the Philippines. 

 

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