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I don’t usually think of the Great Lakes as schooner territory, but that’s a misperception:  before rail and roads, these moved cargo around the northern midwest.

SV Denis Sullivan has been down bound as far as Quebec City this summer for the tall ships’ render-vous.    Has Sullivan ever seen saltier water beyond Quebec City?

Just as she approached, she started dropping sail, starting with the headsails

and moving astern. Here a crew flakes the foresail as it is lowered.

A little math with an assumption that Sullivan–a replica, I know– could carry 400 tons of ore sound like a way to get in trouble:

anyhow, if my assumption were correct, it would take 170 schooners to carry the same amount of ore as Paul R. Tregurtha, right?

Here, using signage from the Chicago Maritime Museum, is a little context.

“lumbershovers”??  A a ferry might hire peopleshovers?

Photos by Will Van Dorp.


It’s day 24 for Blue Marlin in the the ever-fascinating sixth boro, and I had NO intention to pick up this thread again, since I’d gone down to the Narrows today expecting a story about a certain three-masted schooner, which I hope to get to soon . . .   as that story emerges from the haze . . .  .  By the way doubleclick enlarges and MSC vessel departing is Rachele, Baltimore-bound.

But at 6:43 this morning, I had finally positioned myself on the sunny through more distant Brooklyn side.   The load looked fine to MY eyes, and when

at 7:45 McAllister Girls and Amy C McAllister showed up, I imagined they would assist the loaded Blue Marlin up to OwlsHead or maybe out to sea.

Then Charles D showed up at 8:11 and –to the astonishment of the spectators, including me, on the Brooklyn side–

at 8:35 offloaded the aftermost three barges!

After stemming the tide a bit under the  VZ Bridge, at 9:19ish the three tugs re-loaded

the shuffled barges from the starboard side.  This foto taken at 9:25 shows the task nearly done.

The sixth boro . . . as I’ve referred to these waters since early 2007, when the concept emerged for me, offers endless delight:  a scene like the one below has never before aranged itself.  That’s Jerko in tow;  you might remember seeing the other side of Jerko–then moored in the Gowanus Canal– in the eighth foto of this post.   Jerko, now gallivanting the harbor and bound for cleaner waters, shows a more photogenic side.

By now I had to go, because I really had other things to do, but I decided to stay for a money shot, Blue Marlin spinning with the tide around midday, showing off its load.  This foto shows what might have been the logic of the reload:  now the seven barges all have their notches on Blue Marlin‘s starboard side.

In my June 3 post, I shared comments I overheard over on the Staten Island side here (scroll down a bit).    Today I overheard the following Brooklyn conjecture:

“I’ve never seen barges like those . . . they’re catamarans or something.”

“See those oranges buildings in the water over there . . . they must be testing something.  The buildings go up and down in the water.  I’ve never seen anything like it.”

And my favorite:  “They’re checking something under the water, I think.  Maybe they’re even looking for oil.  Imagine that, oil right here in New York harbor.”

12:37 . . .  this is what I’ve waited for, the “overhang shot.”  The aftmost barge–RTC 501–is 338′ loa;  Blue Marlin is 200′ abeam.  This is what 138′ overhang looks like.

It’s only my perception, but I’m thinking of RTC 501 like Philippe Petit‘s balance pole.

I started this post referring to a three-masted schooner.  This isn’t it, but the sea’s gift is all manner of surprises . . like this two-masted schooner Corsair that entered the Narrows . . . this shot at 12:42.  Anyone know where Corsair‘s bound?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s been enthralled by Blue Marlin but now wishes it would just evolve away.

PS:  Blue Marlin will leave . . .when she’s ready.  What is this all about?  Marine businesses… like any other businesses… outgrow and upgrade  equipment.  There’s a market in used marine equipment, just as there’s a used car, used agriculture . . .etc.  market.  Reinauer has sold off this equipment (and has more equipment to sell) to a company in Nigeria, although I’ve heard people mention another, farther destination also.   A heavy lift vessel facilitates the move.

PPS:  Although I’d love to catch a boat ride to get close-ups of Blue Marlin, people’s comments about the huge orange vessel fascinate me.  I’d love to hear your comments . . . what tall tales have you heard?  I’d especially like to hear . . . even anonymously . ..  from folks involved in the loading process, either aboard Marlin or on either Miller or McAllister boats.

Last fall I caught Pioneer from outboard; yesterday I rode Pioneer on its trip to welcome back schooner Anne and play with Erin Wadder.  This post is mostly intended to document the first part of that ride.  Before leaving the dock, captain and crew confer.

This seasoned crew greets passengers as they transition from terra to aqua.

After the vessel slips into the East River,  crew tidies docklines.

Crew on the halliards raise the mainsail; then

coil and hang these lines on the shrouds, to keep them from free to run, should an emergency lowering of sails need to happen.

Bow watch signals oncoming traffic.

Pioneer skitters down the Bay quite nicely for a hull that served as a sailing sand conveyance a full 125 years ago.  Imagine a 1985 Mack dumptruck racing around with paying passengers in the year 2110!!

The winds inspiring Pioneer to skitter and scud also propel these other sailing vessels yesterday,  Anne farther and an unidentified sloop nearer.  Can anyone identify the sloop?

Scuppers port and starboard get a thorough rinsing.

Reid and Anne engage in some performance artistry with Freja Fionia.

The sloop tacks past again, and Pioneer, belly

in her sails, plays along.

A followup post soon will document Pioneer‘s return to the dock.  For now, sharing the air and water with us was a crew setting out on a formidable journey as Reid concluded his.  Artemisoceanrowing intended here to leave the sixth boro for a ride across the North Atlantic all the way

to the UK.  To be followed.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  See you among the merfolk tomorrow!

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June 2023