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This foto arrived today by USPS mail, and I’m eager to learn details I do not know.  I’ll disclose details later.  Clearly it’s the East River with stacks where they no longer stand.  Just to the left of the Chrysler Building, the skyscraper now known as Met Life  still carries the Pan Am name, and that change (on paper) happened in 1981.  The tug is Dorothy McAllister;  the ship might be


Wavertree, although the foto below shows the current color and head rig.  The foto above also seems to have a figurehead, which Wavertree at one point sported although it was not “original equipment.”


Here’s a detail of Dorothy McAllisterTugboat Enthusiasts Society‘s  Carl Wayne database shows a Dorothy McAllister built in 1973 (1971?).  Currently a Dorothy works in Charleston.


Here’s a bow detail of the ship, and one


of some crew on the afterdeck of  Dorothy.

aaaaem4And my questions are:  is this Wavertree?  How much clearance would there have been between the top of the masts and underside of the East River bridges?  What year would this have been?  Would Wavertree have been coming from the Brooklyn Navy Yard at this point?

Doesn’t that look like the Staten Island shore out beyond this color foto of Utrecht?  And the towline stretches taut with 3100 gross tons of steel, a hull that wants to sprint its 16 knots and some:


the bark Peking, late summer 1975, approaching the Narrows for the first time ever, as its previous route took it around Cape Horn.


Let’s walk around the foto a bit.  Invisible on this foto, some of the missing spars lie on deck.


The 1975 paint scheme differs from from that on the 1929-30 foto, and from the current one.  The assist tug appears to be a McAllister.


And on its 17-day passage from the UK, a “riding crew” rode Peking, there to stand watch and perform any as-needed functions excluding anything involving navigation, as Peking had non-functional rudder and no means of propulsion.  Several people are visible on deck below.  Lots of questions come to mind:  would a “dead ship” in general and Peking specifically have a generator on board?  What navigation lights are required?  What damage control would they have anticipated?  How different was radio communications tug-to-Peking 34 years ago?  Did watches include bilge and hold checks?  Who was this crew and what specialties did they have?  Did they take any fotos, and if so, where might those fotos be?


Peking masts are all steel;  topgallants were shortened.


What tales the crew of this tow must have told!  I’d love to learn more of the details of Peking‘s most recent passage, recent although 34 years ago.

Thanks to John for sending a link to the story (and many pics)  of Bear, which after a long life and many roles, sank while under tow from Halifax to Philadelphia for conversion to restaurant on the Delaware, a role currently played by Moshulu.  If you’ve seen Peking, you must visit Moshulu–and eat there to see the tweendecks.  Moshulu launched seven years before Peking also for the nitrate trade but from Scotland.

I’m curious:  any readers who know the ports of Chile today . . . is there recollection of the time a century back when these large commercial sail vessels arrived and departed with raw materials from the the Atacama Desert?  I’d love to hear.

Many thanks to Charlie Deroko for images and information.

Warning:  I have no reasonable idea what bowsprite has captured here. Possibly the sight has so befuddled her that she kept these shots from me for 10 weeks.  She took these on October 23, 2008.  The material looks to be steel like a barge, but the shape is certainly sailing vessel.  Two collars seem destined to support a—-well—-bowsprit.


The raised quarterdeck resembles something pre-20th century, and the pointed frames port and starboard could lend themselves to bulwarks if


the entire exterior were covered with wood or synthetic wood.  Provenance upriver and destination we have no clue about.  Wherezit taken?


It’s directly below bowsprite’s cliff dwelling.  Yes, that’s the Colgate clock in Jersey City just north of the Morris Canal.


Total mystery to me:  prop for a movie, retro-design cruise ship,  toy for Bernie Madoff/Dennis Kozlowski & fellow white-collar corsairs party on the MV Albert B. Fall, pirate interdiction vessel to be dedicated to keeping ersatz Gucci and Rolex products off Manhattan sidewalks, released super-mothership of the Rip van Winkle’s “strangely dressed” befuddlers post-ransom payment?    Bowsprite seems to have lost the temporary anxiety resulting from the sighting.  Any ideas?  Actually, I can’t identify the tug either.

Anyone offering info leading to the correct identification of this “spiky conundrum” will be offered the opportunity to post mystery vessel fotos of his/her own.  Hey . . . it’s been over a year since I last put up a relief crew post, but the next one would be “Relief Crew 8.”

Postscript:  Thanks to comments by John Brown and Jim, the mystery ship is identified here.

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