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Today’s update on the loading of Blue Marlin–rumored to happen today–is that there’s no update, other than more prep work.  Maybe tomorrow?  Clearwater passed to check progress.  Technical question:  does Blue Marlin have dynamic positioning system to keep it stable while loading happens?

So, let me catch you up on Saturday’s water portion of the Hudson River pageant:  Village Community Boathouse sent three rowing gigs, decorated as if for the mermaid parade.  Whatever happened on land, I’ve no clue, because we stayed out of sight of the landcrew,  stemming the tide and waiting our cue.

For some closeups of the other boats, click here.

In two hours on the water, we saw bright sunlight and downpour, which

moved me to keep my camera in a drybag.

The gigs are fast but the longer they are,

— I was one of  five rowers in this 33′ gig–the longer the keel, the better it tracks, i.e., the less it wants to go anything but straight ahead.

Unrelated to this but apropos of yesterday’s Save Our Seaport post, come if you can to Community Board 1 meeting tomorrow:  South Street Seaport Museum is on the agenda.  Here are details:  CB1 Meeting will happen at  Borough of Manhattan Community College,  199 Chambers St., Richard Harris Terrace.    Tuesday May 24th 2011, 6:00 PM.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  If anyone was on the landside of our flotilla for the Hudson River pageant and has fotos of our “boat dance,” please send a link.

(Unrelated:  If you are in or near NYC tomorrow, come to the “Save Our Seaport” rally at South Street to make a loud noise.)  I will be there.

It has NOT rained non-stop the past week, but enough rain and cloud have visited us that  . . . if today continues as glorious as it has started, the predictions will be correct:  I might just feel rapturous.  (Doubleclick enlarges.)  If you’re not in this drenched zone, here’s the sodden seaside you’ve missed.  Brendan Turecamo escorts in East Point with Lois Ann L. Moran and Turecamo Girls in the background.

Maryland in foreground with a very moody Manhattan and Jersey City  in the distance.

Pati R. Moran,

Lee T., and Thomas Witte (?)

all get unimpeded deckwashes.  Crew on Mare di Venezia might think this standard sixth boro seasoning.

When for minutes at a time, the rain stops, otherworldly scenes emerge, like VCB‘s decorated rowing gig Bird (more on this later)  in the foreground and Danish schooner Opal in the background.

But then the rain starts up again . . .  yet traffic ebbs and flows, like here Horizon Traderin the distance and Resolute escorting in Hyundai Integral closer by, and still later, as I shot from under a pedestrian bridge,

Sandmaster (ex-Ben Candies) enters the harbor with so-called Blue Marlin in the background.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who feels thoroughly rain-anointed and is astonished that his camera still works.

(Doubleclick enlarges most fotos.) When I visited Village Community Boathouse (VCB) late last winter, we discussed a “photographic rowfari” to the Gowanus, come spring.  Spring has arrived, and so . .. yesterday, John Magnus and JML

constructed by volunteers at VCB were lowered into the north River at Pier 40 and

after some adjustments, the hearty crews rowed toward their destination,

making a stop to greet the folks at Red Hook Boaters near Valentino Pier before

heading farther south.

Once past Erie Basin, we turned into Gowanus Bay, past the Loujaine, the grain elevators,

part of the Vane fleet, docked where the previous tenant’s name still graces the wall,

past the experiment vessel Jerko

with its famous tender Mare Liberum. . . floating above all manner of artifacts there for the collecting . . . farther up the canal untl we reached it . . .

huge bubbles?  Reverse maelstrom?  Vortex reversus?  Belch of sludge lusus naturae?  Maybe it’s just evidence that the flushing canal actually functions in spite of its sisyphean task of cleaning what has been rendered most foul?

In spite of Gowanus‘ uberpolluted condition, an ecosystem exists, with feral cats,


an intrepid canoe club,

predators and prey.

Is the intention of this sign (above a novel use of tires) to invite us back?  See the VCB version of events here.

Questions I have are . . .  how soon might the Canal’s Superfund status show results?

Unrelated but possibly good news related to South Street Seaport   . . .  we all who pledged may have the pleasure of sending in our Benjamin Franklins . . . .

And a heads-up for next week . . .  Hudson River Pageant, involving some of Village Community Boathouse’s rowing gigs!

Related and very important . .  . if you’re in a human-powered and relatively small vessel, be aware that you are difficult to spot for huge cargo vessels of all kinds that travel fast and have limited maneuverability.  Read Towmasters post here

The title comes from St. Exupery.

Where is this 32′ x 5′ Cornish pilot gig emerging out of okoume?  (Doubleclick enlarges most fotos.)

In the sixth boro of course, in fact on Pier 40.  If you were to bore through the floor and lower your toes, they’d feel the chill of Hudson River water in late winter.   Pier 40 is partly used as parking, athletic fields for budding athletes of all sorts, and docking for fireboats and historic vessels.  There even used to be a trapeze school on the roof.  Hmm, maybe one of these days a digression will prompt me to put more trapeze fotos up.  But I went to Pier 40 this weekend to witness the tremendous efforts of the Village Community Boathouse,

where the Cornish gig is under construction, and where some thirty 26′ Whitehall gigs have been built.

What is a gig, a rowing gig?  Click here for dozens of fotos.

The lines on these boats–with only slight modification–date to a rowing race in the sixth boro in 1824!!  Yes, 1824 when a sixth boro gig called American Star beat a British gig called Dart, racing with 50,000 spectators on the waterfront, an event commemorated annually.  and not recalled solely in New York!   Oh . .  about that 50,000-spectator number . .  NY’s population back then was less than 200,000!   25% of the city never turns out for a baseball or basketball game . . .

An interesting twist in the American Star Whitehall boat story is that it was presented to General Lafayette in 1825 (?)  and has remained in France since then.  Mystic’s John Gardner took the lines off the American Star and constructed a replica, which in turn led to the design of the boats in various NYC community boating programs.

Check out the Village Community Boathouse blog here.   By the way, let’s cheer them on at the Snow Row (and Snow Ball) coming up in two weeks.  Here’s a video of the Snow Row 2010 sans snow.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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November 2022