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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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
You may recall that back in 2014, I often juxtaposed canal&river/rail in photos like the one below.
This post was originally going to feature only photos of the river and canal from the rails, like the one below, but
then I decided to pair photos from the train toward the water with the opposite: photos from the water toward roughly the same land area where the rails lay and the trains speed.
Train shots are difficult because of speed, coatings on the windows, trees and poles along the tracks . . . but I’m quite sure a letter that begins “Dear Amtrak: could you slow down, open windows, and otherwise accommodate the photographers” would not yield a positive response.
I hope you enjoy this attempt on my part. And if you ever have a chance to ride Amtrak along the Hudson, Mohawk, and Lake Champlain . . . sit on the better side of the car; switch sides if necessary.
Here we’re on the Livingstone Avenue Bridge looking south and
here we are south of it, looking north. Yes, that’s Crow, Empire, W. O. Decker, and Grand Erie passing through the open swivel.
Here’s the pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam
as seen from both vantage points.
The 1766 Guy Park Manor from a speeding train and
Schoharie Aqueduct from Amtrak,
a slow boat, and
the east bank of Schoharie Creek.
Little Falls onramp to I-90 from rail and
The rail bridge at Lock 19 from the span and
from west of it at Lock 19.
And these all east of Utica I can’t pair, but decided to include here anyhow: a dairy pasture,
a construction yard, and
a truck depot.
Maybe if I write that “Dear Amtrak” letter, I could just ask if the window could be cleaned a bit. If you’re going to try this, take amtrak when the leaves are off the trees.
All photos by Will Van Dorp, who embeds this post from “Good Morning Gloucester” to reveal a bit of my past . . . 1988. Scroll all the way through to see a piece of shipwreck “treasure.”
I’m trying to catch up with the photos you all have been good enough to share on tugster. The first five here come from some salts up on the Caloosahatchee Canal in Florida. John Parrish was westbound here, but a week later it showed up in the sixth boro, and by publication of this post, it’s already back to Norfolk. That’s some sea miles. Here are some of my previous photos of John Parrish.
Also, westbound in that Canal, it’s Brittany Beyel. She’s Beyel Brothers equipment, who have a dramatic photo on that link.
This one’s eastbound on the Canal with a crane. I can’t quite make out the name, but the the steersman has great visibility.
Boomalong was getting hauled out. Her fine lines made me think she has a storied past, and it turns out she does. She began life in 1944 in Owen Sound, ON as HMCS Neville, HMCS being Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship. She’s a Russel Brothers boat that has been around, currently quite far from
Sault Ste. Marie.
Thanks to Jed, who previously contributed many photos, here’s a photo and text: “it’s Stephanie S (1986) returning to Port Canaveral after escorting the bulk carrier VENTURE out of the port.”
From Birk Thomas, it’s Barents Sea, now over in Port Newark, having moved for the first time in at least five years. She looks rough, but I’m hoping there’s a make-over in the works for her. If she moves again, I’d love to see some photos.
Here’s my photo of W. O. Decker, docked at Caddell Dry Dock, being worked on . . . or waiting for Wavertree to make her promenade back to South Street.
From Jason LaDue, here’s a good view of the underbelly of Grouper, frequently referred to in this blog. Such belly will be visible until the pool level of the Erie Canal is brought back up for the start of the season. Jason’s also a frequent contributor.
Now here’s an oldie but goodie from the other JED. It shows Labrador Sea and Taurus, significant because now that Taurus is being phased out, Labrador Sea–which had worked on the Mississippi and Gulf for the past few years, has moved back up here into Taurus‘ place, I’m told. And they’re in K-Sea colors.
And I said “and more” in the title? Here’s the more, a new dock book from Tony Acabono. If it’s your business to know where berth 60 is in Port Elizabeth in relation to berth 61 in Port Newark, you might want to check it out.
Many thanks to the secrets salts and the not-so-secret ones for sending along these photos.
If there’s a shortage of any kind of stuff these days, there seems to be a dire scarcity of compassion, tolerance, . . . So it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, I’m sure we have common ground in thinking we need
peace on Earth and goodwill towards everyone, especially this year. That’s what I see in these decorations and hear in the music.
From here in NY’s sixth boro on bows and
From the south,
and the north . . .
and from this card someone sent me . . . have a happy day. And a calm and boring day; let
me explain. Click on the image below to hear a song by Capt. Josh Horton that probably captures the sentiments of crews at sea today.
Here was 2014, and here was 2013. Also, two years ago it thrilled me to share photos I received from the good folks at Hughes Marine to get photos from 1997 —here –of the year the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree came downriver by tug and barge. And more good folks at Cross Sound Ferry sent along photos from 2003, here, when their ferry North Star delivered the tree that year . . . crewed in part by Rockettes!
If you’ve got time today for the background on how NORAD started reporting on Santa movements back at the height (or depth) of the Cold War in 1955, click here. Here’s another version of the same Cold War story.
Thanks to Brendan Matton for the photo of Paul Andrew, Tali Padilla for the photo of Z-One lit up at the San Juan dock, Lisa Kolibabek of Cape Cod and Bonnie Halda for Jupiter both on the Delaware River, and Mike Magnant for the be-snowmanned Toot Toot. Barrel sent me the photo of the red clad beard guy on the green 29. I took the photos at South Street Seaport Museum.
Finally, if you want to squelch the “red elf” mythology, check out the name of this 1963-built bulker AND its status.
First, for a focused statement on the importance of this vessel and Lafayette on US independence, click here . . . from a Portland Maine publication. More on Lafayette, click here, but skip the partisan dribble in paragraphs 3–6. Also, here.
Most of the photos in this post I took on July 1, by which time the French shore contingent had done a great job setting up a pier display, and here’s my favorite poster. Doubleclick on the photo to enlarge it and read the numbers.
Soon after all lines were made fast, the ceremony started: music, uniforms, flags, and the CASK! It’s to be auctioned off. I’d love to know the price.
Thanks to Linda Roorda, Peter Boucher, and Xtian Herrou for answers about the flags and uniforms. The uniforms here and in Wednesday’s post of the Breton bagpipers and the two matelots are French Naval summer uniforms. The flag flown below the US flag on L’Hermione is the Serapis flag–or a variation thereof– flown by John Paul Jones.
Yesterday I stopped by and was fortunate to here speeches under the FDR. Here, with microphone, South Street Seaport Museum Executive Director Jonathan Boulware talks about the ships, the museum, and all six boros of NYC.
Then a parade set out from the pier and headed via Wall Street to Bowling Green, stopping
briefly at Federal Hall.
Happy Independence Day.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Well, L’Hermione (pronounced LAIR me un) will find her way into more of these photos. Here’s the venerable W. O. Decker. Click and scroll to see her at work a few decades back.
It’s Pelham, power unit for Wavertree not long ago.
And it’s James Turecamo, preparing to escort in the French frigate currently at South Street.
And Frederick E. Bouchard, in the process of switching B. No. 264 from on the hawser to alongside.
And my first shot of James E. Brown, brand spanking new. I’ll devote a whole post to James E. soon, I hope.
Laura K. Moran watches the French lion pass . . .
as does Frances out in Gravesend Bay.
And the answer to the question about Elizabeth Anna . . . the top photo . . . I believe it’s the erstwhile Bear, the Disch tug acquired by DonJon at an auction back in December 2014. I wonder where she’s headed. Anyone help out?
Except the top photo by Bjoern Kils, all photos in the past few days by Will Van Dorp.
And if I haven’t said this explicitly enough, New York Media Boat is the faster, most versatile, shallowest draft means to see whatever you want in the sixth boro. Need waterborne support for a project or . . .want to see or show someone the sixth boro and its borders with the other boros, check them out.
I believe I took this in summer 2005, my first view of Lincoln Sea from W. O. Decker. Lincoln Sea is now making its way northward probably along Baja California, if not already along alta California.
A few days ago and from the crew of Maraki–aka my sister and brother-in-law–it’s Salvatore in Santa Marta, Colombia.
And in the same port . . . Atlantico assisting Mosel Ace into the dock.
And the next few from Fred Trooster and Jan Oosterboer and taken in Amazonehaven section of the port of Rotterdam less than a week ago . . . the giant Thalassa Elpida assisted into the dock by FairPlay 21. The two smaller boats are the line handlers.
Click here for a post I did four years ago showing FairPlay 21 nearly capsizing.
Tailing the giant is Smit Ebro.
Rounding today out . . . it’s W. O. Decker, Viking, and Cheyenne . . . before the tugboat race in September 2010.
Thanks to Fred, Seth, and Maraki for these photos.
Name that tug? Answer follows.
Kodiak . . . this is a new one for me and a one-off trip for the vessel?
The tug here is
Liberty Service. And yes, that’s Chesapeake Coast in the distance.
This is an impressive lineup in the late fall afternoon light: the McAllisters Kate, Bruce, Helen, Brothers, Brian . . and more.
This vessel I truly don’t know. It’s new in the harbor, and I have a hunch . . . but will keep that to myself.
All photos very recently by Will Van dorp.
Chancellor . . . built pre-World War 2 in Brooklyn. This post is timed to satisfy a request from Bob Price . . . as follows: “as part of a group working to restore the tug boat Chancellor, I am trying to find any extant engineering documentation regarding her construction details. Built by Bushey & Sons in 1938, it is currently in the keeping of the Waterford Maritime Historical Society and my group of volunteers recently arranged to have it moved into dry dock at Lock 3 of the Erie Canal where we laboriously winterized it, pumped its bilges dry and a making plans to create a very thorough hit list of things to do. If you would be so kind as to point me in the direction of any person or entity that might have access to drawings or any engineering related stuff pertaining to the Chancellor I would be most appreciative. Thanks for your time. Bob Price Knox, NY 518.895.8954 The first three fotos below come from Bob.
The next three I took in 2010. Here she’s cruises north on the Hudson headed for Troy.
Here’s she’s downbound following W. O. Decker into the Federal Lock.
Housedown, she prepares to depart the bulkhead in Waterford.
And in my foto from either 2006 or 2007 she goes nose-to-nose with Gowanus Bay.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of construction drawings or other plans for Chancellor, you can also email me and I’ll pass the info on to Bob and his group. Click here to see Fred tug44’s video of Chancellor being pushed upstream by the tagteam of Ben Elliot and National.
Here was 1.
Bob Stopper sends along this foto from Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario. Miss Debbie, 1969, was originally 30′ but extended to 46′.
Here’s a bow shot I took a few years back.
The Bronx and W. O. Decker here headed up along the west side of Manhattan before the 2010 Hudson River tug race. Click here to see a clip called Bootleggers Return to the Bronx, re-enacting a 1922 federal raid on a barge where “hootch” was sold. The clip was sent along by Robert Apuzzo, who samples the bottle on the bow of the tug in the clip.
From the 2008 Hudson River tug race, Terilou, I believe. I know nothing about Terilou‘s past or present, although it may be tied up on the Raritan River.
And here’s a boat i just stumbled onto . . . Cynthia Garner. Anyone know her story?
The first foto comes compliments of Bob Stopper, the eyes on western NY waterways. All others by Will Van Dorp.