Upon surfacing with the turtle, he found his boat had drifted away.
He let go of the turtle, but could not catch up to his boat.
He had to swim back home, exhausted and embarrassed, with neither turtle nor boat.
Those who try to do two things at once often accomplish neither.
On June 14, 2011, this 70 ft schooner, Black Seal, brought 20 tons of cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to Red Hook, Brooklyn.
This is how they did it: no customs report, no bills of lading, no contract with the ILA to lift the 400 bags, and a blank stare when asked for a TWIC. Viva l’esprit of rum running!
Our wise leaders decided that shooting at the handmade three masted schooner was not as good press as welcoming it, so we are happy to have the beans, Mast Bros chocolate, and this WSJ story. Will there be more? Day-o!
(update: the editorial offices of BLOWSPITTLE ink have been informed that all hoops were hastily collected, set up on pier 9A and jumped through: correct papers were obtained-signed-approved-delivered, customs agent procured, docking permitted, stevedores contracted, eyes crossed, teas dotted.)
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On March 9, 2012, this 105 ft schoonerbrig, running under sail power only — no motor at all — set a course from the Dominican Republic to pick up cocoa beans in Grenada bound for New York. They had rum, salt and other Caribbean products for New York, England and the Netherlands. Their voyage plan had Grenada as their last Carribean stop in order to load the cocoa beans last to keep them cooler, forcing the ship to sail from the Dominican Republic against the current and close to the wind, sailing that demanded constant trimming and setting of sails during all watches.
All for naught: the bureaucracy and regulatory fees demanded by our port thoroughly discouraged Tres Hombres, and the cocoa shipment for Grenada Chocolate Company was not to be. The ship had to abandon the stop off at New York, and changed course towards the Azores. Simply no way to gain if you try to follow the rules. Read the ship log’s entry here. Day-o…
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This 191 ft barquentine is the largest tall ship operated by the Indonesian Navy and serves as a sail training vessel for naval cadets and as an ambassador of goodwill for the people of Indonesia: Dewaruci.
She was on her last voyage, nearing NYC for FleetWeek/OpSail 2012 when she ran low on water. She crawled like a thirsty desert traveller along the NJ coast, crying ‘water! water!’ unheeded. She reached the Verrazano Narrows bridge, and approached Sullivans Pier in Staten Island where she would tie up for FleetWeek, two days early. She was denied permission to dock. And was not allow to water. Anti Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP): the police forces were scheduled for two days later and could not be deployed so quickly, nor could they be paid for for the two extra days. ATFP does not do boat time.
Desperate, the ship with their crew of 70 students looked for water, but found none. Calls were made and both SUNY Maritime and the United States Merchant Marine Academy welcomed them, eager to host the ship for two days. Fort Schuyler on the Throggs Neck peninsula was just a touch closer than Kings Point, Long Island, so the plan was to sail to SUNY Maritime to tie up and get water.
The ship began the trip up the East River, when the Sandy Hook Pilots noticed a discrepancy with specs and a translation issue. “Air draft” in Indonesian looks like “mast height” or the other way around; the mast from the deck up would have gone under the Brooklyn Bridge, but not with the ship under it.
Dewaruci turned away, and limped back, still parched, to Lower Bay to wait for two days.
For the FleetWeek parade up and down North River, Dewaruci students dressed gaily in blue and white uniforms, and stood atop yards, on shrouds and on bowsprit, saluting a city that was a rather shabby welcoming host. O day.
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Tonight! the Working Harbor Committee presents “Sailing Ships At Work”: the history of sailing cargo ships, the ships that sail cargo today (short part) and what the future may look like.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 6 – 9 p.m.
Community Church of New York
40 E. 35th Street
New York, NY 10016
Price — Adults: $25, Seniors (62+) $20
please click here for tickets.
The future: projects like the Vermont Sailing Barge, Hope and Alert, HARVEST, B9 Shipping, and the MARAD initiative of the Hudson River Foodway Corridor will bring back water transportation of cargo…putting ships back in shipping.
The Working Harbor Committee is not responsible for any of the drivel I write. I just monitor VHF radio and drink in scuttlebutt in bars. And unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the event tonight, but go and have great fun. ♠ ♥ ♣ ♦
This American Beauty turns 120 years old this year:
Join the Museum of the City of New York, the Seaport Museum and Friends at Rosanne Cash‘s Fundraising Concert on monday!
Monday, April 8
New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, NYC
Please buy tickets here. For a bit of history, read on Tugster, who writes: “Rosanne Cash traces her family to an ancestor who arrived in Salem, MA in 1643 aboard Good Intent.” And a bit more history on Sea Mist, Time, and Sunsets.
Gotta give a shout out to the Homies—Gloucester in da House!
We had one million bales of the best Sligo rags
We had two million barrels of stones
We had three million sides of old blind horses hides,
We had four million barrels of bones.
We had five million hogs, we had six million dogs,
Seven million barrels of porter.
We had eight million bails of old nanny goats’ tails,
In the hold of the Irish Rover.
—Shane McGowan, Paddy Rolling Stone
for this post, information and comments, please see the side page here:
Some tugs are named after rivers. Some after seas, some after trees. Some are named after American Indian tribes.
But the CG has a class of tugs that wins the award for best names: the 65-foot Small Harbor Tug (WYTL).
Named after things normal people call “rope”, and things found on a boat that interact with the “rope,” or, in one case, what normal people call “droop” of a rope, to those who love tugs, these names are little, one-word love poems, odes to the small harbor working tug.
The WYTLs were built between 1962 and 1967, and were employed only on the east coast, from Maine to Virginia. Originally a class of 15 tugs built by different shipyards, 11 are still in service:
- BOLLARD (WYTL 65614) New Haven, CT
- BRIDLE (WYTL 65607) Southwest Harbor, ME
- CAPSTAN (WYTL 65601) Philadelphia, PA
- CHOCK (WYTL 65602) Portsmouth VA
- CLEAT (WYTL 65615) Philadelphia, PA
- HAWSER (WYTL 65610) Bayonne, NJ
- LINE (WYTL 65611) Bayonne, NJ
- PENDANT (WYTL 65608) Boston, MA
- SHACKLE (WYTL 65609) South Portland, ME
- TACKLE (WYTL 65604) Rockland, ME
- WIRE (WYTL 65612) Saugerties, NY
BITT (WYTL 65613) was decommissioned on 4 October 1982, now R/V Clifford A. Barnes
SWIVEL (WYTL 65603) , still SWIVEL at Governor’s Island
TOWLINE (WYTL 65605) perhaps for sale, and
CATENARY (WYTL 65606), now Growler
And YOU are invited to the 50th birthday celebration of Hawser (17 Jan 1963), Line (21 Feb 1963), and Wire (19 Mar 1963):
“1 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013: the three tugs will meet at the Walkway over the Hudson and steam north to Saugerties. A Coast Guard spokesperson will be available at the walkway and there will be a photo opportunity there to capture the tugs together on the Hudson River.” USCG Media Advisor
According to Hudsonian’s & Tugster’s photos, all three have expanded the cabins aft to enclose the stack. So the drawing above is incorrect. Do not use for navigation.
Like one to take home? look here.
|Power Plant:||Upgrading to
Does your deckhand (or other crew member) look like anyone from this clip?
if ‘yes’, s/he is eligible to win a bowsprite print of her/his vessel and a
pink salmon scarf!
Scan of TWIC card needed to claim prize Nevermind, no TWIC scanners yet. Send phone photo. And phone number.
Good luck, Wo/Men!
*this is an equal opportunity event.
USS Mitscher (DDG-57)
Ingalls Shipbuilding, 1992
Homeport: Norfolk, VA
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
38 Chief Petty Officers
210 Enlisted Personnel
At Stapleton Pier / The Sullivans Pier, Fleet Week 2012. With the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in the background.
Chock-a-block of eye pads…unlike this unidentified ship, with a dearth of panama chocks.
Line handling these days must be damned bitter cold. Oof!
But I did catch this on VHF13:
A NYHarbor tug which moves oil called out to a cruise ship, tied up at pier 88. The cruise ship responds. (Yes, I know the names; No, not naming.)
Tug: “Yeah, we’ve been here for 40mins, and not a hatch has opened.”
Cruise ship: “Oh…oh. Stand by, please, stand by.” A few minutes go by. ”Yes, someone has gone to open the hatches, now.”
What do you say to the nice tankerman who’s been waiting on the barge for you?
sorry: posting while under the influence of flu. This is the first year I get a flu shot and BAM! hit by da bug. Hard.
To my aid came this from an old salt and top first aid administrator:
take a mug
fill it half with HOT water
add sugar, or honey and some citron
add half whiskey, or brandy
drink as hot as possible
take 2 paracetamol (we call it acetaminophen)
Now you have to hurry to make it to your bed, because you will probably faint. You will sweat all night. Next morning you will be still ramshackle, but are going to be ok.
• 2 cups of water,
•12 to 20 thick slices of ginger,
• 3 to 4 teaspoons of brown sugar (not white)
Boil together for a good long while, until a quarter or a third of the water boils off.
Drink as hot as you can handle. It will feel like lava, but not due to temperature, but the ginger’s power.
Go to bed immediately.
Sweat sear your bugs out. Wake up and thank the Goddesses you survived the brew.
A tip from King Neptune:
More electrolytes than Gatorade. Just water it down to dilute all the salt.
Avoid coffee, tea and lemon: these are diruretic, which makes you move water out. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Stay healthy! Best to you if you were on the ferry this morning, under the bug, or otherwise not feeling A-1.
A NYHarbor tugman tells this story of serving on a particular ship, early in his career:
When his ship was in the same port with other vessel of the service, they would have to be extra vigilant to keep rival comrades from playing pranks with the ship’s good name. All it took was two lengths of thick black tape, crossed.
It was called being on the “X” watch.
Someone at A and A Coffee Shop was slacking off:
Refuse to enable people or companies who put profit above responsibility to their crew—
• no money,
• no service,
• no business,
• no supplies,
• no crew,
• no succor.
As a tugman I know puts it, ” I wouldn’t piss on them even if they were on fire.” How inadvertently gracious of him.
Don’t work for Azal Shipping & Cargo. We need the names of the owners, should they disband and reform as another company.
Iceberg I, RO/RO
Built: 1976, ACH Construction Navale, Le Havre, FR
I did not know any military people until I began to work on boats. I still do not know any military women very well, just by correspondence. But I’ve met some men. Different world.
With a few rich and generous exceptions, they don’t blog. They don’t like to reveal much. It is not easy to drag a good story out of them.
But every now and then, in a calm crossing of the river while we’re both in the wheelhouse, I’d hear:
“Did I ever tell you? Oh, you’ll like this one—we were in the PBR, they were shooting at us, and let me tell you how this boat was made: you could turn a valve to use the motor to pump the water that was filling up in the boat OUT. It was called a crash turn. But you couldn’t move, then. We had to choose: pump out the boat, or get our asses outta there.”
“The boat was filling up? you were all getting wet?”
Eyes widened: “We were getting SHOT at! YES, our socks were getting wet!”
“Oh, Kenny! where were you? when was this?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Well, who made the boat?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Come on! Oh, pretty please?”
“No. I can’t.”
Tried to find the boat. A good resource here: the Historic Naval Ships Association.
They see things differently. My dear girlfriend Lilian is a potter, she gave me beautiful red clay to pinch into pots for my succulents. One ex-CG friend picked up the bag of the heavy dense stuff and asked, “It this your bag of plastic explosive?”
I could not tell if he was serious or not. That’s another thing. Poker faced, even when you step on their toes really hard by accident with a high-heeled shoe.
They act differently. Chloe, who lives in the east village, told me of a time when a fellow who was a NAVY SEAL visited her. He walked up to her fifth floor apartment of a tenement building, and warned her: “Watch out, these guys are packed around here.” He was able to detect some of her neighbors coming down the stairs concealing weapons under their pants legs. While he was there, he heard a noise and with his broad arm, pushed Chloe down to the floor and crouched protectively over her:
Chloe, stuttering, “It-it’s the fax machine. I’m getting a fax.” She works from home.
Well, for some of us, there will always be that fascination:
And! though not Military, fellow ship portraitist Pamela just sent me this: SECRET FBI sale! Dec. 20, for the first time in its history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will open its New York store:
“The rare offer for G-men branded gear is good for four hours only. Intelligence locates the store somewhere between the 22nd and 29th floor of 26 Federal Plaza. Special clearance required.”
At 10h38, the CG reported on VHF16 two refrigerators floating at Edgewater. May it not get any worse than that.
Sandy Hook Pilot Boats 1 and 2 were on North River all day, starting at the vents, were pushed sideways downriver by the wind to Colgate Clock (day off for the Clock), and would go back north to the vents and start over, accompanied by PB America and PB Phantom. CG Sailfish was upriver, and Penobscot Bay was heard on VHF, but was going stealth.
The bottom of the low was at the top of the high:
To see conditions at the Battery, click here; Station ID: 8518750.
Pier 25: Pegasus is riding out the storm with her captain onboard. Fireboat John J. Harvey joined the party this afternoon. Buy tickets for Sunday, 4 november’s Federal Save America’s Treasures Grant celebration!
Lightship Tender Lilac is secured, and the amazing WWII photo exhibit of the U.S. Army Air Corps has been safely stowed away.
Lightship Nantucket left yesterday afternoon to ride the storm upriver.
Seeking safety midstream were passenger vessels Miss New York, Miss New Jersey, Lady Liberty, Circleline Queens.
For a mariner’s perspective on Sandy, click hawsepiper.
Leave note of how you are weathering the storm if you’d like! Bianka is fine, hope the cars in the lot next to her are tied down.
Signing off at 19h40: Tide is over the Battery seawall: a new record high. It’s washing over the seawall and onto the grass. Grateful to still have power; prepared for days without. Be safe everyone!
20h19 VHF 16: Fireboat Bravest responding to shipping containers afloat in Buttermilk Channel.
21h04 VHF 16: “Pan pan, pan pan, eight to ten people in the water at Gravesend Bay. Requesting all to be on the sharp lookout.”
21h09 VHF 16: HMS Liberty reported a yellow (diesel) fuel tank banging against the bulkhead of the water treatment facility by the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
2013 Ships of NYHarbor Tea Towel Calendar also available. Both designs have unhemmed, raw, pinked edges (zigzagged.)
Printed in North Carolina by Spoonflower. They started making decals, and I have many decals of some of my ship doodles printed on polyester and coated with a non-PVC plastic coating. Peel and stick up. The verdict: excellent quality! more on the decals to come!
Apologies to friends’ NYHarbor ships I have yet to draw! Lilac, J.J.Harvey (and all the beautiful old fireboats), DEP vessels, Swivel, Taurus…I’m getting to you, promise!
What is a tea towel? well, i’d be honored to see one of mine in an engine room. If you work on a vessel pictured, you get 25% off. Thank you!
Today is the last day of Harbor Ferry Service in New York Harbor.
The stewardship of the Governor Island boats was left to this small company eight years ago. They have cared for these vessels, bringing one, the Lt. Samuel Coursen back from the nearly dead.
Her sister ship, Minue, caught here by Tugster just below the west side of the Bayonne Bridge, shows you the fate that Coursen narrowly escaped.
Repairs, maintenance, upkeep: all that was possible, was done on Coursen and Swivel in-house on the island.
In Fall 2010, the New York Harbor School hoisted their school flag on Governors Island. The Coursen takes teachers, students, and visitors during the day; the Swivel ferries at night.
USCGC Swivel (WYTL-65603)
built: 1961, Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, FL
Sounds of the harbor! helicopters galore. Mary Whalen in the background. And it’s yellowjacks season!
As the Harbor School Captain told his class of high school juniors yesterday (above): “Tomorrow, as you ride home, as you get off the boat: thank them. They have been good to us, they have been generous to the school, they have always been accommodating to us, for whenever we needed them. You are boat handlers, now. You know what it is like to take care of a boat. So you know a little bit of how they feel. Please thank them tomorrow.”
Thank you, Capt. Greg and Benny. Good luck to you and Harbor Ferry Service.
Both vessels will continue to run ferry services under the new management of Hornblower Marine Service starting next week.
A captain was in the harbor at anchor when he heard the following over VHF 16:
Boater: “Radio check, radio check this is (name of boat).”
Boater: “This is (name of boat), we are here at Sandy Point. I mean, Sandy Hook…doing a radio check. Please respond.”
Boater, with annoyance: ”This is (name of boat), someone please respond to our radio check.”
Mystery Mariner, with just a touch of playfulness: “Ok, sure…FUCK YOU!”
Ah, New York Harbor…I do love this harbor.
oh my goodness. I really sat through this: F Troop.
A more scholarly link here…
Girlfriend with the Oil Tanker is having a fundraising sale today!
Thurs 8/23/12, 6-9pm
PortSide NewYork Pop-Up Gallery
145 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
The oil tanker Mary Whalen is currently inside the Red Hook Container Terminal, and looking for a home that is more accessible to the public. Her history is august, and her future, as for all historic vessels, depends on us. The proceeds of this sale will go to the ship and her PortSide programs, and to help buoy the work of the tireless shipowner and her indefatigable crew. And cat, Chiclet.
Sail on, Mary Whalen. Sale On!
“Ships of New York Harbor”
oil paintings of Frank Hanavan and illustrations of Christina Sun
open today! and on view until 31 August
Mondays and Thursday, 4 to 7 PM,
Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 6 PM.
Reception: Thursday, August 30, 6 to 10 PM.
Music by the Jug Addicts!
1 train to Franklin Street stop
A/C/E trains to Canal Street stop (exit at Walker Street)
LILAC is a 1933 lighthouse tender that carried supplies and maintained buoys for the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard.
More information about her here. We hope to see you there! Frank is there sundays, Christina will be there mondays.
True story (as all stories on this blog are):
Crew change: a captain and his crew had gotten off their boat after a two-week hitch and were taken by van to the nearest airport, in Wilmington, NC.
At check-in, the mate was stopped, taken off to the side and ordered to open his case. A big security mama stared and pointed into his case, “What is that?” she demanded.
Mate: “It’s a sextant.”
BigSecurityMama: “I don’t wanna know about your sex toys–WHAT IS THAT?”
THAT is the titilating sextant, a delight to perform with, and part of a ceremony utterly maddening to fathom.
It’s got two glass pieces: point one to the horizon, the mirror to some celestial body. Slide the arc to tilt the mirror to bring the star or planet down, or hold upside down to bring the horizon up so the two touch. Gently rock to and fro to be sure it’s true while chanting, “ready…ready…ready…MARK!” at which point an assistant makes note of the time while you read the angle off the sextant. Repeat, using different reference points unless your original celestial body was the Sun at noon sharp.
To do it the way it used to be done, take the angle of the celestial body to the horizon, go through a few mathematical calculations, and then with the numbers, you consult the Oracle, the Thick Book, or Nautical Almanac, with positions predicted thousands of years from now–with corrections–of the major celestial bodies’s paths charted mostly by the ancient Egyptians, who observed and recorded for eons, appended with over 20 years of work by Tycho Brahe, and mixed with laws of motion by Johannes Kepler.
It ain’t perfect: it is dependant upon your equipment, 22+ mathematical calculations, a moving boat, the time piece, visibility, weather, wind, currents, air temperature, time zones, atmospheric refraction, fatigue, etc etc. But if you know how to use the tools: a sextant, a timepiece and the Thick Book, you can find out where on this blue marble you are located.
Coastal merchant mariners are required by the Coast Guard to demonstrate the ability to take readings with noon sun, sunrises, sunsets, three star fixes, and running fixes (I think.) The US Naval Academy discontinued teaching it in 1998, feeling that celestial navigation did not give an accurate enough result to warrant the labor required in what was considered the most challenging course in its curriculum, preferring to rely upon computers.
Global Positioning System (owned and operated by the United States Government and stewarded by the Department of Defense), or equipment that reads and translates satellites’ signals, can go down; it’s happened.
I tried to learn it out of curiosity, for the GPS on the schooner was just that, the Grey Plastic Sextant.
Taking the readings from the Food Court terrace on Pier 17 was fun, but then I was deposited into the Abyss: the numbers took me into the Labyrinth, and I was left to wander through a mad world of numbers-sorcerery, azimuths hanging overhead, thedas lurking on the horizon, angles flopping, calculations thrashing and clashing, I was hopelessly lost…
Capt Don Chesley was my teacher, who, in college, was so enthusiastic about celestial nav that he would take readings from his dorm window using his frisbee, filled with water to reflect and reveal the horizon. He teaches it well, I have been lucky to hear him at the Seaport Museum and at Stevens Institute, and it is not a reflection on him that I do not get it.
“The scale of a sextant has a length of 1/6 turn (60°); hence the sextant’s name… An octant is a similar device with a shorter scale (⅛ turn, or 45°), whereas a quintant (1/5 turn, or 72°) and a quadrant (¼ turn, or 90°) have longer scales.” —wiki.
Lacking the ThickBookOracle, you can put your numbers taken off your sextant here.
–thank you, Capt Benjamin Dutton, J. and BigSecurityMama
sextant illustration is a simplified version from the amazing Lore of Ships by Tre Tryckare
Lightship Ambrose LV 87 / WAL 512
Built: 1907 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ
Length: 136ft. (41.5m)
Beam: 29ft. (8.8m)
Draft: 13ft. (3.9m)
Original Illumination Apparatus: three oil lens lanterns
This lightship was stationed in the Ambrose Channel since 1906, guiding vessel traffic through the main shipping channel just below the Verazzano Narrows bridge, into New York and New Jersey Harbor until 1967. She was given to South Street Seaport Museum by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1968. A light tower replaced it, was hit by ships a few times too many, and, now, the channel is marked by lighted buoys.
Now at the new! improved! South Street Seaport Museum under the fertile wing—nurturing wing?— of the City of the Museum of New York this lightship was painted in March, and is now being restored and is open for visiting at Pier 16.
The wings of the seaport museum are alive: a new exhibit is up, nautical pieces from another museum I love, the American Folk Art Museum.
And true to the harbor’s spirit, the active gem of the museum, Pioneer, is sailing. Go onboard to sail in the harbor or go and volunteer and learn how to handle lines and many other things that may always serve you well…!
“How we loved the captain! We would have done anything for him. He and the officers were Norwegian. We were a crew of 40, many of us boarded in Shanghai. We carried oil and went all around the world. I loved the ship, too. I made a model of the ship out of paper and the captain wanted it. He bought it for $20, purchased a glass case for it when we were in New York, and he displayed it in the officer’s mess.
“When my 2-yr contract ended, I boarded the Liberty Ship Benjamin H. Hill. We carried cargo. I was on board for only 8 months.
“Why are you asking all these questions? Why do you want to know this?”
Built: 1945 at The Kaiser Company, Swan Island Yard, Portland, OR
Length: 159 ft 6 in (48.6 m)
Beam: 20 ft 7 in (6.3m)
Liberty Ship Benjamin H. Hill
General Cargo Vessel Type EC2-S-C1 (E = emergency, C = cargo, 2 = waterline length between 400 – 500ft, S = steam power, C1 = this design)
Built: 1943 at J.A. Jones Construction Company, Brunwsick, GA
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.6 m)
Beam: 57 ft (17.4 m)
Depth: 37 ft 4 in (11.4 m)
Speed: 11 kts
For more information on Liberty Ships: see
Ships for Victory,
Project Liberty Ship - cruise on the restored John W. Brown!
They also maintain the incredible resource, Armed-Guard.com with all their photos
Click on this link to see a wonderfully illustrated 1943 brochure on the capacity of a Liberty Ship.
Amazing site if you are into tankers: Auke Visser’s Historical Tankers Site
Happy Fathers Day!