Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

nautical tattoos

Posted in arts of the sailor, tattoos by bowsprite on 2011/12/14

Written and researched by Owen Burke, Brian Lam of The Scuttlefish:

Hold written on one set of knuckles and Fast written on the other was meant to give a sailor good grip in the rigging.

A Rope tattooed around the wrist meant that a seaman is a deckhand.


A tattoo of an Anchor told that a sailor had crossed the Atlantic, or was part of the Merchant Marines.


Crossed Anchors 
on the webbing between the thumb and index fingers marked a bos’n’s (or boatswain’s) mate.


Nautical Star or Compass Rose was given so that a sailor could always find her way home.


A Harpoon marked a member of the fishing fleet.

A Full-Rigged Ship displayed that a sailor has been around Cape Horn.

A Dragon signified that a sailor has served in China.  A Golden Dragon was given when a sailor crossed the International Date Line.

A Shellback Turtle or King Neptune was earned when a sailor made it across the Equator.


Guns
or Crossed Cannons signified military naval service.

A Sparrow or a Swallow tattoo would go to a sailor for every 5,000 nautical miles they traveled–a swallow because it can always find its way home.
Royal Navy sailors during WWII who took part in Mediterranean cruises were tattooed with a Palm Tree, as were U.S. sailors who spent time in Hawaii.
A Dagger Through A Rose meant a sailor was loyal, and willing to fight anything, even something as sweet as a rose.
During WWII, a tattoo of a Pig and a Rooster was worn to prevent a sailor from drowning. When pigs and roosters were boarded on boats they were put in crates that floated and subsequently, often ended up the only survivors of wrecks. Crosses on the Soles of one’s feet warded off hungry sharks.
Thanks, Brian and Owen of Scuttlefish!

think before you tattoo

Posted in art, arts of the sailor, hudson river, tattoos by bowsprite on 2011/04/26

Elizabeth, of Green My Bodega, loves the Hudson River: “I thought of getting a tattoo of the Hudson River that ran along the length of my leg. But then I realized it would look like a giant varicose vein.”

Join her and many others at the Festival of Ideas for the New City,  May 4 – 8, at happenings around the city. Green My Bodega and Foodshed Market‘s Mapping Present and Imagined Food Systems will be at the StreetFest on Saturday, May 7th from 11:00am – 7:00pm.  It is “A presentation of posters, maps, and illustrations visualizing aspects of our present and imagining the potential regional food system.” Here are two designs that were submitted:

Working Harbor Committee Tug Race

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/09/03

Tugster, Control Geek, (and others to come) all have great photos of the Tug Race.

My favorite thing about this event is that mariners and we mere mortals get to meet and mingle. It is a mix that is too brief. And, always, I think about the relief crew, in their berths, trying to sleep through all the mayhem so that they are alert for the nightshift. They are the ones who have to miss the race, the waterworks displays, the fluttering flags, the spinach eating contest, the line toss, the tattoo contest, the donkey with the PDF and glittery hooves…

When Debora Miller sashayed by with the donkey, Rene of Fireboat J.J. Harvey said, “Well, the dog and the crab just lost.” Indeed, Buddy won.

Before the race, tugs came to practice for the line toss contest:

cathline

cathline2

deckertossMike Abegg practicing before the race. Capt: Aaron Singh

deboramiller

safetyFinish

This building with the flag marks the “Finish Line.”

finishing2

Control Geek mentioned the power of the tugs. The wake they all threw at the finish line was breathtaking.

rescue

seagusDecker

pushing contest

huntingtonredhook2

resolute

segusaft

Circle Line tug. Need a tug? go see Gus (Gus Markou, owner) Name of tug? SeaGus.
According to John McClusky, thank you!

tats2

tats1

I just missed the tattoo contest.

dredgespoil

This is why Intrepid ‘grounded’ that November 6, 2006: the west slips of the piers along the lower Hudson silt in at a rate of 10-12″ a year.

Watch how the pro’s do it: results of the line toss contest to come.

We all have a lot of photos, I have profiles of tugs at check-in, before the race. Give a shout if you would like a photo of your tug.

And, that night, listening to vhf13, I heard Red Hook, back at work, moving and pushing as if she had never stopped to take a break and show us what she’s got.

tea towel calendars

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/10/23

Nautical Tattoo Tea Towel Calendars: for the meanings of the symbols, look here at the post written by Owen Burke, Brian Lam of The Scuttlefish.

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, TaurusI’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!

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