- a ring or hoop of wood or metal.
- not exclusively nautical, but rare is the ship without this; sounds like:
“I dont %&$&# LIKE sailing! Why don’t I go to the crafts festival and just take the train and meet you at the next %&$&# port?”
or “The hosting yacht club is serving ¿%&$&#what???”
or “%&$&#! %&$&#! horse cock for dinner again??”
- wooden (usually) platform buffers between a ship and a pier; way deeper and heavier to move than you think. On this camel by Passenger Ship Terminal pier 90, rope was shredded into a soft nest, eggs were laid, and the parents-to-be waited while warships of Fleet Week 2009 tied up a few feet away.
- a heavy beam projecting from each bow of a ship for the purpose of holding anchors.
-an anchor is said to be cockbilled or a-cockbill when hung vertically by its ring stopper from a cathead ready for use, or, temporarily, during the recovery process.
- not well known, but according to Hervey Garrett Smith, author and illustrator of the wonderful book, The Arts of the Sailor (1953), the constrictor knot is superior to most comment seizings or stoppings: “…quicker, neater, and can be drawn up more tightly. The harder you pull the two ends the tighter it grips, and it will not slacken when you let go…It can be set up so tightly that is is almost impossible to untie, and makes an excellent whipping. (The slipped version is easy to untie.) …Its superior construction and usefulness leads me to believe that it ultimately will achieve the popularity it rightly deserves.”
- also known in days of old as a lanyard hitch, the cow hitch is today more associated with any knot which is not a recognized maritime knot as used at sea; a lubberly hitch. Folks must be forgetting to use those lanyards.
- sideways maneuvering into a cross current or wind to compensate for drift.
To “catch a crab” is to make a faulty stroke in rowing that causes the blade of the oar to strike the water on the recovery stroke.
- pilings lashed together with heavy cable upon which vessels land to moor. Usually, one piling is called a dolphin, a group of more than one pile is called a cluster, as in “put out a line over the second cluster off the bow.” When neglected, provides fine nesting for birds of the harbor.
- a steam-powered winch to hoist sails and anchors on old schooners; an auxiliary engine on a sailing craft (which does propel the vessel) is still sometimes informally known as the donk.
elephant table – (help! cannot find this one!)
- a large hook used to assist in maneuvering the anchor from under the cat-head, and brought to the side or gunwale, or to launch and recover boats.
- a triangular steel plate used as a central connecting point for the tows, bridles, and towline.
- the wedge-shaped part of an anchor’s arms that digs into the bottom. Sometimes painted yellow to lure full frontal admirers.
- made by twisting together two or more rope-yarns. A Spanish fox is made by untwisting a single yarn and laying it up the contrary way. (But, why? ¿por qué?)
- the state of a vessel when, by any strain, she is made to droop at each bow and stern, bringing her center up. Opposite of sagging.
- “phoney baloney”. Mmmmm.
marlinspike, a marlinspike hitch
- a tool for opening the strands of a rope while splicing.
- a weighted knot wrapped around lead or a ball, found at the end of a heaving line. Illegal in NYHarbor. ME variety is especially lethal: you really won’t know what hit you.
- a seizing to prevent hooks from unshipping. Sling hitch on the hook’s back, go around the bill, make turns, wrap with frapping turns, then a set of riding turns, finish with a square or reef knot. Notice how Hervey Garrett Smith draws the same hook three times; that is love.
- a hook-like device for holding the link of a chain or similar, and consisting of a long shackle with a hinged rod which is held closed by a ring.
- a screw hook having an eye in the form of a spiral for holding a loop, chain link, etc., at any angle. I am not fooled: this was designed to snag my sweaters.
- rope running across the shrouds horizontally like the rounds of a ladder and used to step upon in going aloft.
- curved cut in edge of sail for preventing chafing
- slips through a hole in the bow ramp of the LCU or LCM to hold the landing craft in position while vehicles embark/debark.
- a valve to open a pipe to allow suction of sea water into your vessel either to supply fire pumps or for cooling if your engine is cooled with raw water. Also used generically.
- a kind of hitch or bend, used to shorten a rope temporarily.
- snaking protects against chafing of turns on whippings at the end of ropes.
- fenders that were once upon a time real whale bodies, but today, are BIG black, heavy industrial strength rubber bumpers. One captain’s fender story is here.
- oops. another wildcat coming up…
- rigging of old ships were wormed, parcelled and served and lasted as long as the ships, or longer. Worming is the laying in of small-stuff between the strands of rope to fill in spaces to prevent moisture and rot. Parcelling is spirally wrapping rope with narrow strips of old canvas soaked with rigging tar, overlapping to repel moisture. Serving covers the rope by tightly winding marline or hemp against the lay. Heavily tar, and maintain regularly.
Worm and parcel with lay
Turn and serve the other way
- a “sacrificial anode.” Metals (e.g. your propeller) in salt water, experience a flow of electrical current. The slow removal of metal is called “electrolysis”. Zinc is used as it has a higher voltage in the water so the current will tend to flow from it than from your props.
beasts of weather and water conditions:
dog days, ox-eye, mackerel scales, mares’ tails, white horses…
other waterborne beasts:
Look here for a beautiful post of hardworking animals here on the USCGC Escanaba!
Thank you, again for everyone’s help! drawings will be added, and please report any missing strays. Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Gratitude and homage to those working today, and a peek at the beasts of burden that aid them on the water:
This post is being updated with all your suggestions–Thank you! I’m stumped by some of them (Jed!!), and cannot find a few of the ones mentioned. The new post is “a nautical bestiary“.
Voilà, the gem of Liberty State Park!
The Central New Jersey Rail Road terminal (1889), also known as Communipaw Terminal is one of the most beautiful buildings of New York Harbor. Twenty tracks and four ferry slips provided the terminal with streams of cargo, supplies, passengers, workers. The palatial waiting room has a gabled ceiling three stories high and the most grand view of Upper Bay and the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines; it now houses Liberty State Park’s Visitor Center. Statue of Liberty ferries leave from the slips.
However, the treasure lies behind this elegantly proportioned and well-maintained edifice:
the old tracks are overrun by a jungle of native flora, Nature come to reclaim her domain. Twenty tracks of young trees, tall grasses and weeds flourish, the dark old steel structures are lost amid the riotous green, the sidewalk cracks are colored in by little grasses and sprouts. A beautiful light filters evenly through the open trestles. It is dramatic in full sun, and magical on grey days:
(if it weren’t foggy, you’d have seen lower manhattan when the camera turned west at 0:25, looking out the building)
Nature’s indefatigable force is inspiring. Nothing we make–with all our might!–is going to last. No better proof exists than in the photographs of shipbreaking captured by Edward Burtynsky and Andrew Bell. Or, in the quieter photographs our own Tugster, closer to home, in the Kill van Kull.
What will last? Nature. Of which we can still claim to be a part, despite all our efforts.
“Nature is not a place to visit, it is home…” Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild
If you take this little water taxi from Manhattan’s World Financial ferry terminal across the river, it will first stop at Warren street, Jersey City, where you can explore Paulus Hook.
Next stop: south across the Morris Canal Basin to Liberty State Park.
This old Morris & Essex Canal once ran once ran all the way to the Delaware River. Barges carrying mainly coal from Pennsylvania and finished goods from NYC shuttled back and forth. Today, two marinas are here, home to luminaries like the historic–and working!–Tug Pegasus and the hearty denizen of the cold, battering North Sea: Cape Race. (And, a peek here of some of their neighbors.)
Liberty State Park is 1,122 acres of open space with sea breezes, parks, salt marshes, wildflowers, two little beaches lined by rocks and flora, and the expansive Hudson Liberty Walk. I save the gem of this park for another post, but for today:
if you walk along the red brick boardwalk that suspends over and transverses the sea into which fishermen cast off,
and walk behind Ellis Island’s hospital and old buildings
(that walkway over to the island is guarded and not open to pedestrian traffic),
and if you meander through the wildflower fields where you almost can pretend you are in a far away meadow
—until the helicopters and party boats’ booming music remind you of where you really are,
and then go behind the Statue of Liberty with the ferries pulling in and out,
and then turn your back to Lady Liberty, you will see a little beach.
And if you go onto that beach and follow the wrack line, you will see the shells of:
ribbed mussels, clams, oysters and bright orange little crabs.
Signs of life returning to NYHarbor! signs beyond the wood piling eating worms (that are so hardy they begin to bore into concrete!) Signs that the clams and oysters are coming back! How would one have known? there is hardly any access to the water in our harbor!
But there are bigger signs: a 6′ carcass of a sturgeon!
Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus)
Recent studies indicate that a population of approximately 150,000 juvenile Atlantic sturgeon may reside in the Hudson River at any one time. This species is not currently fished very heavily; in the past it was harvested in large numbers and often called “Albany beef”.
Atlantic sturgeon can reach lengths in excess of 10 feet and weigh several hundred pounds.
Sturgeons are primitive fishes with rows of bony, armorlike plates on their sides and a skeleton of cartilage rather than bones. Barbels hang under the sturgeon’s long, flattened snout in front of the mouth. Sturgeon are bottom feeders, their sensory barbels being used to detect food and their protruded, tubelike mouth, to suck in bottom-dwelling plants and animals uncovered as they move along the mud.
Sturgeon flesh is of good quality, and the roe (eggs) of Atlantic sturgeon is the well-known delicacy caviar.
The Atlantic sturgeon is anadromous, ascending large rivers and estuaries to spawn. New York’s Atlantic sturgeon population is restricted primarily to the Hudson River.
What else lies in the waters that surround us? Both the schooner Pioneer and the sloop Clearwater have trawling sails, where nets are launched and harbor life is brought up to be observed and released.
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy sponsors the occasional Go Fish event down near Pier A where you can bring the inhabitants of the deep up yourself, have it recorded, put it in a tank, and then set free.
Of the clams, oysters and mussels, asked Tugster: “Is it edible?” Hmmm. Maybe soon. Maybe, one day, the waters will be so clean that we can wade into our waters with children, pick up a shellfish or two, and have no adverse reactions to popping them down the gullet. I shall keep the vision and hope we move in that direction. In the meantime, move upwind of that sturgeon!