Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

buoys move & sh!t happens

Posted in arts of the sailor, buoys, learn from them, pump out, USCG, USCG buoy tender by bowsprite on 2010/09/13

A Patchogue captain returning from Boston squeezed through Shinnecock Inlet, and was making good speed when he suddenly ran hard aground in Moriches Bay.

“I don’t understand! I’m in the channel!” said he, as he pulled out his paper charts and peered at his GPS. And—as real life is stranger than fiction—while he was there, a Coast Guard boat came from behind him, picked up the channel buoy, and dropped it about fifty yards east of where he’d grounded, and disappeared.

“Ah, ” he said as he slowly listed 45° to one side, “NOW I’m out of the channel.”

A Port Jefferson greenhorn was a glutton for punishment: electrocution from lightning, several dismastings, near sinkings and allisions were not enough to dissuade the new sailor from the sport. On one early voyage, he managed to bring his wearied self and his disheveled vessel to a dock where he found himself tied next to a fancy boat:  “There was a couple sitting on white cushions, they had white-carpeted boarding steps and a white french poodle.”  Our sailor wrestled to pump out his holding tank. “It exploded. It went all over everything. It went everywhere.”

Many, many thanks, Capt. Tim of the Flaming Scorpion Bowls!
and thank you, N!

a docking in cherbourg

This story is told by Sandy Eames, a tallships sailor, so it must be true:

A schooner came into Cherbourg, France to dock. As it approached the wall, its bowsprit impaled a 2CV. The skipper put her into reverse, but it as the waters would have it, the bow lifted up as it backed out, and the boat took the little car out with it. And as luck would have it, the cafe overlooking the dock was full of diners who could testify that Sandy’s tale is true.

Si vous etiez present lors de cet evenement, merci de nous envoyez votre temoignage pour confirmer sa veracite!

I love the rich colors of Technicolor and Kodachrome! The 1964 film, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, however, was shot on the unstable Eastman negative stock. The director, Jacques Demy, knowing that the negative would fade quickly, had three color bands shot on black and white negative, and thirty years later, created a new color print that is lavish and rich.  The entire film’s dialog is sung! it takes a bit of getting used to, all composed by the incredibly prolific Michel Legrand, who also helped to digitally remaster the score for the new version. The experience is something else: elegant dresses matching the wallpaper, beautiful old painted numbers on the bows of fishingboats, sailors in their uniforms, umbrellas, cobblestones, a sweeping, teary score… Probably not shown on a tug flatscreen soon, but here is it, because it is beautiful!

Ah! restoration. It ain’t just for ships.

And, in a “of all the gas joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine” moment…

(click on the youtube link, then on “cc” to view subtitles)

USCG rescue in Ambrose Channel

This is the hydrosurvey vessel, the Michele Jeanne.michjeanne2

Bill is the skipper. “When I had just bought the boat (about five years ago), I showed it to W who said, ‘Get rid of the docking lights.'”
“Do you ever use them?”
“Never.”

27 december 2008, Bill was surveying the Ambrose Channel. In mid-October, the channel was extended 2.5 nautical miles out seaward, and the buoys were changed. For weeks, over the radio, captains were referring to “the old 22″ or “passing the old 24, new 28.” Question marks were thick over the air waves: “… east bound, passing…uh..33?” Our pivotal buoy, green 31 is now 35, which is by the Statue of Liberty. Jokingly, I suggested Bill to fix it while he was there, and at 1035, he txt’d “OK, I’ll move them all when I’m done.”

However, over an hour later, at 1146, he wrote, “Emergency, USCG came…It’s an amazing feeling to watch your bow going down. didn’t like it.”

The ring around the port docking light broke after a ship threw a large swell, and he began to take on water in a hole the size of a softball. When it was clear the boat was going down, he made an emergency call, and the USCG arrived in 18 minutes and pumped him out. He was incredibly grateful.

docklightringHere is the ring that cracked, letting the bulb pop in. Through the large hole, water would pour in with every swell. docklite

Still life with docking light hole and Bill’s shoe:stilllife

Bill holds the plug the rescuers used to keep the water out:

img_4168

The boat has been fixed:fixedThank you, speedy Sandy Hook USCG!

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