Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

creatures of the deep

Creatures of the Deep: this one sank in the Cape Cod Canal, was raised in 4 days and went back to work, busy in NYHarbor.

This one sank in the Wicomico River, was raised after 3 years, came to NYC under her own power (at 4kts), and works hard as a restaurant/bar on pier 66.

And this one sinks and rises for a living, and did so in Lower Bay and left, carrying some of our tugs off, away to the East. Type in Blue Marlin or “Ground Hog Day” to see Tugster’s reportage of her ups and downs.

And this one laid in harbor mud, was salvaged, and now is the Waterfront Museum, the host of the Creatures of the Deep art show. Curated by Karen Gersch, the show is currently on view until August 22. The Artists’ Reception will be on July 22 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Thank you, Tugster for sinking in the sinking/raising idea which gave rise to this post!


Happy July to all! see you in August!

cultural exchanges in NYHarbor

Mariners from around the world, both licensed and not, float into NYHarbor.  A look here at the merchant marine capacity is to see a complete array of pretty little flags. The people who serve as crew come from as many nations.

This story comes from a seasoned tug captain:

When finished bunkering and pulling away from a visiting ship, the tug captain maneuvers to position the barge to catch its lines as the ship deckhands cast them off. The trick is to slide quickly beneath the lines, and to take up the slack, so that the lines land on the barge and not go in the water.

“But if they want them to go in the water, there’s really nothing we can do to stop them,” and so, sometimes, the lines are flung off into the drink, leaving the crestfallen tankerman below to retrieve the heavy, wet, freezing lines.

“Yes, it happens. The deckhands lean over the rail and gloat. And, a handful of times, from hongkong nationals, I’ve heard the accompanying: “Hahaha! You go now, Round-eye!'”

“What?! That is absurd!!! no self-respecting asian would say ’round-eye!’ Round-eye is a “round-eye’s” term!”

“Well, I’m at eye-level, and I tell you, I see them. They take the line off the bitt and let it slide through the chock, and there’s no way you can take up all the slack in time. When the line goes into the water, their heads pop out over, they look at each other and laugh. And they say, “You go now, Round-eye!”

According to this excellent source of street lingo in beijing, the more probable insult of choice at the friendly work level would be da bi zi, “big nose” (though i’ve heard this used as a term of affection when an old chinese father called his american son-in-law that.) “Round eye” would not work because big eyes are very popular in china, and women undergo the knife to widen the eyes. I suppose it could be insulting for a deckhand to accuse you of having plastic surgery.

Blissfully disregarding the fact that they are the foreigners and not allowed off their ships, chinese mariners may still refer to the NYHarborer as an “old foreigner”:  lao wai.

As for cultural exchange, a fascinating glimpse into the plight of the stranded, visiting mariner is depicted well in this Village Voice article. And over in our own Howland Hook, a personal shopper for the shipbound

Regardless of your nationality: If you are throwing lines in the water, shame on you! what would your parents say?

Another view on Hawsepiper. Thank you!

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Happy 4708, year of the metal tiger, from this water tiger! and,

Happy Valentine’s Day! happy Mardi Gras!!!

Thank you, Caro, for the inventory of insults, most of which I could not use on this family blog.

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)

boat time

Posted in dredges, safety, tugs, USCG, watercolor, drawing, boat, sketch, waterfront by bowsprite on 2009/12/15

This ship has a 12h watch system: 0600 to 1800, 1800 to 0600. The crew of 35 are on 6 weeks, off 6.
A front watch gets the sun. A back watch gets no sun–and no Captain down their backs.

This one is using a 7-5, 5-7 watch (0600-1300-1800-2300-0600), deviating slightly from the industry standard of 6/6.

This offshore tug has the luxury of a 3-watch system (the benefit of any voyage more than 600 nm): 4 on-8 off, 8 on-4 off.  Their breakdown is 0600-1000-1400-1800. “We do it this way so whoever cooks does not end up with the pots.”

You were on watch to see the sun rising, the smell of breakfast is cooking, the engine is loud, someone is hammering: it is time to go to bed.

I am not going to touch the fatigue issue on boats. However, I will direct you to some fascinating sites. The Nautical Institute urges mariners to report issues relating to fatigue as part of their database.

Peruse the USCG’s Crew Endurance Management literature. Reactions to it are on Towmasters and by NYTugmasters, with links to studies on the matter. Good reading on the experiences are found on Kennebec Captain and on Old Salt Shaker’s ‘rest in pieces’, ‘inhuman error’, and ‘groundhog day’.

A reference on these manning issues are here. Quite interesting is this 1984 case of seamen vs USCG. If you need help falling asleep, all the codes are collected here.

So, don’t request a tug to blow their horn as they go by: there is always someone trying to sleep. They fight constant noise, vibration, light, motion, odors; are interrupted by drills — I just cannot imagine it. As one chief mate puts it: “…bear in mind that we work aboard vessels that are essentially designed to collide with things…”

One offshore tug chief mate said, “I don’t know how harbor guys do it. I had to do it for 2 weeks, and at the end, I couldn’t remember my name.”

Another mate wrote: “It was a 2-watch system (captain, mate, two deckhands and an engineer) until the economy fell apart –  and then most ship assist tugs went to “singled-up” crews (captain, engineer, and deckhand) – don’t ask how they complied with work and fatigue…!”

Knowing all this, though, it still might help to take the advice of one well-meaning journalist girlfriend should you attempt to date someone who goes to sea/incommunicado for weeks at a time:

thank you Julie, Will, Jed, Robert, Wesley and O, Linked Ones!

aboard the Sturgeon Bay for the welcoming parade

SturgeonBay

On VHF 13: “Look at at that moon!” At 0604h in Bayonne, the moon was a half hidden, huge, beautiful orange glowing ball. Onboard the Sturgeon Bay, we sailed past Penobscot Bay and Katherine Walker, and south towards the Narrows to greet the PCU (pre-commissioning unit) New York. See Tugster for amazing photos and writings from the day; be sure to read the very good comments that Jed sends! & look at ShipShooter‘s breathtaking aerial photos!

USS New York, LPD-21 will be commissioned tomorrow, Saturday November 7th at pier 88.

552

The harbor never really sleeps. I love the amber glow of the deck lights of the tugs.

amberlightsAt Global Marine Terminal (above), Cap Breton & OOCL Malaysia were being pushed into place. Below: Pearl Ace.

pearlace

As we neared the Verrazano Narrows bridge, we sailed in the midst of another working day on the harbor: a cruise ship, ferries, more tugs & barges, a CircleLine all moved along, doing their business. The battleship was in view, far away. Once we were in Lower Bay, the spray came flying in through here:

anchorlocker

anchor

At 0621h, Zachary Reinauer calls out and asks the Sturgeon Bay to switch to its working channel where it asks what its position in the parade is to be.

“Do you have the list of vessels and their orders?”

“We woke up to orders to be in the parade, so here we are. We do not know the order.” They fell in behind us. Pilot No. 1–the OTHER vessel named New York!–seemed to lead, followed closely by the pilot book Sandy Hook.

pilot1.

This is how I love the harbor: a big fuzzy flotilla of parading vessels, working vessels, fireboats spraying red, white and blue jets of water. Pleasure boats would get too close and get chased away by the swooping Defender class boats. A PT boat, a schooner, a sloop, even a duck boat made little appearances in the parade. Only missing the tallships.

pt728

sturgeonpathchart

Southbound barges seemed to collect as we neared the George Washington bridge. A couple of tugs and barges were anchored in the anchorage channel, but seemed to be VERY much too close. We were a fat parade, especially when the ships turned and we doubled in girth.

Rosemary McAllister and Ellen McAllister were there to assist when the PCU New York made her turns and docked at pier 88.

peeps

salute

0929h Sturgeon Bay to another CG vessel: “…pier sweep has been conducted…switching duties now, you may RTB (return to base) now.” We docked behind the Intrepid, and lunched and watched the boom go out as Houma delivered fuel.

galleyMeatball subs were served, and in the galley was a zipper sign that flashed: “Welcome to the Sturgeon Bay… I LUV BAYONNE”…Have a great Coast Guard day.”

As we returned to Bayonne and watched the skyline pass, a woman next to me said, “I used to work in the Chrysler building.” Her husband, a member of the Central Jersey Council of the Navy League, had fought in the Korean War. “He was on the LST 495. The men would joke it stood for ‘Long Slow Target.'”

The history of the LST is interesting, and here is a memorial museum to one of them.  Below, a schematic drawing from this tribute site:

schematic

This design became the roll-on, roll-offs in use today. How do they hold up? see the discussions on Kennebec Captain, see the pretty pictures on UglyShips part one & part two, and on Tugster (when I ask him where he’s hidden them).

LtRae

Many thanks, Lt. Rae and to your hospitable crew of the Sturgeon Bay! Thanks, Pamela, Lee & Will! hi, Jessica & Bob!ussNY21

2009 World Maritime Day Parallel Event

The IMO (International Maritime Organization)’s 2009 World Maritime Day Parallel Event was held last weekend on Chelsea Piers:

chart

thomasjeffrsonNOAA Hydrographic Research Vessel
208′ Ship Thomas Jefferson
(
formerly one of three U.S. Navy survey ships, all named the USS Littlehales.)

rankinCoast Guard Buoy Tender
175-foot Keeper class Coastal Buoy Tender James Rankin (WLB 555)

bainbridgeCoast Guard Patrol Boat
110′ Island Class Patrol Boat Bainbridge Island (WPB 1343)

tempTug Boat
K-Sea Transportation Davis Sea

rb-mCoast Guard Medium Response Boat
45′ Response Boat-Medium (RB-M 45614)

Passenger Vessel: Statue Cruises ferry, Miss Gateway (sorry, not shown. She left before I could thaw out to draw her. Also, the advertised Staten Island ferry did not seem to be in attendance, but they are not far from this pier and our hearts.)

(not done yet! more to come on this event and the ships…)

junk in the harbor

12:53pm, this just in over VHF ch13:desk

Tug: “To the southbound Army Corps Of Engineers vessel.”

ACOE vessel responded (rather sure it was the Gelberman.)

Tug: “About a mile south of you, by Ellis Island, there’s a desk.”

ACOE: “A desk?

Tug: “Yes, a desk…and some telephone poles.”

ACOE: “OK, thank you.”

warshakers and peacemaker

(post in progress! colors and names of ships to come!)

352704707921921b

803Does the bow of Tromp look like a smiling shark?

I am not making it up:

IMG_2490

kvk picnic

Rendezvous with Tugster on a cloudy day to shipspot on the KVK.
Tugster: “Can you read what the name of that tanker is?”
I could, but I liked his version better.

icebabeIce Base (2008)

Type: oil tanker, double hull
Flag: Cyprus
Built by: STX Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, Pusan, South Korea
Length:      228 m / 748 ft
Breadth:    32.2 m / 105.6 ft
Depth:       19.1 m / 62.7 ft

orangewave

Orange Wave (1993)

Type: juice tanker
Flag: Monrovia
Built by: Sterkoder Shipbuilding A/S – Kristiansund, Norway
Length:    157 m / 515 ft
Breadth:  26 m / 85.3 ft
Depth:     6.6 m / 21.7 ft
DWT: 16.700 tons

Need a ship identified? call Tugster. Need a photo of a ship? Need information on a ship? call him! Among what he can dig up:

Orange Sun, Orange Blossom, Orange Star, Orange sterns, Orange othersOrange you glad we have Tugster?

OSV Bold

before the makeover – United States Naval Ship Vigorous (1989), a Tactical Auxiliary General Ocean Survey class vessel:

vigorous

after the makeover, now – Ocean Survey Vessel Bold of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) (since 2004):

bold

OSV Bold

Built: 1989 at Tacoma Boat Building Company,  Washington
Overall Length: 224 feet
Width: 43 feet
Draft: 15 feet
Displacement: 2300 tons
Speed, Sustained: 11 knots
Ship Operating Crew: 19
Scientists: 20

The OSV Bold monitors and assesses the health of ocean and coastal waters, and the standards to which they aspire others to have, they hold for themselves.

They follow safe discharge practices (of blackwater, greywater, oils & greases, lab chemicals, and ballast water), emit low sulfur dioxide, and are compliant with the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention of the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships by using a hull coating that does not contain organotin pesticides and has a low copper leach rate.

grabber

Bottomgrab, otter trawl (not for otters, but fish), a rocking chair dredge are deployed from the A-frame to collect samples which are studied in the wet and dry labs onboard.

towfishThe side scan sonar, towed behind the vessel, produces digital acoustic images of the ocean floor and can echo back a signal up to a depth of 300′. CTDA water profiler, the CTD device, measures physical water characteristics throughout a column of water in real-time. A camera behind a glass (not shown), captures images of the sediment profile layer, cutting through ocean floor and peeking at denizens’ burrows, grain size, et cetera.

The Bold was docked briefly this week for tours at Pier 17. For more information and schedule at other ports, look at their website and their official blog. And see it Tugsterized.

fun with vocabulary

mullion

“The panes were finally removed. Alas, we had not calculated for the mullion, and the surprise was further delayed.”

bollardpull hpHildegard had more horsepower, but Gigi topped the tons in bollard pull, and the two were in a catty fight to spin the tanker either clockwise or counterclockwise.”

caternary

“She failed inspection miserably, even being faulted for sloppy catenary.”   Need your catenary calculated? book an appointment with the DoryMan.

disclaimer: usage might be wrong, corrections gratefully accepted.

Lightning Onboard

Posted in tugs, Uncategorized, watercolor, drawing, boat, sketch, waterfront by bowsprite on 2009/06/11

More thunderstorms to come this week! One tug captain, Joel Milton, recounts an event that occurred one summer afternoon:

“I had just gone below when a tremendous clap of thunder shook the tug and the clean smell of ozone filled the air. It turns out that we became part of the circuit for some of that dangerous, cloud-to-ground lightning. The lightning bolt struck the tallest point on the upper pilothouse — a six-foot radio antenna — leaving only a few inches of charred fiberglass sticking up. The radio attached to the antenna was fried, as was our navigation light panel, but that was it. All in all, we got off pretty easy. But I wondered what could have happened had I been up there when the lightning hit.

Our upper house is made of aluminum and the tug itself, including the mast, is steel. We were in saltwater. The boat did a great job of conducting the bolt into the bay with minimal damage, especially considering that lightning is generally not taken into consideration when vessels are designed. This may sound strange, but it’s true. In any case, I was just plain lucky that I was not in the upper pilothouse.”
Potomac2
Below, a summary of what he had written in WorkBoat magazine:

• Give the lightning a place to go rather than through you. “A mariner has more of a chance of being hit by a side flash from the main bolt. The body is an excellent conductor. If your body provides a lightning bolt with a better path to the ground than a part of the vessel does, then it will likely take it. So the better your vessel can conduct the charge, the safer you are.”

• “All-metal vessels conduct electricity quite well. This makes them less susceptible to damage from lightning and inherently safer for crews. Fiberglass and wooden vessels, however, are very poor conductors. Consequently, the likelihood of damage to the vessel and injury to the crew is much greater. “

• “Salt water conducts electricity very well, while fresh water is a relatively poor conductor. Vessels in fresh water are much more likely to be damaged during a lightning strike.”

• “Everyone onboard should stay inside. Keep all doors, windows and portholes closed, and stay away from them. Avoid contact with any metal objects if possible, particularly with your hands. Do not hold metal steering wheels, jog levers, throttle controls, searchlight handles, etc., which gives the electricity a direct path through the heart and increases the odds of being killed. Donning a radio headset or holding a radio mike or cell phone is also very risky. And hold off on showers or washing the dishes.”

• “Turn off any electronic devices that are not immediately necessary for safe navigation or communications. Disconnecting radios and GPS receivers from their antennae and/or lowering the antennae may save them from damage, although this is seldom practical. You must also weigh the benefit against the risk to personnel by unnecessarily exposing them to a lightning strike. “

• “Keep in mind, that lightning can easily strike in the same place again.”

“For those who wish to learn more, two excellent sources of information can be found at lightningsafety.com and marinelightning.com.”

Many thanks, Capt. Milton, for permission to use this article which is taken from Workboat Magazine, 2005.

Thunder up the Hudson

0300h – Lightning and thunder roared right by my ear, deafening claps of powerful electric eruption that then boomed with full might up North River, echoing, unstoppable, seemingly without end.

Times like this make me think of those days, of people high up in the rigging, perched precariously on wet footropes,  furling in heavy wet canvas on a pitching ship with other shipmates roused from sleep to climb the masts in driving rain. That would not happen today.

But today, mariners are still out there, in heavy storms like this.

It was the middle of the night, and channel 13 (bridge to bridge) was silent, but 14 (USCG Vessel Traffic Service) was steadily broadcasting, the voice of the controller reciting as on any other day the names of ships and where they were heading.

stormseabound

At 0355h, to the guiding voice of Vessel Traffic, one Liverpool Express navigated its way through the harbor under the crackling night sky, past several ships, tugs and a dredge, and headed out to sea.

Liverpool Express
Ship Type: Cargo
Year Built: 2002
Length x Breadth: 281 m X 32 m
DeadWeight: 54155 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 17.3 / 12.4 knots
Flag: Germany [DE]
Draught: 11.6 m
Destination: NORFOLK

Thank you, Tugster! need a photo of a ship? call him. He will find it for you.

Fleet Week at Passenger Ship Terminal

To find the street that corresponds with a pier along the west side of Manhattan, subtract 40.  So:
pier 66 is on 26th street,
pier 89 is on 49th street,
pier 90 is on 50th street.
pier 40 is on Houston Street, or ‘zero street’.

Pier 89 and 90, Passenger Ship Terminal, is where the Iwo Jima and the USS Roosevelt were docked for Fleet Week.

iwojimastern

unfinished drawing of the Iwo Jima

What a crowd to see the Iwo Jima! How patiently people–children!–stood on interminably long lines to wait to enter the ship.

I set up in a quiet spot at the end of the pier 89, just past the throng, the booths with advertising, brochures, and paraphernalia, and past the navy ride simulator machine, but still within the boundary set up to pen visitors in from the end of the dock.

twicThe ship is daunting. She’s BIG, long, complicated, and I contemplated how to squeeze her bulk onto my sketch pad.

The smell of low tide was lovely (yes briny Gloucester and pristine CascoBay! NYC’s lowtide smells good!)  After drawing for 20 minutes, a marine with a big gun came by and apologetically asked me to move. “I’m really sorry. My OIC asked me to tell you, uh, but you have to go somewhere else. ” (oh? why? I’m not sure. Et cetera.)

Ok. How about here? I moved next to the ride simulator booth. I got a friendly nod, and continued to draw.  But after 10 minutes, another marine came by to tell me I could not stand there. No, I could not!–the exhaust from the ride was choking me.

I moved into the line of folks waiting for the ride, and my fellow citizens patiently accommodated by filing around me while I drew. Surely I can stand here? everyone’s standing here! More armed marines appeared. I continued to sketch, chatted with children.

Apparently, standing is not the issue. One OIC came to tell me that anyone standing in a place photographing–or drawing–for a long time was going to cause a bit of concern. He was very nice about it. I had my TWIC card suspended around my neck on a 1-800-USA-NAVY  ribbon I got from FleetWeek last year, and mentioned that I had worked on these piers, but he smiled apologetically and said, “You’re probably innocent, but, sorry…”  With the TWIC, I got the same reaction I get at airports–blank glance.

They who fight for liberty and freedom were good enough to grant me the liberty to finish my drawing, sort of.

I do understand their reaction, though. I think it was when I peered through the binoculars to see how the light fixture was attached on the stern of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship that I raised a red flag. I’m glad I left the VHF at home.

Perhaps it was the detailed drawings that they objected to. I turned the page, switched to a cut reed pen and loose-&-groovy mode. The kids liked this much better:

iwojimabow2

What are your rights, should you find yourself in a similar situation? US military personnel (including military police) have no authority over non-military property or people. I was not on the ship nor standing on a tank, but on the pier which is is owned by the City of New York, though was probably also a USCG regulated facility for the visiting ships and various cruise ship companies. On non-military installations, they have no jurisdiction. If it was a security concern, the police might have been called. No one ever told me not to draw, but I was not able to stand around to draw. Well. I chose not to make it an issue. There’s plenty to draw, it was a beautiful day, people were happy.

USSRoosevelt1

USS ROOSEVELT (DDG80), LOA-509′

For good photos and a literary stroll through the interior showing machinery, marines, where barnacles reside and the NAVY’s tweeting address, look here at Tugster.

I watched the marines in their various uniforms debark from the ship, pausing at the head of the gangway to turn to the river to salute the flag on the stern of the ship which was not visible. They would then come off the gangway and joyfully go off into the city with their comrades. I wish for them safe journeys, I wish for them to be able to return home, mentally and physically healthy.

I have the same wish, though, for those with whom they might cross paths, or swords.

Happy Birthday, Steamship Lilac!

lilacLHappy 76th Birthday, to the beautiful Steamship Lilac, a former USCG Lighthouse Tender! There will be a celebration on the Lilac on Sunday, May 24 from 5pm – 10pm. She is at the north side of Pier 40, the very west end of Houston Street. The ship is open Saturday for visitors. Here can be found more details. For beautiful photos, look here and here at Tugster’s catches. Gerry loves engines, and the love shows.

Happy birthday, Gerry Weinstein! other than pouring love, dough, sweat et cetera into the Lilac 1931, what other ships has he had a hand in rescuing or helping? Here is the list:

olympia
USS Olympia 1888, flagship of the Asiatic Squadron, at Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum
Aqua
1918, South Street Seaport, –scrapped
Catawissa, a steam tug, –scrapped
Tug Pegasus 1907, Jersey City,–in operation

marywhalen
Mary Whalen 1938, coastal oil tanker, –dynamic in Brooklyn
Hestia, 34′ wooden steam boat
Elizabeth, steam ferry — wrecked, of which the engine Gerry helped salvage

LibertyBrown
John W. Brown Liberty Ship 1942, Baltimore — still steaming! her sailing season begins on sunday.

There may very well be more ships. Thank you, Gerry, Thank you, Mary! and to all those who support beautiful historic vessels!

Tugboat Pegasus was seen towing the Lehigh Valley Barge No. 79, 1914 after the wakes of the warships dissipated. Together, they make the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, and now at pier 84 with readings, circus acts, shanties. More information at Going Coastal’s writeup of watery events.

Also seen floating about the harbor: the new schooner in town, Clipper City, docked at Pier 17. Much ado on the waterfront…

What would Henry Hudson blog?

Safe and Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all on land and at sea!

Waterlovers, watercolorlovers, anythinglovers! get together saturday 16may 3pm

pier66linedwg

Let’s meet here, Friends!
John Krevey said he welcomes us to overrun pier 66 on saturday, 16may2009, 1500h – until ???. Great bar and grill opens at noon. Chance of thunderstorms, so bring your foulies.

Pier 66 is public access space, walk west along 26st, and over North River. Look for JJHarvey and the Frying Pan tied onto the south of the pier.

Bring friends–pass the word around, bring cards, bring dough, and come and meet and mingle. Sorry if you are very far away, at sea, or overseas; sorry if you can’t make this one. This is an informal gathering. If you’d like to, plan the next one and we will send word out. You pick the next venue, time, place, et cetera.

Hope to see you, if not at this one, then at another powwow! warmly, bowsprite

Fishing Boats

Posted in new york harbor, vhf, watercolor, drawing, boat, sketch, waterfront by bowsprite on 2009/05/01

Peconic Puffin had put in a request to see things move a bit on these pages, and so I am happy to oblige…

I. Every Boat Show at the Jacob Javits Center at the end of the year, you can find me tending some table for some historic vessel.

During one break, I was herding a small group of children who went straight for the luxury yachts. They launched off the swim platforms and shot up, climbing up all gangways, waving from the sundecks, peeking into cabins (—oh, sorry, I mean staterooms), examining anything set out in the galley, testing silk pillows, crowding into the cockpit. The yacht salespeople would insist that the children be accompanied by an adult, that everyone take off shoes, and would bear with us with various levels of tolerance until the whirlwind would move off to the next boat.

yachtie

We wandered through luxury yachts, sailing boats, and ended up on the other side of the convention hall. Still full of energy, the children charged up one boat where two men were talking. I lumbered after them, and asked the men if they wanted us to take off our shoes.

fishingboat1

They looked at me and said, “This is a fishing boat.”

We all had a good laugh. You can tell which side of the bar I’m sitting at for happy hour.

fishingboats1

II. The chief mate of the Amistad was in town and stopped by to visit. He picked up my VHF, and looking at the fleet of fishing boats said in a faux-Bayridge Bklyn accent: “Tony, you there? Tony–you there?”

“You know someone there?”

“No, but there’s always a ‘Tony.'”

What are they fishing for? we are not quite sure…

Clippers in NYHarbor: Robin Knox-Johnston

Happy April 22–the 40th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race the first round-the-world, solo, nonstop yacht race. The winner was Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Messing about in Boats’ began the tribute, and has good post on the boat Suhaili and observations: “Sailing is one of the oldest forms of transport but has evolved so much in 40 years that boats can travel long distance distance 400-500% faster. Is there any other form of transportation that has evolved as much?”

70.8%twilight4 has put up an encyclopedic post and interesting read. Oh! this one’s cool: from Invisible Workshop! and this one is elegant: from Tillerman.
Many others have joined the tribute…(look here for the muster! It’s all hands on deck!)

My RKJ celebration contribution is to share this book: The Twilight of Sail, Robin Knox-Johnson. First American Edition 1979, G.P.Putnam’s Sons, New York

Beautiful black & white photographs (over 120) of clipper ships, full rigged ocean flyers, from the mid 1850’s and on.
Fascinating history:

• the first real clipper ship, the Rainbow, built in 1845, ran from New York to Canton in record time: roundtrip – 6 months and 14 days,
• the China Tea Races and the Opium run from India to China spurred the building of faster ships,
• the British Navigation Act forbade the carriage of cargoes by any other than British ships. When it was repealed in 1849, it brought on a flush of American clippers, like the Oriental, which did HongKong to London in 97 days, with 1,118 tons of tea on board,
• the British fought back, launching the Aberdeen clippers, a race which they won by 1855 taking the trade back from the Americans,
• the only surviving British tea clipper is the Cutty Sark in a dry dock at Greenwich.

procyon1

“The Procyon with [all sails] set…at 2,132 tons, one of the largest three-masted barques under the British flag, she distinguished herself on the maiden voyage by sailing to New York in fifteen days.”

lawson1

The largest schooner ever built, the Thomas W. Lawson, was built in Quincy, Massachusetts…she “measured 5,000 tons gross and had a waterline length of 385 feet. Her seven masts were each 193 feet hight and carried nothing but fore and aft sails. All her halyards, topping lifts and sheets were led to two steam winches, one on the forecastle and one aft.” Only sixteen men were required to handle her.

“…the building of the Suez Canal and the establishment of a road across the Isthmus of Panama enabled steamers to move in on these lucrative routes and brought the great sailing-ship era to an end.”

For now. Who knows which way the wind blows? For the stubborn few who continue to dream, take a peek here and sign up for a stint to learn the ropes (if you don’t already know), for when clippers return, we will need you: ASTAAmerican Sail Training Association.

And keep an eye out for more companies sailing products from harbor to harbor, like this one: Compagnie de Transport Maritime à la Voile.

the Schooners of New York Harbor

Posted in NYHarbor, schooners, watercolor, drawing, boat, sketch, waterfront by bowsprite on 2009/04/19

Overheard on VHF, on two different occasions:

  • Princess to the sailing boat, Adirondack coming out of Chelsea Piers.”
    Adirondack to the Princess, we’re at North Cove, going south. You want the Imagine.”
    “Sorry.”
  • Adirondack, by the Statue, this is the tug and barge coming up on your stern…”
    No response. It is not the Adirondack, but the Pioneer at the old buoy 31 (now 35), with no other schooner in sight…

What ship is that?

Well, should the old girl not readily show you her derrière bearing her escutcheon (plate with the boat’s name), below are some of the schooners (et al) of NYHarbor, drawn more or less to proportional scale, with some identifying marks, so you can call her by name:

pioneer

Schooner Pioneer:
Built: 1885, in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
Docked at: Pier 16
Material: Steel Hull, Iron Frames
Length: 102 ft.
Breadth: 22 ft.
Draft: 4.5 ft. (w/centerboard up) 12 ft. (w/centerboard down)
Mast Height: 76.6 ft.
Sail Area: 2,737 sq. ft.
Passenger Capacity: 35

It’s very easy to spot the Pioneer: look for the orange jimbuoy at the stern. She has a beautiful bow, one of the classiest in the harbor—a clipper bow— with a proper martingale permanently cocked to starboard from a docking mishap. Black hull and masts, white booms and gaffs, wooden bowsprit.

Her topsail is the grimy-est sail you would ever be called upon to hoist, redolent of grey-brown subway rats’ pelt. It’s only brought out in very light winds and training sails. Pioneer also has a fisherman’s sail, stretched from foremast to mainmast— also a vanity sail— taken out only when the crew clamor to learn how to set it.

lettie

Schooner Lettie G. Howard:
Built: 1893 in EssexMassachusetts
Docked at: Pier 16 (update: now at Mystic Seaport, CT)
Material: Wood hull, masts, spars
Length: 125.4 ft. / 38.22 m
Breadth: 21.1 ft. / 6.43
Draft: 10.6 ft. / 3.23
Sail Area: 5,072 sq. ft.
Crew: 7-9

Lettie is lovely: a forest green with topsides, booms, and blocks all a buttery yellow. Look for the notch midships. I know this notch well: on the first day of my first Lettie trip, racing towards the Georges Bank, I would prop my head in this notch (only while offwatch, of course) and vomit. Wooden masts, white bowsprit.

Lettie is so shipshape I believe even her baggywrinkle is drycleaned periodically.

adirondack1

Schooner Adirondack:
Built: 1994, Scarano Boat, Albany, NY
Docked at: Chelsea Piers
Material: Douglas Fir , cedar, teak, and mahogany.
Length: 80 ft
Draft : 8.6 ft.
Sail Area – 2,000 sq. ft.
Passenger Capacity: 49 passengers

Adirondack’s signature telltale marks: the plumb stem and the canoe stern. White hull, bowsprit, booms, gaffs & masts.

imagine

American pilot schooner Imagine: (now renamed Adirondack III)

Docked at: Chelsea Piers
Built: 1997, Scarano Boat
Length: 78 feet
Passenger Capacity: 49 passenger

White hull, trim, bowsprit, booms, gaffs & masts of Port Orford Cedar.

clearwater

Sloop Clearwater:cleartiller
Docked at: 79th st Boat Basin
Length: 106 ft
Mast Height: 108 ft.
Sail Area: 4,305 sq. ft.

Clearwater is green-hulled with thick black trim, black masts, and has a huge white boom, white bowsprit. Very rare is her large tiller, carved in the shape of a fist. One person might be able to steer her dead ahead, but it takes several crewmembers to turn the boat.

shearwater1

Schooner Shearwater:
Built: 1929, Rice Brothers Shipyard, East Boothbay, Maine
Docked at: North Cove
Materials: Wood; Teak, Mahogany, Native White Oak Georgia Pine
Length: 82.5 ft
Beam: 16.5 ft
Draft: 10 ft
Mast Height: 85 ft

She’s still a schooner: Marconi rigged, not gaff like the others.

(More that I missed! artwork to come)

Schooner Clipper City
Docked at: Pier 17, NY

Sloop Ventura:
Docked at: North Cove, NY

Schooner Mary E.:
Docked at: City Island, NY

Schooner Liberty:
Docked at: Liberty Marina, Jersey City, NJ

Schooner Richard Robbins:
Docked at: Lincoln Harbor, Weehawken, NJ

These are some of the schooners that live here. Many friends come through: Mystic Whaler is here, at the 79th st Boat Basin, the A.J.Meerwald and the When & If, from NJ, and many others. If you are feeling the desire to own a fine schooner, this one is for sale: the Rosemary Ruth.
Photos here from Tugster. Great photos and writing on Frogma: go there and type in Rosemary Ruth and Schooner Ann!

the Haul Out of the Peking

Posted in watercolor, drawing, boat, sketch, waterfront by bowsprite on 2009/03/15

peking1911

The Peking is a steel-hulled four-masted barque whose cargo consisted mainly of nitrate and wheat. With her ports of call at opposite sides of Cape Horn, her crew of 35 to 40 worked 4 hrs on, 4 hrs off, through huge storms, dead doldrums, moving 5,300 tons of cargo, on 8,000 ton of ship across 11,000 miles. They would arrive at ports, sometimes with no tug nor tow in sight, left to themselves to dock the great ship under the powers of wind, currents, and muscle.

Hundreds have crewed on her. Many work on her today. And, there was a glimmer of hope for sailors to crew aboard in the not distant future…

Last year, on the 7th of january, on a monday morning, the Peking made her way through NYHarbor. For this short trip to a dry dock in Staten Island, the preparations had begun months before.

Her 3 ton bow anchor had to be secured. She used to have two bow anchors and one lighter sheet anchor, however, now, only one remains.

anchor21

Bitts had to be tested to be sure they were secure. The fo’c’slehead bitts proved sound. The welldeck moorning bitts had to be tested to 3 tons: two chain falls were wrapped between them and tightened with a twist or two of the wild cat until the dynamometer gauged the strain at 7.5 tons, which was held for 15 minutes. The bitts passed the stress test.

welldeck

Her braces were triced up to be out of the way of the tugs that would tow alongside.

A generator was brought into the wet lab under the poop deck for the days the ship would be away.
Huh! A ship that had no electricity, that ran with its large crew around the world many times powered only by wind and muscle, now at shore, has electricity for pumping bubbles for a few denizens plucked from the waters below her. (One famed tenant of the wet lab is last year’s 16th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race mascot winner, Oscar, a harmless, horrid, horny, spindley-legged crab, who beat a few dogs and a ferret.)

gangways

The Peking’s two gangways were removed and placed atop dunnage.

responder1
The McAllister Responder moved to her port to tie on.

eastriver

At 0848, before the eyes of incredulous dog walkers and taiqi dancers, before anyone looking out their office windows or driving by on the FDR, the Peking cast off.

Responder drew her out into the slacking East River; high tide was at 0717H, she may have still been flooding at the top.
Accompanied by her neighbors, the W.O.Decker, the Pioneer, and an assist tug McAllister Elizabeth, the Peking moved stately south, into New York Upper Harbor, leaving an aching hole by the Wavertree.

wavertree2


(to be continued…)

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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