Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

Ship Shop at 14 Fulton Street

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/12/20

Happy Holidaze to you all, Friends! good health, good cheer. Big Albany-bound ships and CGC Juniper that I want to draw all steamed north as I bike to work at:

14 Fulton Street of the South Street Seaport Museum

, the Ship Shop   Open everyday 11 – 7pm until Christmas Eve.

Sign by Sal Polisi, Wood Carver, located at 207 Water Street


Who can spot the glaring error in the decor? I made and printed the flags, punched holes, strung them up, and they are for sale. Made in NYC in a New York minute.


Fun with string and wood: ratlines made in NYC, all driftwood found on the KVK.

In the shop are the beautiful necklaces of Gather No Wood; Michelle named her shop after a sign on a hiking trail in Utah. Sea Tiger jewelry is made by two sisters who combed New York city beaches for shells.
Scarves by Elments4InspirdLivng, knits and felt-covered soaps by Nuna Knits, tableware by IVY, prints of Naima Rauam and Blowspittle are featured. Put in your order for Gary Kane and Tugster’s Graves of the Arthur Kill, Rick Spillman’s Hell Around the Horn, and Peter and Norma Stanford’s A Dream of Tall Ships.

Also in stock, the 2014 Ships of New York Harbor tea towels, printed in New York on Irish linen, aye. “Womenly, yes, but men like them, too.” Good for the engine room by 2015.


Mike Weiss showed me a photo of crew shoveling snow off Pioneer, and I was jealous. Well, look for me in the Ship Shop, the one in the clean, underused Carhatts. Hope to see you there (I am there everyday except Saturday, 11H to 15H). All sales help support the South Street Seaport Museum: her six ships, one barge, historic buildings and maritime collections. Thank you very much!

waterways reskilling

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/11/23

Waterways reskilling! Tomorrow, Saturday, at SUNY New Paltz.

You can read about the origins of Transition here. Tomorrow’s agenda:

A Transition Reskilling turns back the clock to reclaim technologies that have immediate relevance  and are key to the carbon neutral future of the Mid-Atlantic region: 1) Sail-freight, which is resurging as people build and rebuild wooden ships for the transport of goods along coastal and inland waters of the Hudson Valley, 2) Small and micro-scale, direct hydropower generation3) Port & dock restoration, design and management,  4) Future fisheries,  5) Boat-building and waterwheel restoration. 


Piers 88, 90, 92 and 94: Passenger Ship Terminal, deliveries of all food stuffs, wines and beers from upriver can be unloaded directly onto cruise ships; please do not attempt to unload during bunkering.
Pier 84: due to National Security Concerns, there will be no docking near the aircraft carrier permitted; no exceptions, TWIC cards or no. Do not leave your compost here.

Pier 66: beer and wine go here! Recharge your phones at the waterwheel.


Pier 59, 60, 61: Chelsea Piers, please deliver all cargo for the harbor passenger vessels by the carousel on pier 62. For the private yachts, please arrange transfers near the golf club at pier 59. Brewery pick also at 59.

Pier 57: Marine Aviation Terminal. Please mind the fish and bivalve remediation sites (where the old pilings are) and boat launch.

Pier 40: sports field, grain mill and trapeze school. Bring your grains to be ground by the community mill. More wooden boat launches. Compost here.

Pier 25, 26: kayaks, historic ships, giant yokohama collection, dog park, restaurant.

Fireboat John J. Harvey

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/11/03


Fireboat John J. Harvey
built: 1931, Todd Shipbuilding, NYC
length: 130 ft / 40 m
beam: 28 ft / 8.5 m
draft: 9 ft / 2.7 m
capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute
location: pier 66, NYC

The gala to help this vessel with funds for the Federal Save America’s Treasures Grant will be held tomorrow, monday night. More information and tickets here. It is a good opportunity to meet the volunteers who work hard to keep this fireboat running and pumping smoothly, after 82 years.

It will be held at India House, 6:30pm, 1 Hanover Square, NYC, NY 10004:


welcome, Ceres, to New York Harbor!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/10/24

She did it!


The homemade wooden sailing barge set out late September and sailed 300 miles, from Ferrisburgh, Vermont to here, rounding the Battery sometime this morning.
And if AIS is to be believed, she is stemming the tide there for six hours, now. What fortitude!

The journey has been incredible, and I hope at some point, the log will available for reading. For now, we followed this account, which has managed to be updated, in between planting, harvesting, loading, building, planking, ballasting, poling, sailing, and now, stemming…

The seed:

“…a group of farmers builds a basic boat and sails their produce to market…(it) has worked here in the past, and can work again…22 miles of canal passage…There are nine locks, raising us in elevation a little and dropping us back down again…”

went to this entry:

“…Ceres is a flagged vessel of the United States merchant fleet.  Imagine that!  A few short months ago she was just a stack of sheets of plywood!”
Hooray for the USCG! semper paratus! We ♥ the USCG.

“Over the past five days a mind-blowing variety of agricultural products, a true cornucopia of the north country, was rallied both to my farm in Ferrisburgh and to the colonial-era shipping warehouses of Chipman Point Marina.

“None of us ever having loaded a cargo vessel with tonnage before, we had to guess at it.

“Ceres weighs about 7000 lbs empty.  We added 5000 lbs of ballast to make her 12000 lbs.  Now she is loaded to a total displacement of about 36000 lbs, meaning that we have loaded in about 24000 lbs of saleable (sail-able) cargo.”

She is here! You can visit this lucky, plucky FIRST cargo vessel since many moons from upriver at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Saturday, or, the manhattan side on Sunday.
Love this sighting from Tug44 from his front yard.

You can still put in your order here:

Ceres is the goddess of grain crops and agriculture. She is also on the New Jersey State seal.


pier 17, simply seafood

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/10/04

Saturday, October 5th, 2pm. Meet at the corner of Fulton and Water Streets, by the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse

On the wrecking ball’s to-do list: Pier 17’s red mall.


Ok, it was never the darling architectural gem of downtown, and the only reason we went in was to use the head or to take sightings with the grey plastic sextant (GPS) in Ches’ celestial nav class from the top floor Food Court wrap-around balconies.
But for one holdout, the building would be gone: Simply Seafood. Go, bring friends, enjoy the whole building and incredible views to yourself.

Update: on wednesday, November 13, a judge ruled in favor of Howard Hughes Corporation, giving them everything they wanted. Simply Seafood owners came to work on Friday, were not permitted in. Their equipment had been dumped in a dumpster and left in a loading dock.

Every politician will say how important small businesses are to the economy, but it is damned difficult to run one in today’s hostile environment, especially if your business butts heads with big-monied corporations. Good luck, Simply Seafood: you’ve been through enough, with Rause, General Growth Properties, and Howard Hughes. Basta!

When you’re bailing on a sinking ship, and the ship’s owner is bailing by your side, give it all you’ve got. If the owner is no where in sight (or pushing you under), get on the lifeboat. Good luck and safer, cleaner, healthier harbors.

no smoking

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/09/17



Tagged with: ,


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/09/11

lightbuttermilk2From the Red Hook Container Terminal, site of the tanker Mary Whalen and Portside.


The Brooklyn Bridge, covered and being worked upon. Hot, humid and crowded night.


EMT on watch at the park.

Tribute in Light at night. Today at 10h30, the waterway ferries all paid tribute in sound:


how to swim near a lock

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/09/10


Really, don’t do it.


The Hudson beckoned, I obeyed. Swimming towards a dock near the lock (before the canal cruiseship had arrived), I realized I was making no headway. It was shallow, but I was not grounded, I know I wasn’t.

Guardian boatsmen, Mike Schmidt (of Allyson Ann, pictured below with blue cap) and Stuart Pate (Dragonfly) motored over: “The lock opened and we were swept away, we figured you’d be caught, too.” Completely nonplussed, and, completely nonjudgemental, as in, no “what the bleeeeeep is wrong with you?!”
Thank you, Mike and Stuart! and to their better halves, handing out goggles and moral support.

prop check of Mame Fayphoto: Tugster

“Oh, while in you’re in there, can you check my props? Make sure nothing’s bent?” said Capt Bill Curry of Eighth Sea.

It was scarier than I thought–yet nothing deeper than 3′. It was all metally, creepy crawly tendrils up the thighs, dark and cold. I heard a strange bubbling beneath me as if souls embedded in the bottom were murmuring. And dammit, I couldn’t find the props. Kept popping up for breath, then crawling further under Mame Fay. Finally found it, all four blades intact and not bent. Thus ends my marine surveyor gig. I don’t know how you gals and guys do it. And oil rig welders: ok–write me for a free blowspittle bottle opener.

So much thanks to our host, Fred, Capt CPO Bill, Mike Byrnes (CG, tug Urger), JED, Larry, Marie, and as always, Will! Look to Tugster and Dupee FB for photos. Beautiful, wonderful old tugs, convening at a great spot in a cool town, a warm community. We love these tugs — and the very special people who work on them–truly, words fail me.
xoxo c!

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:



deckertossMike Abegg practicing before the race. Capt: Aaron Singh



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


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



pushing contest




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



I just missed the tattoo contest.


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.

tug races on pier 84, sunday

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/08/30

Pier 86 is where the “Fighting I” is berthed:intrepid

This is why I love to draw on site: my pen found the little ladder rungs on the bow, suspended perhaps 75ft above the water’s surface (roughly estimating by using the load lines.)

Can you imagine holding on, in the middle of the roiling Pacific Ocean, and looking down (not mentioning hostile aircraft or torpedoes honed in on your ship while you are clinging onto the rung)?

Stroll south a few steps Sunday for the Working Harbor Committee Tug Race on pier 84. Where is pier 84? subtract 40, you get 46st.
Pier number minus 40 will give you the street on the west side of manhattan, only. And from Pier 40 and up. Good for the few piers we have left, anyway.
10 AM – Parade of tugs from Pier 84 to the start line.
10:30 AM – Race starts – Just south of 79th Street Boat Basin near Pier I to Pier 84.
11 AM – Nose to nose pushing contests and line toss competition.
Noon – Tugs tie up to Pier 84 for lunch and awards ceremony. Exhibits, amateur line toss, spinach eating contest
1 PM – Awards ceremony.
2 PM – Tugs begin to depart

I will be selling bowsprite art, hope to see you. Come toss a line, kiss Olive Oyl, and pick up ship schwag. Happy Labor Day weekend to all!

USS Intrepid (CV/CVA/CVS-11)
Essex-class aircraft carrier
Built: 1943 by Newport News Shpbuilding & Drydock Co., VA
Length (original): 820 feet (250 m) waterline / 872 feet (266 m) overall
Beam: 93 feet (28 m) waterline / 147 feet 6 inches (45 m) overall
Draft: 28 feet 5 inches (8.66 m) light / 34 feet 2 inches (10.41 m) full load
Complement: 2,600 officers and enlisted
Aircraft carried: 90 – 100 aircraft

albany-bound vessels

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/08/16

This ship went south (what did it unload there? pumice? ash?)vesuvius

this ship went north (fig wine? elixir? women’s perfume? what’s in there?)


?…ehh, fuggedaboutit.


peek at Tugster

a mariner’s story

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/08/03


“I was walking in San Francisco on a small street not far from where I lived in North Beach.  It was spring, sunny and breezy.  The street was a quiet street of small galleries, lined with lacy locust trees.

I remember looking at a sign hanging above the door to one of the galleries.  It was dark wood, beautifully varnished, with gold-leaf lettering.  The sign was swinging slightly in the breeze and the shadows from the trees were playing across it.  As I was looking at it, I heard a ship’s horn; one long blast, then three shorts.  I immediately knew that the big dinner cruise boat was backing out of its slip.  One long blast, a warning that I’m coming out of a blind slip, and three shorts, my engines are operating astern.  I knew what the boat was saying.  I speak boat.  I didn’t know what the sign said, it was in Chinese.  Not having been distracted by what the sign said, I remember every detail of its texture, color, the play of the light across it.  Of the ship’s horn, I only remember what it said.”

— Daniel Porter, mariner 


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/07/27

It was hard to read the name at first, for rust covered the lettering. But I stared hard, and it was worth the effort:

a crude oil tanker named Compassion.


It was such a good name that it survived two company changes. It was Stena Compassion until 2010, then Newlead Compassion until 2012. It is currently owned by BW Maritime (Singapore). Flag: Bermuda, homeport: Hamilton.

The company also owns a tanker named Compass. Un-ION-ized.

Tanker Compassion
Built: 2006 by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Group
Length: 748 ft. (228 m)
Beam: 105 ft. (32 m)
Draft: 37.4 ft. (11.4 m)

What good karma to be up in the bridge, high on Compassion.

radio LILAC, next crafts’ fair in september!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/07/21


Bike, walk, swim, sail, paddle to Hudson River Park’s pier 25, off North Moore street and West Street.
Public transportation directions here.

Presenting! a few of our vendors, and if you would like to be in touch with them or learn more:

mawusiMawusi    gathernowoodGatherNoWood   vmackenzieVH McKenzie  ssecombeShelley Seccombe   invibezInIVibez    elments4Elments4InspirdLivng   flilgreeFiligreeNYC   daintycreationsDaintyCreations   greenmountianGreenMountain   sosSaveOurSeaport   Tara   blowspittlebowsprite



many thanks to Mary, Gerry, Andy, Sanford, Carl, Brian, Paulina, Stephen, Jimmy, Tom, Kenny, Brian, Derry (other volunteers’ names to come) for all your help. This would not be possible without all of you!

Thank you, Broadsheet, Downtown Express, Tribeca Tribune. Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (others to come).

city of water

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/07/20


There is much going on today, the City of Water Day. Click here to see the events scheduled area by area, including up the Hudson.


LILAC: Saturday, July 20, City of Water Day, 10am to 7pm **SPECIAL HOURS**
City of Water Day is a celebration of New York’s waterfronts sponsored by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.
The tug PEGASUS and fireboat JOHN J. HARVEY will be offering free boat tours with the fireboat loading at LILAC.  The ship is open for tours and viewing the exhibit, Dead in August. Hudson River Park educators will be offering lessons in fishing from the pier from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and The River Project will  be pulling up traps and inviting visitors to see estuarine life up close in touch tanks on LILAC’s buoy deck in the afternoon.
The shop will be open on LILAC today.

The Waterfront Museum, Red Hook, Brooklyn: SLACKJAW celebrates New York City’s waters with a lively mix of traditional, new and original bluegrass songs, 1 – 5pm.  Admission free.

Happy City of Water Day, everyday.

les sans culottes at the south seaport tonight

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/07/19


“Allô, Boston!”

That is how Clermont Ferrand would greet the crowd in the little bars we used to play in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Hoboken: Sin-é, Sidewalk, Pianos, Black Betty, PS1, Maxwell’s…

This troupe of Brooklynites formed this French go-go band, Les Sans Culottes, in hommage to Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy, France Gall, Nino Ferrer, Jacques Dutronc, and others. The French hated us, so we knew we’d do well touring around France—as in—the countries surrounding. Alas, I had to leave the band just before they got booked in France. I am happy they made it back alive.

We had great names like Kit Kat le Noir, Celine Dijon, JeanLuc Retard, Cal Dommage, Pascal Blase.

The crew now:

Clermont Ferrand – singer
Kit Kat Le Noir – chanteuse
Courtney Louvre – chanteuse
M. Pommes Frites – bass
Geddy Liason (aka TRESemmé) – guitar
Johnny Dieppe – keyboard
Jacques Strappe – drums

We had great costumes:
“You look like astronaut wives.”

We had great sound. Well. We had great fun.

tvgglaisse tomber les filles

omg. I cannot sing! We pissed off the French, we pissed off musicians with perfect pitch.

Well, that’s why I became a deckhand.
I hope youtube will not show me throwing the heaving line into the drink. Yes, of course I have.

Les Sans Culottes are playing tonight, Friday, at 6:30 at Front St. and Fulton St. Vive la Révolution!

The performance in this video Clermont sent was on the 107th floor
of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
The hall was called, “The Greatest Bar on Earth.”

stern sternwatch

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/07/13

Tugster’s in Brazil!

And when I see a ship like this, I can only think:halfhaiyang

buoy tending

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/06/25







umm, tender:


Unrelated, but one buoy tender capsized in the East River the morning before the above photograph was taken. Story here, speedy and complete recovery to crew of tender and rescue boat.

lost and forlorn!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/06/20

Where is the Colgate Clock???

It was there yesterday when I was sketching in North Cove. Looking carefully at my photos though, I see it was being lowered away like a ventian blind.

And today, it is GONE!


Years of hearing over VHF: “…(name of tug), turning around at the Clock, headed for the Gate…” “…(ship name,) southbound off the Clock…” “…hey, Cap, we’re the unit at the Clock, northbound, where you headed?”
We are lost. Lost, I say.

colgateripphoto: Gerry Weinstein

Thank you, Margot. ChickenLittleitis hit. This just up, I’ll be monitoring that void on the shore.

radio LILAC

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/06/13

Radio LILAC, this Sunday, July 21st!

uprintingmailing_guide [Converted]

Dress up in your 1960-70’s best and come go-go on the welldeck! shop on a ship with the only beer at the pier!

Information for Vendors and photographs, please click here. Come join us and sell your wares!

radioveronica…in honor of the free spirit of  Radio Veronica.


LILAC is open Thursdays 3:00 to 6:00 PM, Saturdays and Sundays 1:00 to 7:00 PM.

1 train to Franklin St. or

2, 3  / A, C  to Chambers St.

Bus: M20

Ferry: to World Fi.


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/06/09

She sells ship porn on the sea shore. On LILAC at pier 25, every saturdays and sundays, 1pm to 7pm.

He wore a tshirt with a drawing of a three masted ship under full sail that read, “Frig It” and pointed to my print of Peking.
Moshulu! he said.

The ships look alike, both are black, steel-hulled, four-masted barques, both have what I was taught was called a ‘liverpool house’ but when I search for it, photos of pub grub and happy people in a bar pop up.

 However Peking was built by Blohm + Voss in Hamburg, Moshulu was built on the River Clyde by Alex. Wm. Hamilton & Co., Port Glasgow, Scotland, for a German client. Both ships carried the same cargo: nitrates.

 “Moshulu” is Seneca for “Dreadnought” (Dreads Nothing).

“River Clyde” rolls off the tongue in Scottish Gaelic thus: Abhainn Chluaidh.
Moshulu!” he said, “I had a friend who worked on Moshulu. Bob Reusswig, signed on the Moshulu as an able bodied seaman in the 30’s at the age of 16.  He was a remarkable seaman.

“He told us once when he was newly aboard  Moshulu, they were in a horrible storm. The first mate yelled at him to go up and furl the sails on the upper yard. They train you, start you off on the lower ones and you work your way up to the higher ones. Well, Bob wasn’t ready for the upper yard, and he was scared. But he was more scared of the mate’s cobbled boots: he’d seen that boot make it’s mark on several men’s bottoms, so up he went.

“They were tough men, on that ship. The captain of the Moshulu at that time was a Norwegian, 5’5″ and made of the toughest stuff men are ever made of. He was thrown about and part of his skull caved in. He took out a penknife, heated it on a flame, cooled it in seawater, stuck the penknife into his head and popped the skull back out.”

•   •   •

Not that Lilac goes anywhere, but I have VHF 13 on, to pretend I’m on the bridge, and I listen to traffic passing behind me.
And sometimes you hear from modern day sailors: “Oh, thanks for the wake, Cap.”
•   •   •
On days of old vs modern day:
In 1908, Moshulu made a fast voyage from Newcastle, Australia, to Valparaíso with a cargo of coal in 31 days. Fuel cost: $zero. Well, I do not know how much they burned for lamps or cooking.
Today: slow steaming.

Click here for the re-rigging of Moshulu

as she operates as a restaurant, complete with Bongo Bar.

and here for a beautiful painting of the ship by John Stephens.

thank you, Seaman “I am not a rude man” Snake Roodman.


Posted in OffTopic: not in NYHarbor by bowsprite on 2013/05/30


In my well-worn copy of The Book of Old Ships, by Henry B. Culver, beautifully illustrated by Gordon Grant (Garden City Publishing Company, Inc, NY © 1935), it says this name may have come from the generic Turkish word “fulk,” meaning a ship.  The Catalan felouques had “masts inclined well forward, and had on each side of the stem, a painted eye after the style of those which ornamented the prows of the ancient Egyptian and Greek ships. The lateen sail with its high pointing whippy yard is much better suited to the lighter and dryer winds of the south than to the heavier airs of the northern seas.”

The “Gold & ambergris…” quote is from Patrick o’Brien. Ambergris is found in the guts of the sperm whale, it smells like poop when fresh, but ages into a sweet scent and was used in perfumes. It made Melville muse that “fine ladies and gentlemen should regale themselves with an essence found in the inglorious bowels of a sick whale.” Store High In Transit!

come to LILAC’s 80 birthday celebration this sunday!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/05/21


This Sunday, USCGC LILAC (WAGL-227) is turning 80. Come for local crafts, local brews, music and mirth.

LILAC ran on steam, and you can go into her engine room, imagine it running and sounding like the engine room of San Pablo of Sand Pebbles, and peer into the big cylinder where a piston was removed. Keep one hand in your pocket if you venture near the main electric board with the Frankenstein switches. Better yet: don’t go near there.

Lilac has a diesel stove.
When Girlfriend with a Tanker tried to make paella for her SupperClub on her diesel stove, the passing ferries threw wakes that kept sloshing the broth out over the low freeboard of the paella pan. And if that is not difficult enough: there’s no way to control the heat.

One tugboat crew cut rings of varying thicknesses from a discarded steel drum picked up along the KVK, stacking and swapping  metal rings while cooking until done.
“You want those eggs how? hahahaha.”

Class: Lighthouse Tender, Buoy Tender
Launched: 1933
At: Pusey & Jones Shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware

Length: 173 feet, 4 inches
Beam: 32 feet
Draft: 11 feet, 3 inches
Displacement: 1,012 tons
Propulsion:Two 500 HP triple expansion engines supplied by two oil-fired Babcock & Wilcox watertube boilers.
Armament: During WW II, 3 inch 50 cal., two 20mm 80 cal., and two racks of depth charges.

information from Naval Historic Ships Association

note to self

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/04/16

tale1 A fisherman saw a sea turtle,

tale2and without anchoring his boat, dove for it.


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.

…a tale from Palau, as retold in Carl Safina‘s Voyage of the Turtle

sailing ships at work

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/04/10


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.)

♠    ♣   


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…

♠     ♣   

built in 1952 by H. C. Stulchen and Son of Hamburg, Germany

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.

♠     ♣   

And there, a glimpse of the life of sailing ships at work that call, or try to call, at NYH.

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.

Ship historian Norman Brouwer, Capt. Maggie Flanagan, and Rick Spilman will be presenting.

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.      ♥     ♦

Lettie G. Howard, Rosanne Cash: monday

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/04/07

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
8:00 pm
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!

friday doodle: circleline

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/04/05


a green ship

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/03/17


commissioned by Ms. Fist o’ Monkey for gCapt Maritime Monday

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

Bring back cargo sailing!!! see you at CMA, those who are attending. I’ll be at the table for the Working Harbor Committee  (blog here) and the Seaport Museum.

research station in Key Largo available

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/03/05

for this post, information and comments, please see the side page here:

casa2 lagoon4

hawser, line and wire: happy 50th!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/02/20

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.

Length: 65 ft
Beam: 16 ft
Displacement: 72 tons
Power Plant: Upgrading to
500 HP

The Naval Institute Guide To The Ships And Aircraft Of the U.S. Fleet, Norman Polmar


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