This morning: it was all ice and fog.
On VHF radio: “(Name of tug), 14, can I get a visibility report? thank you.”
Voices, they were all speaking:
Voices from ferries whose names I rarely hear uttered on 13, calling out today where the fog has collected extremely heavily: around Liberty and Ellis Islands.
“Miss New York, leaving Liberty Channel to Ellis Island.”
“Miss New Jersey, I see you. See you on the one.”
“Miss Freedom…” “did you leave the dock yet?” “yes, I’m in front of the Statue:” “Roger that.”
“Miss New Jersey, departing the battery wall for the Statue.”
“Miss Freedom, I’m south of the clock, where are you?”
“Leaving Morris Canal…south of you.”
“I’m at the WR buoy (red buoy marking a wreck at the mouth of the Morris Canal) and I can’t see the Clock!”
Voices from the Kills:
Voices from the anchorage:
“Yeah, Cap, I don’t have you on radar yet, but see you on the one.”
Voices from everywhere, mingling:
rose set tonight brilliantly silver, big, and thin.
I once learned a good trick which I still use to remember the difference between a waxing and waning moon.
However, it is in German.
The curve of the waxing moon fits into the cursive ‘z’ of zunehmen. Nehmen means to ‘take,’ zu means to oneself, so the moon is taking to oneself; it is augmenting, increasing. It will soon be Full.
The curve of the waning moon fits into the rounded part of the ‘a’ of abnehmen, which means to diminish, decline. (It’s not pretty, but think of ‘abscess’ and how good it is for that to diminish.) The moon will soon fade to New.
Danke to my bud, Ray of Zurigo, for this tip, on that clear night in the Ticino so many moons ago.
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.
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.
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.)
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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…
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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.
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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.
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. ♠ ♥ ♣ ♦
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.
|Power Plant:||Upgrading to
USS Mitscher (DDG-57)
Ingalls Shipbuilding, 1992
Homeport: Norfolk, VA
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
38 Chief Petty Officers
210 Enlisted Personnel
At Stapleton Pier / The Sullivans Pier, Fleet Week 2012. With the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in the background.
Chock-a-block of eye pads…unlike this unidentified ship, with a dearth of panama chocks.
Line handling these days must be damned bitter cold. Oof!
2013 Ships of NYHarbor Tea Towel Calendar also available. Both designs have unhemmed, raw, pinked edges (zigzagged.)
Printed in North Carolina by Spoonflower. They started making decals, and I have many decals of some of my ship doodles printed on polyester and coated with a non-PVC plastic coating. Peel and stick up. The verdict: excellent quality! more on the decals to come!
Apologies to friends’ NYHarbor ships I have yet to draw! Lilac, J.J.Harvey (and all the beautiful old fireboats), DEP vessels, Swivel, Taurus…I’m getting to you, promise!
What is a tea towel? well, i’d be honored to see one of mine in an engine room. If you work on a vessel pictured, you get 25% off. Thank you!
A captain was in the harbor at anchor when he heard the following over VHF 16:
Boater: “Radio check, radio check this is (name of boat).”
Boater: “This is (name of boat), we are here at Sandy Point. I mean, Sandy Hook…doing a radio check. Please respond.”
Boater, with annoyance: “This is (name of boat), someone please respond to our radio check.”
Mystery Mariner, with just a touch of playfulness: “Ok, sure…FUCK YOU!”
Ah, New York Harbor…I do love this harbor.
oh my goodness. I really sat through this: F Troop.
A more scholarly link here…
Lightship Ambrose LV 87 / WAL 512
Built: 1907 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ
Length: 136ft. (41.5m)
Beam: 29ft. (8.8m)
Draft: 13ft. (3.9m)
Original Illumination Apparatus: three oil lens lanterns
This lightship was stationed in the Ambrose Channel since 1906, guiding vessel traffic through the main shipping channel just below the Verazzano Narrows bridge, into New York and New Jersey Harbor until 1967. She was given to South Street Seaport Museum by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1968. A light tower replaced it, was hit by ships a few times too many, and, now, the channel is marked by lighted buoys.
Now at the new! improved! South Street Seaport Museum under the fertile wing—nurturing wing?— of the City of the Museum of New York this lightship was painted in March, and is now being restored and is open for visiting at Pier 16.
The wings of the seaport museum are alive: a new exhibit is up, nautical pieces from another museum I love, the American Folk Art Museum.
And true to the harbor’s spirit, the active gem of the museum, Pioneer, is sailing. Go onboard to sail in the harbor or go and volunteer and learn how to handle lines and many other things that may always serve you well…!
“Tradition states that the first entry of the new year in the official log in CG and Navy must be in verse and rhyme.”
So, here’s to tradition…
Zero one January two thousand one two.
Eight glasses for the old year and eight for the new.
Clear, windless day; low tide at o8h14,
The river has that beautiful blue-brown, cold sheen.
Hair making good knots, rolled out of my berth,
Dismayed by the thickening of the girth
After bubbly and beer and something chateau,
Feeling like sierra hotel india tango
It’s already into the forenoon watch
When I go to the galley to assess the debauch
Staring at all of the bottles in front of me
Feeling a bit post-frontal lobotomy
Semper ready for the challenge!
It’s not too bad, rank it code orange.
Monitoring 13 while the kettle does boil…
So, where are my friends moving cargo, people and oil?
Clearing the nav station of sketches and cat,
I scan AIS to see where everyone’s at.
There’s xx at the anchorage and xx on the KV
And look at the ships coming in from sea!
Can’t wait to tell Tuggie who’s going by now!
Containerships, tankers, tugs and their scows,
Ferries and fishingboats and tour boats galore,
A honeyboat, and the boats of the Army Corps
Icebreakers and buoy tenders, and medium response
A sailboat, some kayaks, and hopefully, clearance.
A cruiseship. No ro-ro’s. The dredgers are at bay.
Do harbor charlie and fireboat get overtime pay?
Are the survey boats working? are the line boats out?
They’re not on AIS so I can’t see their routes.
I could do this all day, but muster midmess
To wish all of you for 2012: the best!
Thank you, CaptJJ for telling me about this tradition!
what is your log entry for today?
¡wow! thank you, west38! it looks so beautifully zen! click on her lovely blog to see the art of needle and thread in perfection: that corner is art.
Print your own fabrics! re-upholster your bunk, make cool pillows, and frame your porthole with your own designs! Spoonflower, is a site based in Durham, North Carolina that prints your designs at their ‘mill’. Read more about them here.
In honor of Veterans Day (today: 11.11.11) they just held their military fabrics contest which I missed, but inspired me to make a tribute fabric anyway. (I never knew the symbolism of poppies until this contest.)
The Ships Ahoy Tea Towel calendar is now available! The fabric measures 21″ long by 18″ wide, but the edges are raw and will need to be finished:
All ships are denizens or frequent visitors of NYHarbor, and run on their own power. I love our historic vessels, but will save those for the Dead Ships Dinner Napkins series.
I love how the sailboats are so unpredictable, making loops, turns and spins. When the wind picks up, they get frenetic.
In contrast, the tugs and barges, plow through, steady and true to their course. It is like that in real time, but speeded up, it is very dramatic.
The tugmen sometimes call the sailboats “mosquitos” or “fleas,” but everything looks like waterbugs to me.
This video was shot on saturday when the high number of commuter ferries do not run. The gay pride sailboats go by at the end.
Sorry, no sound. The slushing of the salty icewater is mesmerizing, but the camera picked up too much wind. This is taken just north of pier 40 on North River where the noble fireboat McKean and the beautiful steamship Lilac, the old USCG lighthouse tender are docked.
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.”
- “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:
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.
Schooner Lettie G. Howard:
Built: 1893 in Essex, Massachusetts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Docked at: North Cove, NY
Schooner Mary E.:
Docked at: City Island, NY
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!