the Haul Out of the Peking

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


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.


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.


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.)


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

The McAllister Responder moved to her port to tie on.


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.


(to be continued…)

11 Responses

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  1. […] artistic bowsprite infuses the lines and colors of Peking with new energy here, as she starts a series on the If looking for specific “word” in archives, search […]

  2. O Docker said, on 2009/03/15 at 12:51

    Nother good one. This is a funner way to learn nautical talk than any of the texts I was ever forced to read – and you always seem to come up with one or two terms I didn’t know about.

    One question about Oscar the crab, though. I get harmless, horrid, and spindley-legged, but how did they know he was horny?

  3. naveganteglenan said, on 2009/03/15 at 13:09

    Hola bowsprite. This last Easter I was trying to visit the Peking, with no much luck. Nevertheless I got a picture of her stern. If I had known of you today’s post I would have taken another picture of her bow, in order to compare with your wonderful watercolour 🙂

  4. Mage Bailey said, on 2009/03/15 at 20:52

    Lovely…….thank you.

  5. Michael said, on 2009/03/16 at 11:17

    Steel-hulled sailboats? I don’t know nothing.

    So it’s you to the coconut trees…have fun!

  6. Mage Bailey said, on 2009/03/22 at 13:26

    I was thinking of you yesterday as I doodled around the park. Enjoy your days outta here.

  7. John Paul XI said, on 2009/04/08 at 18:07

    I was at the Liverpool House this past week looking for the other laddie, you know, George Ringo, that was my matey oh so not long ago? They told me that he split. Well, I want you to know that I’m still together! I’m singing “Money, that’s what I want” on a Carnival Cruise Liner. When I give an audience, they get a performer, let me tell you. Well enough of the boat! I’m getting a landline to replace my halyard!

  8. Todd Follansbee said, on 2009/04/17 at 15:15

    AMAZING blog. this is just great!

  9. bowsprite said, on 2009/04/20 at 00:31

    tugster said, on 2009/04/07 at 12:16

    i love details as evidenced by the bb flag that wind was from west. cool! not sure there’s evidence for the ache though. i think this be like springtime . . . . no color right now, but soon hues will tint what’s now all bichromatic.
    seabart said, on 2009/04/07 at 15:34

    Simply beautiful, as ever…….
    Mage Bailey said, on 2009/04/09 at 11:49

    All these entries are simply grand stuff.
    Michael said, on 2009/04/09 at 13:09

    I like the flag as well! For closer windicators I like seeing how birds face the wind from power cables, the tops of poles etc. Wavertree will meet someone new.

  10. morris Canal said, on 2009/04/20 at 20:37

    I got a good time series of photos of her being tugged into the Piers on Her return “Voyage”.
    From 31st floor of 1 Wall St.( on Water St.)
    Do you want to see the pix?

  11. […] once owned by Heinz Schliewen, who also owned some of the P-liners, so ably illustrated by “you-know-who-of-the-cliff.”  Moshulu is one of five surviving Clyde-built barques, four if Falls of Clyde […]

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