Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

FGS Bonn

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/03/13

Berlin-class replenishment ship FGS Bonn steamed as quietly out of the harbor yesterday as she entered, almost two weeks ago.


Name: FGS (Federal German Ship) Bonn 
Built: (four dockyards!) Fr. Lürssen Werft, Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft (deckhaus), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Peene-Werft (hull), Emder Werft und Dockbetriebe.
christened: June 2012
commissioned: September 2013

Length: 570.9 ft (174 m)
Width: 78.7 ft (24 m)
Draft:   24.3 (7.4 m)
Load displacement: about 18,000 t
Speed: 20 knots
Capacity: 10,560 kW (14,357 hp)
Endurance period: 45 days
Two 24T cranes
Crew: capable of carrying 237
Homeport: Wilhelmshaven, Germany’s only deep water port, and its largest naval base.

  • Named after German cities where German parliaments are, the ships carry supplies, fuel, provisions, ammunition and provide medical services.
    Powered by two diesel engines, the Berlin-class frigates feature in-flight refuelling-capabilities (HIFR) and replenishment-at-sea (RAS) systems in accordance with NATO regulations.

She had just come back from a week in Halifax, her design will be used for two Royal Canadian Navy supply ships to be built by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. (After the Coast Guard’s polar ice breaker. Or before. If at all.)

What is wrong with us? Our NATO partner and alliance’s vessel comes to town for a good stay but there is no official city memo nor press release, no hoopla. The ship is all dressed up but no where was there a welcoming oompah band, a red carpet soiree, a nyc kaffeklatsch/kvetch, a luau farewell…Nichts! The locals kept watch. Well, we hope you had a good time, Sailors!

Bonn voyage!

A1413aaFGS Bonn at Brooklyn’s pier 7

 thx, Walt and JED!
hallo, Rembert!

Cape Henlopen

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/03/09


“I was a  deckhand on her from 1999 to 2003, and a relief mate from 2004 to 2011.

 She’s a tough old boat.  327 ft long.  You could stand at one end on a rough day and watch it twist in the swells.   As you know she landed at Normandy on D Day as the LST 510.    One of a small group of LSTs that actually returned from From the invasion.  LSTs were built as throw away vessels that were never intended to come back, so it’s amazing that she did, and even more amazing that she is still working.

Last year we took the WW II Vets out for a wreath laying. The mate and I found a vet standing on the car deck.  We asked him if he was alright.  And he told us that this was the spot he was standing on when he heard a torpedo skid along the bottom of the hull.  It did not explode and just bounced off of the bottom of the boat.”


Name: USS Buncombe County (LST-510)
Builder: Jeffersonville Boat and Machine Company, Jeffersonville, Indiana
Laid down: 27 September 1943
Launched: 30 November 1943
Commissioned: 31 January 1944
Decommissioned: 1 July 1946

Displacement: 1,625 long tons (1,651 t) light
3,640 long tons (3,698 t) full
Length: 328 ft (100 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draft:   Unloaded : 2 ft 4 in (0.71 m) forward 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) aft
Loaded : 8 ft 2 in (2.49 m) forward 14 ft 1 in (4.29 m) aft

Depth: 8 ft (2.4 m) forward 14 ft 4 in (4.37 m) aft (full load)
Propulsion: 2 × General Motors 12-567 diesel engines, two shafts, twin rudders
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Boats & landing craft carried: 2 LCVPs
Troops: Approximately 130 officers and enlisted men
Complement: 8-10 officers, 89-100 enlisted men
• 1 × single 3″/50 caliber gun mount
• 8 × 40 mm guns
• 12 × 20 mm guns

Now owned by Cross Sound Ferry Services.
Thank you, Birk, once crew of the lovely Cape Henlopen.
And thank you, Peconic Puffin, EastRiver, Tugster, Walt, Rembert & ODock for poetic contributions at the What Ship Is It game! Stay tuned next time for when someone has to post a ship and does not get back to finishing the ship nor naming it for over a week; you’re a great audience, thank you and good night!

laissez les bons temps rouler!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/03/04

Tugster: “What’s wrong with us?”

indeed. Why are we here? why are we not back in New Orleans?! damn fools.


Two years ago, we went. We watched tugs and ships. We stalked shipyards. We ate beignets. I pulled a few strokes in the Mississippi, by Algiers (but did not put my head in the water. There IS a limit to a gal’s love.)

Sigh, it beckons still. Wishing we were there. Hello, there Friends!

And! should you not be one of the lucky ones with a tug to run to, there is an app to help you find a head: airpnp, where the savvy businessfolks even tell you that there is all day happy hour at Capedeville.

happy Binche, KarnevalFastnachtFaschingMartedí Grasso. Carne Vale, vaguely for “so long & goodbye to meat.” Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my-oh!…me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou…!


little bear

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/03/03

dischbear dischcrane


Warren Disch: fair winds. His favorite tug was Little Bear, and he named the little skiff Pooh Bear. It was always special to pull up to his rigs because they had beautifully colors, crisp letters that spelled out lovely images, like a dredge called “Stepping Stone.” He was my boss’ mentor, and I had heard so much about him.





what ship is this?

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/02/28




hint: was there at D-Day…and is still running

sailors & teapots

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/02/14

happy VDay!


pieces o’eight

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/02/07

cutiewow. Search ‘pieces of eight’ and you will have more interesting facts than you can shake a leg at.

Tip o’ the grog to Justine and Anja for the inspiration…

tug Sea Lion

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/02/01
type: 1400 HP
built: 1980
length: 64.5 ft / 19.7 m
beam: 22 ft / 6.7 m
Many thanks to Bjoern of the NY Media Boat for being there to rescue.  Tugster photos of the tug here.

Fair winds, Pete

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/01/29
Fair winds, and clean harbors. Article here, more here.

Pete Seeger in 1975, protesting the dumping of PCBs in the Hudson River, sang to a group of children as the sloop Clearwater rode at anchor. Photo: Associated Press

tug Pushy

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/01/16


type: ?400 HP twin screw push boat
built: 1992? by Frank J. Weckesser, Southern MA
length: 26 ft / 7.9 m
beam: ? ft / –m
draft: ?ft / — m

drawn to scale where .25″ = 1′:


26′ tug = 6.5″
125′ barge = 31.25″
10′ wave = 2.5″

The story is herevery happy crew is safe.

thanks to Tugster: need an image or stats of a vessel? call Tugster.

Tagged with:

work boat – a mariner’s story

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/01/14

When I was first breaking into tug work, I taught sailing on the side for a company which also had a big motor yacht which people chartered for parties. One night, they asked me to drive it for a bachelor party, as the regular captain was not available.  My deckhand, a local sailor, dressed up in a funny little sailor suit. It was as you’d expect: booze, youngish men and a couple of strippers.  Nobody cared about the cruise, they just wanted to be out on the bay where nobody could see the goings on.

I was at the wheel, and the deckhand was seated on a cabinet nearby.   The stripper, wearing little more than stilettos, came prancing up the ladder to the wheelhouse.  The deckhand was expressionless, and in her bouncy voice, she said, “What’s the matter fellow, why the serious face?”

He remained deadpan and said, “I’m working.”

She stopped wiggling, went equally deadpan and said, “So am I.”

Then she turned around, put her party expression and wiggle back on, and pranced down the ladder back to the party.  It was the only memorable moment in an otherwise forgettable experience.

Thank you, Capt Daniel Porter!

foggy day on VHF

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/01/12
Yesterday morning, ice slowed down all the ferries approaching World Financial Ferry Terminal.
This morning: it was all ice and fog.


Little Lady crossing before Jay Michael pushing a crane barge.

On VHF radio: “(Name of tug), 14, can I get a visibility report? thank you.”

Voices, they were all speaking:

“I can see buoy 3 and 5, but not much beyond that.’
“Can you see them?”
“Yeah, you might want to look out, the Evergreen is right behind me.”
Little Lady and Captain Log communicate as they pass each other in complete greyness.
“There’s ice in Morris Canal.”
The buoys have been pushed around by ice and are off-station.

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!”

 circlelineBkynCircleline Brooklyn
I hope these passengers got sightseeing boat tickets for half-price.

Voices from the Kills:

“you waiting? what time did they say?”
“yeah, we’re waiting.”
“…leaving the Kills, docking at Hess Bayonne”

Voices from the anchorage:

“you heading over to Stapleton?”
“no, Governor’s, the jersey side.”
“Oh, ok,”
“…got a visual on you, one whistle…one whistle…”
“Yeah, Cap, I don’t have you on radar yet, but see you on the one.”

Voices from everywhere, mingling:

“…I’m coming off the range” “sorry, I thought you were taking the greens…”
“I don’t know what’s going on here.’
“…We’re going to make a hard right…”
Traffic calling individual tugs, requesting that they switch to 14.
At one point, the skies cleared and the radio fell silent. But it did not last long.
At night, the silhouette of CGC Sturgeon Bay passes southbound back to her berth in Bayonne, NJ; she’s has cleared the way for self-loading cargo ship Flintersky (flag: Netherland) to go up to Albany.
Fog, thick thick.
Warm, moist, balmy air,
Icy waters. Recipe for thick grey pea soup. Sneert!

waxing moon

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/01/05


The moon 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.


Waxing Cresent…Waxing Gibbous…Waning Gibbous…Waning Crescent
(this work has been released into the public domain by its author, Tomruen.)

Danke to my bud, Ray of Zurigo, for this tip, on that clear night in the Ticino so many moons ago.

cgc bainbridge island, southbound

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2014/01/03


USCGC Bainbridge Island (WPB-1343)

Built: Bollinger Machine Shop and Shipyard, Lockport, LA
Commissioned: September 20th, 1991
Class and type: Island Class
Displacement: 154 tons
Length: 110 ft (33.5 m)
Beam: 21 ft (6.4 m)
crew: 2 Officers, 1 CPO, 13 crew
homeport: Sandy Hook, NJ

more stats here. But, what are they serving for lunch?

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



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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.”


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