Tag Archives: Boats

Close

By Vladimir Brezina

When kayaking in New York Harbor, you can’t avoid getting close—

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A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Close.

Tugboat Race 2015

By Vladimir Brezina

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Ah, the familiar first signs of Fall: the first crisp days and chilly nights, trees beginning to turn color here and there, migrating geese honking overhead…

And, of course, the Tugboat Race.

Tugboat Race 49Every year on Labor Day Sunday, the Working Harbor Committee brings together, in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan, a collection of New York Harbor tugs—those that can spare a rare half-day off work—to engage in

Tugboat Race 73various feats of tugboat strength: a race, nose-to-nose pushing contests, a line-throwing competition, and, for the kids as well as hyper-competitive tugboat captains, a spinach-eating contest.

We’ve attended the last three years, and written quite a bit about the occasion (in 2012, 2013, and 2014). So let’s go straight to the photos of this year’s event, the 23rd Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition!

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Move

By Vladimir Brezina

Move!

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No, you move!

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In NYC, gridlock doesn’t just happen on land…

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Scenes from this year’s Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition. Many more photos to come!

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Move.

Tugboat Races, Take Three

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Johna Till Johnson

Tugboat Races 2014

Photogenic tug

The day wasn’t looking good.

This was the third year we’d planned to go to the Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition, but the day didn’t start well. It dawned dark and gloomy, with the threat of rain—the kind of day on which, despite your best intentions, you struggle to get out of bed.

Worse, Vlad, who’d been under the weather for a few days, couldn’t go.

So even though we’d already purchased tickets, I wasn’t enthusiastic about attending the race.  I had so many chores to do… not to mention work… and steaming coffee and a comfortable couch beckoned.

At the last minute, though, I threw my maritime radio and camera into a backpack, poured some coffee into a thermos, and set off downtown.

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Travel Theme: Orange, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Orange.

As we travel around New York Harbor in our kayaks, we see quite a bit of orange. Orange is, of course, the premier color for high visibility, and many warning signs, buoys, floating booms, parts of barges and ships, are bright orange.

But there is just one large boat in the harbor—actually, a whole fleet of them—that, from bow to stern, top to bottom, is entirely orange: the Staten Island Ferry.

White seems to be the most common color for ferries everywhere, and most other ferries in New York Harbor are white. Originally, the Staten Island Ferries were white, too. But in 1926 the color was changed, indeed to make the ferries more visible in fog and snow, to reddish-maroon, and then later to the present “municipal orange.” Today, the orange Staten Island Ferries are iconic—almost as iconic as the Statue of Liberty.

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Staten Island Ferry 2

After a couple of close encounters, Johna is especially wary of the Staten Island Ferry. It’s hard to avoid it. We have to cross its path, sometimes twice, on almost every trip through the harbor. It moves fast and it always seems to be where we don’t want it to be.

And so, we are always scanning the water for that big orange boat.

Sometimes, we come upon it docked, with passengers still getting on, so we know we have at least a few minutes to sneak past and get safely out of its way before it departs.

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Sometimes it’s too late—we have to wait. But it gives us a chance to admire the beast close up.

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Staten Island Ferry 7

And sometimes, we have to rub our eyes and look again. A Staten Island Ferry coming down the East River? “A planet might as well leave its orbit.”

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Staten Island Ferry 9

Fortunately, Johna has not developed a fear of other kinds of oranges

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Fray.

Rival tugboats enter the fray in NYC’s Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition.

They engage in single combat…

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Gage Paul Thornton vs. Vulcan III

… as well as a general melee

Four against one: the Millers surround Gage Paul Thornton!
A Miller melee

More photos from the 2012 and 2013 Races are here and here. And the 2014 Race is coming up in just one week, on Sunday, August 31st. We’ll be there!

Kayaks Under the Keel

By Vladimir Brezina

Sea kayaking, most of the time, is about wide open waters… But, paradoxically, kayakers also can’t resist exploring tight spaces. They poke the nose of their boat into every sea cave they come across, for instance.

Urban paddling is a bit different. Instead of sea caves, we have low bridges, tunnels, passages under piers.

And now and again, we even get the chance to paddle under another boat…

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… to create our own sea-cave experience

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