Thursday, April 7, 2011

One week down, one to go.

This is a light scrap scow on Gate Lines as we're heading into the Hutchinson River. This configuration of tow involves using two lines from the main bitt on the aft deck up to the scow and keeping the scow right up close behind the tug. We do this when the scow is too high to see over or around, and when we have to bring it through narrow passes where there is no room for the boat to be alongside the tow. In this case, we had to maneuver through two bridges which only afforded about 6 0r 8 feet on either side of the scow. Being up close and using two lines from our pivot point to the corners of the barge ensures that the barge stays right behind the boat as we go through these narrow passages.

Geese are a common sight around the docks, they get used to a free meal now and then from the boats.

Finally, back to some real tug boating! I guess it's all real tug boating, but since before Christmas we had been dredge tending in Newark Bay, never getting more than about 2 miles from our home dock.
When we showed up for our hitch last Thursday, we were sent over to Claremont to do shifting work among the scrap scows there. this was because the tug that usually does it was in drydock.

As with many things, I really started to enjoy it once we got into the thick of it. It is a bit more intense than some of the other work I've done around here, in that a typical day will consist of a dozen or more more moves within the yard. It's close quarters, one part of the yard has a narrow, shallow canal - and other parts involve sliding the scows in between other pieces of equipment and this requires both deckhands to be up on the scow to handle lines and give steering directions. Because of this, we were "off watches" - working a regular 10 hour day and getting our rest at night like normal workaday folks. I am not really too fond of that arrangement, as I've grown accustomed to watching the world go by 6 hrs. at a time while at work.

So we did that until Tuesday, then we got back on the scrap runs. This is great because it gets us out and about in the harbor. the first run was from Claremont up to the the Bronx river, where we exchanged a light (empty) scow for a loaded one. Boy was it great to be out in the bay again, up through the East River and Hell Gate to Hunts Point and then back down to Claremont. The running joke for the past few months was whether or not we could find these places, or know what to do once we got there.

Things are humming along here on the Brian, we've been suffering some crew problems, which isn't all that uncommon in the business, but we're soldiering on.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Almost ready for some paint!

I think tomorrow I'll be ready to get some paint on the decks finally. Strangely enough, I'm really enjoying this work. It's been three days now of scrape, sand, and vacuum. I'm beginning to see now why some people become so attached to their boats. I'm generally not a real go getter when it comes to maintenance, I much prefer to run boats and leave that stuff to the deck hands, but this past few days has instilled a pride of ownership and a sense of accomplishment. Like I might have said in an earlier post, I'm totally psyched to have a decent looking boat this season. I've got just a little more prepping to do to in the A.M. I thought I was all done today, but there are some areas that looked okay from one angle, but closer inspection shows that they aren't quite ready yet. I'm really focusing on trying to get it as faired and smooth as I can before I rush the paint. To think, I was trying to sell the boat this winter. I think I'm beginning to embrace the "go small, go now" philosophy. Smaller sails, smaller docking fees, smaller upkeep, I'm digging it!

I've been following some cruising blogs, which are very inspirational and entertaining. and

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More sanding/scraping/chipping

I got in another good day of sanding and prep work for painting the deck and coach roof. I think one more day of prep, and I'll be ready to paint! That deck was some nasty! I can't wait to see that first coat of primer go on.

Moving day tomorrow - the Uncle Buck era is over, on to the next chapter.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Catching up

I spent some time down at the boat yard yesterday, where I was reacquainted with the "rule of threes". This states that any project one does on a boat is going to cost three times as much and take three times as long as originally thought. I thought I was going to do a little sanding on my decks, and then open up a gallon of paint and go to town. What actually happened though is another matter. I spent five hours sanding and scraping, and sanding and scraping some more. I'm about a quarter of the way through the prep work before I will be ready to put some paint on. There is a lot of stubborn, chipped paint on the decks. It almost looks like somebody just slapped some paint on the thing without worrying too much about proper surface preparation. I'm going to need to get a wire wheel to get at some of it. there are a bunch of nooks and crannies around the toe rail that I can't get at with the sander, and hand sanding and scraping it would just take way too long and not really get at the heart of the matter. I hope I can get this little project done before the 31st, when I have to go back to work for 2 weeks! I am totally psyched to have a decent looking boat this summer.

On the work front, my new license came back from the NMC. It was waiting in my mail when I got home. It isn't a big piece of paper anymore, it is all contained in a little passport-sized book now. The MMD is in there too, so I don't have to keep track of a license (how were we supposed t0 keep them in good shape in a sea bag anyways) and a separate ID card. It's all one thing now, and goes right next to my passport, hardly takes up any room, and I stuffed them in a zip-loc baggie to keep them dry. So now I can leave this big clunky binder at home, I need to figure out a workable solution for my radio operators license though. Why does that have to be a big 8"x11" paper instead of a wallet sized card?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Mexican Fisherman

The Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The American then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you will run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

-- Author Unknown

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