Some things never change…
June 17, 2012 by captbbrucato
It’s been a couple of years since I was working on a conventional tug. I’ve been in the ATB world up to my eyeballs for the last eight years and I look at these temporary duty assignments with a mixed view. Although I love getting back to basics and exercising my skill sets, nothing grates on me worse than having my boat in the yard and me not being there to get the things I need done “my way”.
That said, I can’t worry about two boats at a time so the focus is presently on my current assignment, the tug Franklin Reinauer. So named for one of our late founding fathers and built for the company in 1980 or so. Not a large tug by today’s standards but still a little bulldog of a boat. She’s equipped with a nice little tow winch and a decent amount of horsepower. A five man crew and enough work to keep time flying by at a respectable rate. With quarters a lot tighter than those on the Nicole, she’s kinda tiny really but comfortable in a cozy kind of way. Really cozy once you get in the upper house, basically a box on a stick.
Not so long ago she was one of the coast boats. Making runs anywhere and everywhere towing up to 70,000 bbl barges.
The view from the Franklin’s upper house of the RTC 28’s notch…
The work is now mostly assist work with an occasional barge delivery in either Newtown Creek, Jamaica Bay or Sewaren NJ. We made a trip to each during my few days aboard with a surprise or two.
Surprise number one; It turns out is that Newtown Creek now has a community of sailboats moored along the creek’s crumbling bulkheads outside of the Pulaski Bridge, I can’t help but doubt they’re costing the boat owners anything in the way of dock fees. It’s more than a bit amusing to me that it’s becoming a mecca for gypsy boat owners finding cheap wharfage for an expensive hobby. I hate to see what might become of these opportunists when a windy day and breakaway scow have their way with their fiberglass hulls. I can just imagine the splintering sound of hulls under the bow of a runaway 300 ton scrap scow.
Surprise number two; Who knew that scrap yards harbored statuary? The picture of a few (recovered?) statues lining the wall of the reclamation center in Greenpoint. Very artsy. And finally, no real surprise to find that small vessels still insist on taking the same draw of the Jamaica Bay Subway Bridge as an inbound tow (with a fair tide). Even if they’re law enforcement, some things never change.
I expect to be back in the ATB world soon, until then I’m enjoying my little piece of regular tugboating immensely. I especially liked nursing a light barge in push gear across Coney Island Channel this morning. I had almost forgot what it was like “sweet-talking the tow” across the channel when a swell was running. Good stuff.