On Tugboats by Virginia Thorndike

By Virginia Thorndike

Tugboats carry a fascination not just for an individual who has labored aboard a vessel or round a harbor yet for lots of land-bound fogeys in addition. there's something approximately their chunky, strong construct and their usually dicy yet very important paintings that excites our curiosity and admiration. The captains and crews of the tugboats are justifiably pleased with what they do, and so they have a few nice tales to inform in regards to the ships and barges they tow or push; the harbors, storms, tides, and unsafe passages they have to negotiate; the unions; the pilots; the various designs and capabilties in their boats; and how the boats and their livelihood are irrevocably altering.

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Another six tugs from Moran and Winslow assisted on the final run up the Kennebec. AUTHOR PHOTO. Identification can get confusing because new owners often change the name of a boat. A former Mary L. McAllister is working for the Zenith Tugboat Company on the Great Lakes as the Seneca, for example. But there’s still a Mary L. McAllister out there earning her keep. Many owners, including McAllister itself, often reuse a name. McAllister has a tug in New York today that has been called the Marjorie McAllister, the Tracy Ann Witte, the Thor, and finally, when bought back by the McAllister company, the Mary L.

Moran is ready to launch. AUTHOR PHOTO. The eighth Z-drive tug that Washburn & Doughty built, the Captain Harry, was designed by Robert Allen. Since then, the yard has turned out several more tugs of Bruce’s design for Moran, Boston Towing & Transportation, and other companies from along the East Coast. Z-drives have become competitive in price with conventional propulsion systems of equivalent horsepower, Bruce says. This is because the price of transmissions for traditional tugs has been going up along with the prices of most equipment, while the price of Z-drives has benefited from economies of scale as more are being built.

The tug needs cross-sectional area to balance herself against the line, and she can turn the ship faster with the center of area forward, so azimuthing tractor escort tugs are being built with big box keels—skegs—forward. Yet the escort tug needs enough stability to keep herself upright and manageable, and with a skeg too far forward, the boat gets squirrelly and hard to steer. “It’s like a fat man in the bow of a canoe,” says Bruce. With protective tendering already in place on her bow, the Gramma Lee T.

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