Tugboats of the Waterford Tugboat Roundup
Many of these boats are at each Tugboat Roundup but not all boats are able to make it up every year. It's always good to remember schedules change and sometimes boats listed cannot break out of their working schedule.
Atlantic Hunter II (Tug of the Year, 2017) Tug Frances (Tug of the Year, 2016) Tug Cheyenne (Tug of the Year, 2015!) Tug C.L. Churchill (2014 Tug of the Year) USCG Tug Wire (2012 Tug of the Year) Tug Cornell Tug Francis Pennsy Barge Lehigh Valley Barge #79 Gov'r Cleveland Grand Erie Tug Margot A C.D. Perry Boat Rebecca-Ann Golden Re'al Tug Urger Tug 44 8th Sea Tug Waterford Caldwell Belle Tug Buffalo Spirit of Albany And the mini-tugs! Thimble TooT-TooT What-a-Tripp Atlantic Hunter Dragonfly
Some Background on Boats of The Waterford Tugboat Roundup Through the Years (Note: Not all of the Tugs listed here visit every year)
Atlantic Hunter II
This classic, working model of a 1920's NYC railroad tug has been named the Tug of the Year for 2017. Based just outside of Boston, the Atlantic Hunter II is the only trailerable tugboat we've bestowed this honor to!
It's a bit of a departure from the Roundup's tradition of honoring the large, steel working tugs of the Hudson River and NYS Canal System. But, as these tugs are rounded up for this annual Tugboat rodeo, the Atlantic Hunter II graciously serves as a de-facto leader of the mini-tug contingent - an important part of this annual festival.
Captain Ben Grudinskas has always had an affinity for those old railroad tugs and a few years ago, decided to build one. The 30', diesel powered, hand-made Atlantic Hunter II is the result. Ben said he looked at some old pictures, lofted the boat and set to work - without plans. Nearly everything had to be fashioned or worked by hand, modifications made to engine stringers, steering systems, plumbing and electrical. The fiberglass boat is hand laid-up over wood and steel. The bow puddin' is handmade from hundreds of feet of line.
An annual visitor to the Roundup, the boat is as much a tradition in the past several years as its larger cousins, each boasting thousands of horsepower to the Atlantic Hunter II's 100 hp Yanmar diesel.
The Tugboat Roundup's Tug of the Year in 2015.
The Tug Cheyenne was built by Ira S. Bushey of Brooklyn in 1965 as the Glenwood for service on the NYS Canals. Like many canal tugs of her era, she was outfitted with a hydraulic pilot house that would raise for increased visibility, and lower to clear the bridges of the Canal System. In 1970, the boat was acquired by Spentonbush Towing and renamed Cheyenne. Also in the 70's, Amerada Hess bought the boat. Later, sold to Empire Harbor Marine which became "Albany Port Ventures."
In 2009, this single-screw, 1,800 hp tug was bought by Donjon Marine, one of the Roundup's long time sponsors.
Cheyenne is approved for Coastwise Unrestricted towing. It is 84.5 feet LOA, draws 12.6 feet and is 25 feet wide. It measures 146 gross tons and 99 net tons. Most of its current work is in New York Harbor, the channels in New Jersey (the canaller design comes in handy for that) and coastal towing. The boat just came out of a 6 month re-work in the yards.
The Tug Crow was built by Ira S. Bushey of Brooklyn, NY for service on the NYS Barge Canal. Like many canal tugs of her era, she was outfitted with a hydraulic pilot house that would raise for increased visibility, and lower to clear the bridges of the Canal System. Sadly, the Crow was retired, although many parts were salvaged just prior to scrapping.
Tug Herbert P. Brake
The Herbert P. was built by hand by the late Capt. Bart Brake of Empire Harbor Marine from recycled steel. Captain Brake, a recipient of the Canal Lifetime Achievement Award, is being honored at this year's Roundup for his life of dedication to the maritime industry and to events like the Tugboat Roundup. The venerable and utilitarian Herbert P. is reminiscent of the canal tugs of old in that she has a hydraulic retractable wheelhouse, and modern in the sense that her bow is adorned with two pushing knees.
The Tug Chancellor was built in 1938 by Ira S. Bushey of Brooklyn, NY for service on the New York State Canal System. She was not originally outfitted with a hydraulic pilothouse, but one was added later. She is currently in the stewardship of the Waterford Maritime Historical Society. She was donated to WMHS by North River Tugboat Museum in 2004. The museum had received the vessel from the storied Coyne/McHugh family in 2002. The McHughs, descendants of the Coyne family of Erie Canal and New York State Barge Canal fame, had been faithful stewards of the vessel for years. The Chancellor retains most of her original features including her original Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine and twin stacked appearance. She is listed on the National Historic Register and will continue to undergo restoration by the museum. The WMHS received a provisional charter from New York State in July of 2005.
The Tug Waterford is the second of two maintenance tugs by that name owned and operated by the New York State Canal Corporation. Her predecessor was a wooden tug, but the current Tug Waterford is made of steel. The Waterford was built as part of a contract for 4 Canal tugs in 1951 by Erie Iron Works of Erie, PA. She is 52 feet in length and draws 6.5 feet of depth. Originally powered by a baby Atlas diesel engine, her more recent Waukesha diesel engine has just been replaced with an inline 6 cylinder Caterpillar. The Waterford is named after and berthed in the home port of the Tugboat Roundup.
Tug Governor Cleveland
The Tug Governor Cleveland and her sister ship, the Tug Governor Roosevelt, were acquired in 1927 as ice breaking tugs for use on the New York State Canal System by the Department of Public Works. They were both originally steam powered, one reason for their large size. Now diesel, they continue to ply the waters of New York State as maintenance vessels for the New York State Canal Corporation. In her heyday, the Cleveland was the flagship of the Canal and sported a large canvas top for Canal inspections. She remains as graceful as ever, and her lifeboat gives her a quaint, if less functional, appearance. The Governor Cleveland was named the 2003 Waterford Tugboat Roundup "Tug of the Year."
The Tug Urger is the flagship of the New York State Canal System. Acquired in 1922, she was originally built as the Henry J. Dornboss, a fishing tug on Lake Michigan. Built in 1901 by Johnston Brothers in Ferrysburg, MI by the prominent Ver Duin fishing family, she eventually became known as the finest vessel in the local fishing fleet. In fact, so seaworthy was she that she was used for rescue missions by a forerunner of today’s U.S. Coast Guard: the U.S. Lifesaving Service. Her original steam plant has been replaced by an Atlas Imperial diesel engine. This historic machinery is a “direct reversing” engine, and has no transmission. The engine must be started in either reverse or forward. Additionally, the Captain has no direct control of the engine. He (or she) must ring the engineer for engine commands using a system of bells. Thus, the Urger is known as a “bell boat.” The Urger retired from active maintenance duty several times over the years, most recently in 1986. In 1993 she was resurrected as a teaching tug and Canal ambassador by the State Council on Waterways under the command of Captain Schuyler Meyer. This program is continued today by the Canal Corporation. Slender and long (at 73 feet), the Urger continues to beguile and enchant all along the waters of New York State.
Spirit of Albany
The Spirit of Albany is owned by the Albany Port District Commission and based and operated in the Port of Albany, NY. It is primarily used for inspections of the Port District's waterfront facilities and as a work platform for wharf repairs. Prior to the Albany Port District Commission's acquisition it served the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District as the survey boat "Sentry" in New York Harbor for over thirty years. Built by Pasch Marine in 1966 the boat measures 64' LOA, and is powered by 2 12V71 Detroit Diesel engines for propulsion and a 453 Detroit Diesel engine for electrical power.
Tug Benjamin Elliot
The Ben Elliot was built in 1960 and has been working ever since. She was acquired in 1994 by Troy Town Dock and Marina/ NYS Marine Highway to increase the company’s towing ability. The Ben, at 55’ overall, is always a crowd favorite at the Roundup and is a former “Tug of the Year” and “Theodore Tugboat Floating Friend” winner. Her days moving gravel scows have not impugned her grace or beauty, which belie the brute force provided by her 2 inline Detroits. Capt. Rob Goldman is an ardent sponsor of the Tugboat Roundup and the mighty Ben is not an uncommon sight at Waterford’s docks.
Tug 8th Sea
The 8th Sea is a former U.S. Army ST, design 320, and a real crowd pleaser. Capt. Bill Curry, a character as closely associated with the the Tugboat Roundup as John Glen is with spaceship driving, has restored her lovingly and worked her for many years on Lake Champlain. However, increasingly stringent regulations in the State of Vermont relative to pollution, safe boating, and basic decency have led Capt. Curry to Waterford, and the greater eastern gateway area. While the 8th Sea has become a common sight along the Waterford waterfront, there is certainly nothing common about Captain Curry, the sight of whom sometimes inspires local residents to close shutters and lock the doors. Seriously, Waterford is as enamored of Capt. Curry as he of Waterford, and the 8th Sea, occasionally accompanied by an odd-shaped mystery steam tug which shall go unnamed, is the flagship of Waterford's social hour. The magnificient and mighty 8th Sea, 45’ overall, works part time in the NYS Marine Highway fleet.
Tug Mame Faye
Perhaps the most interesting aspect to this small work boat is her name. Aside from conjuring up images of Troy’s seedy past, this diminutive pusher tends a small crane barge in conjunction with Troy Town Dock and Marina/ NYS Marine Highway towing and salvage operation.
Fireboat John J. Harvey
Built in 1931, the John J. Harvey at 130' and 268 net tons, is among the most powerful fireboats ever in service. She has five 600 HP diesel engines, and has the capacity to pump 18,000 gallons of water per minute. Her pumps are powerful - enough so that when she and the George Washington Bridge were both brand new, she shot water over the bridge's roadway. She was retired by the New York City Fire Department in 1994 and bought at auction by her current owners in 1999. She was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2000.
Tug W.O. Decker
The 2008 Tug of the Year, the W.O. Decker is a small wooden tug which saw service for years on the New York State Canal System and adjoining waterways. She was originally steam powered and operated primarily in New York Harbor and Long Island Sound. She was sold to the Decker family in the 50s, when she acquired her current name. Currently, she is owned and operated by the South Street Seaport Museum in New York, NY.
The Tug Buffalo was built in 1922 as a steam tug for the New York State Canals. She was sold into private hands sometime in the 1950s, and re-powered in 1957. Her current engine is a historic Cooper-Bessemer direct reversing engine, built in 1931. The Buffalo is one of a dwindling number of "bell boats" still in operation. That is to say, the Captain has no direct control of the engine from the pilothouse and instead signals the engineer via a system of bells. She was donated back to New York State in 1996 by her most recent owner, Capt. Morris Reels of Brewerton, NY. Currently on loan to the Town of Waterford from the New York State Canal Corporation, she has been lovingly restored by a group of dedicated Waterford volunteers.
The Frances was acquired and put into service in 2012 by NYS Marine Highway and is a workhorse. In years past, the boat was an assist tug in the Port of Albany. She had been faithfully piloted by Capt. Ralph Carpino. She iis a modern canal tug, complete with a hydraulic pilothouse and plenty of horsepower (1600). The picture shows the boat in a transition a few years ago, but can now be seen at the Roundup well polished and painted in the NYS Marine Highway corporate colors. Working year around with the Margot, Frances finds its routes throughout the Great Lakes, the NYS Canal System and the east coast,
Coast Guard Cutter Wire (WYTL-612)
The Coast Guard Cutter Wire is a 65 foot U.S. Coast Guard ice-breaking tugboat. She is categorized as a harbor assist tug, and was built by Barbor Shipyard in Maryland in 1963. She is powered by a Caterpillar D-379 diesel engine. Like only a few other Coast Guard 65 foot tugs, she has a "C-Class" designation, meaning her after house is extended. The Wire is no stranger to Waterford, which considers itself to be the vessel's home away from home. She is home-ported on the Hudson River in Saugerties, NY, and carries a crew of seven.
The Wire is the 2012 Tug of the Year at the Roundup.
The Caprice is a 40’ Pilgrim owned by John Jermano, a past Commodore of the Schenectady Yacht Club, and former Director of New York State Canals, who is loved and admired by Canallers far and wide. John oversaw the early days of the re-birth of New York’s canals, and continues to be a friend and advocate of the state’s waterways. John is a former winner of the Waterford Tugboat Roundup Canal Lifetime Achievement Award, along with many other significant awards and recognitions. The Caprice is a wonderful tug, with a wonderful skipper.
This Oyster Bay, Long Island built "super canaller" is a recent acquisition for NYS Marine Highway Transportation Co., a company specializing in marine transportation services on the NYS Canal System, affiliated with Troy Town Dock and Marina. She has already become fairly ubiquitous on the waters of the Canal, and attended last year's Roundup. She is rumored to be passing through during this year's Roundup at some point with a load of G.E. Turbines - which should make for quite a picture. Built originally as the Hustler II, she was owned most recently by Kosnac Floating Derrick on Staten Island.
The pleasure tug ALOHA has cruised most all the waters of New York State and Eastern Canada, found her way through the canals and lakes to Chicago, through the Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers to the Tenn-Tom Canal and out to the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile, AL. She has been through the Okeechobee waterway and cruised the Florida Keys as well as Grand Bahama and Abacos Islands. She also makes an annual round trip between New York and Florida. Owners Barb & Milt Bloomer are both Past Commanders of Lake George Power Squadron and Milt is Past Commodore of Schenectady Yacht Club.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad Tug Cornell, built by Jakobson Shipyard, Oyster Bay Long Island, NY was the first of six tugboats built to transport their railroad barges across NY Harbor. She operated on NY Harbor from her time of completion in 1950 until the late 1970's after the LVRR was dissolved. Her new home after that was in Boston where she was used as an assist boat for Boston Towing until 2003, at which time she was sold to her first private owner in Northern Maryland.
A unique feature of the LVRR Tug Fleet was their use of Diesel-Electric propulsion in all their boats. This style of propulsion could provide the same smooth, consistent power as the steam engines used previously in tugs but with much greater efficiency. This allows for very precise control at very slow speeds which is something needed to navigated the busy waters of NY Harbor. There is also another unique feature of the Cornell (and her sister the Lehigh) that separated them even further from other RR tugs. Both were designed specifically to operated in the Harlem River around Manhattan, which has a minimum bridge height clearance of 25' at MHW. Cornell and Lehigh where designed with a 24' air draft to allow passage under all of the bridges without having them open, something even the other four sister boats of the LVRR fleet couldn't do.
Built in Sturgeon Bay, WI in 1941, the Shenandoah is 49.3' in length, with a beam of 14' and draft of 6'. She is owned and operated by Intracoastal Transportation which specializes in East Coast and NYS Canal work, under the stewardship of Captain Pat Folan. Her Cummins engine delivers 520 HP through a twin disc 514 3:1 gear to a 48" wheel. She and her well thought of crew are becoming increasingly ubiquitous on the waters of the Canal System.
Built by Delaware Marine in 1982, the Odin has become a staple in New York Harbor. Her Detroit Diesels deliver 1880 HP, and she is equipped with a retractable pilothouse. She is 73.33' overall in length with a 27.56' beam and an 8' draft.
Motorship Day Peckinpaugh
The first vessel designed and built for the NYS Barge Canal was the Day Peckinpaugh - built in Duluth in 1921 as the ILI (Interwaterways Lines Incorporated) 101, and subsequently named the Richard J. Barnes. The Barnes saw service hauling coal along the east coast in WWII and it is said she drew fire from a German submarine. In 1958 she was purchased by Erie Navigation and given the name Day Peckinpaugh. Day Peckinpaugh was a well known Great Lakes shipping magnate whose brother Roger was the youngest player/manager in the history of the New York Yankees. The Day Peckinpaugh hauled cement until her retirement in 1994. In 2005, she was rescued literally from the scrap heap by the New York State Museum, the New York State Canal Corporation, the Canal Society of New York State, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the New York State Marine Highway Transportation Company. Owned and lovingly cared for now by the New York State Museum, she will become a floating museum and classroom, and is the largest artifact ever acquired by the museum. 2006 marks the Day Peckinpaugh's first visit to the Tugboat Roundup.
The Betty June is a war baby, built during World War II as a general purpose harbor tug (and specifically as a "side-hauler," a boat which makes up "on the hip"). The Adams Boat Company of Madison, Indiana rebuilt her in 1970 as a light work tug for the Ohio River and it held that role for 20 years. Bought and converted to a yacht in the early '90's, she was well cared for through the early 2000's. After another sale was seriously neglected until 2008. Her current owners, in Castleton, have spent a lot of time restoring this 36’ steel, 15-ton boat and she is a favorite on the Hudson River and the Tugboat Roundup. In 2012, more than 500 people took a tour of this neat, trim vessel with a long, varied and work-horse history
Tug Gowanus Bay
Tug Gowanus Bay, former Army ST-2201, was built in 1956 and served in Fort Eustis, VA until 2002. Currently moored in Kingston, NY, the 65-foot, single-screw tug is powered with a 600-horsepower direct-reversing Atlas Imperial diesel, the brute strength of which some tugboats participating in the 2005 nose-to-nose competition underestimated, much to their chagrin.
The Gowanus Bay is the Tug of the Year for the 2013 Tugboat Roundup.
Tug 44 is a 34' American Tug, the world's best pilothouse trawler. She was the 44th one built by Tomco Marine Group of LaConner, Washington. She is a "fast" trawler, able to cruise at 18+ knots (20+ mph) fully loaded, and sleeps 4 comfortably. There is a 5kw (41 amps) Onan generator and central air and heat, and a very nice complete kitchen with stove, oven, double sink, fridge and microwave. Her single engine, a Cummins 370B turbo diesel rated at 370 hp, consumes only 2 gallons per hour when loafing along the canals, yet still has the power to run from a storm in open waters in the Atlantic Ocean. Tug 44 was built and delivered in June 2003, and has logged about 2,000 miles per year, mostly in the Hudson River and the New York Canal System including the Erie Canal and Champlain Canal.