Brooklyn Arrival.

By Peter Andrews, © 1998.

A relatively new four masted Bark, 'Kaiwo Maru' from Japan, built in 1989. Seen here making her way through the early morning New York Harbour fog on the 4th of July 1992, in New York's OP Sail parade of sail. To her right is the 'Shabab Oman', a Barquentine from Oman built in Scotland in 1971, followed by Norway's fully rigged ship 'Christian Radich'. To the left is 'Capitan Miranda' from Uruguay, built in 1930 in Cadiz, Spain.

"Perhaps a more appropriate name for the huge funnel of water between Connecticut and Long Island that eventually gushes past Manhattan at six knots when the tide turns, could be Lobster Pot Sound".



Well over two hundred vessels from all over the world converged on New York for Op Sail 92. Sailing up from Bermuda for her first visit to this global metropolis, the 'Eye of the Wind', unfortunately picked up a rope with her propeller from a marker buoy of a lobster pot, somewhere near New Rochelle. With one cylinder of the available eight of the ship's engine out of action, the remaining passage to Brooklyn presented a huge challenge to the skills of those in charge. The six knot tidal vortex of the East River presented the major obstacle between the ship and a safe mooring in Brooklyn. But an overnight engine rebuild was also needed to enable the ship to participate in the parade of sail the following morning. The story opens with a look at the disaster Alan Villiers had to endure when he first brought the 'Joseph Conrad' to New York back in the 1930's. Fortunately things were not as bad for the 'Eye', but personal boundaries for many were challenged. Faced with some difficult situations, key players on board worked together to successfully overcome the obstacles which enabled participation with the rest of fleet in parade of sail.

The Portuguese replica caravel, 'Boa Esperanca' was constructed after the success of the construction and the re-enactment voyage from Portugal to South Africa of the 'Bartolomeu Dias' in 1987-88. She was launched in 1990 and seen here in New York with the four masted bark, 'Kaiwo Maru'.

"While Villiers was stuck on shore during the harsh Winter's night, his ship parted from her chain in a high squall about three o'clock in the morning and was driven upon the Shore Road sea wall at 68th Street, in Bay Ridge Brooklyn".

Alan Villiers' "beautiful little ship" the 'Joseph Conrad' in the background at Mystic Sea Port Connecticut, June 1992.

"The following salvage operation performed in blizzard conditions was even more horrendous for Villiers and his crew as the weather and the tide rammed the ship, the salvage steamer and a float with an enormous crane and large storage tanks full of reclaimed fuel from another vessel, into the 69th Street Pier".

From the top of the World Trade Center, the U.S. Coast Guard's barque 'Eagle', seen departing Manhattan's South Street Seaport.

"Our passage down Long Island Sound on the second of July 1992 was difficult, but thankfully nothing like what Villiers had to endure. With a deadline to meet and no useful breeze to sail with, the 'Eye' had to motor its way through the maize of lobster pots towards her destination".

Sail handling on the 'Eye of the Wind' while making her way through the Cape Cod Canal.

"As sun was about to set, our luck had turned for the worse as one of those lobster pot lines succeeded in wrapping itself around the propeller, causing one of the pistons of the eight cylinder 'Gardener' to seize. The third mate Duncan dived down to cut the line from the propeller and Dan the engineer managed to get the engine running with one cylinder out of action, but with a significant reduction in power -- power desperately needed to get through Hell Gate and the East River".

A Nantucket Lightship making her way down the East River at dawn to her berth at the South Street Seaport, on the east side of lower Manhattan.

"Having been up all night, I was pretty tired, but it was also my first time to New York. Considering many New Yorkers' have not even had the chance to arrive in their city by boat down the East River, I wasn't going to miss out on this for the world".

The Italian fully-rigged, 'Amerigo Vespucci' with her beautiful rig and patchy brown sails that resemble a ghost ship as she glides through the New York fog.

"Our journey through the hourglass commenced while most of New York was either still in bed or just waking. All of a sudden, factories were replaced by multi-storey apartments on both sides and after passing under the Queensboro Bridge, the majestic Chrysler Building appeared followed by the biggest skate board ramp in the world, the UN Building".

The Danish Sail Training Vessel 'Georg Stage' (the replacement for the original 'Georg Stage' which was to become the 'Joseph Conrad'), under full sail and making her way up the East River towards Long Island Sound. This impressive sight was viewed from the Empire State Building.

"The passage which took some time appeared to pass so quick, but not as quick as the current that suddenly appeared from the tide change just before we reached the Brooklyn Bridge".

The 'Pride of Baltimore II' with her raked masts, narrow hull and huge sail area has little trouble sailing in light conditions. She is the successor to the original which was lost during a Mid Atlantic storm, taking the life of three and her captain in 1986. Seen here in Boston, July 1992.

"All of a sudden the pace changed from a leisurely one to a high speed plough past South Street Seaport and Pier 17, but it sure was better than being sucked back to Rikers Island".

On board 'Tradewind' at Brooklyn. This party was unfortunately broken up as U.S. Customs finally arrived after three days in order to clear the ship for customs.

"lunch for me was served in the engine room as Dan who also worked on the 'Bounty' back in Sydney, remembered my feeble attempts to maintain the abused outboard motors that belonged to the ship's Zodiac. And fair enough I thought as he had a huge job ahead of him and I doubt that he had much in the way of sleep. The assembly for the parade of sail was somewhere around daybreak off Ambrose Light following day".

The Downtown skyline of Manhattan is pretty impressive during the day or at night. Here, it provides a spectacular frame for those on the Brooklyn shore, of the forth of July fireworks over the mouth of the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey.

"All I can remember was climbing up onto deck and the first thing focused on was a replica of a seventeenth century caravel, 'Boa Esperanca' from Portugal, drifting out of a blanket of fog for a couple of moments before vanishing back into the clouds".


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Peter Andrews ©1998. All Rights Reserved. 


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Malolo Bound Part 1

Malolo Bound Part 2

The Eye of the Wind