Author Archives: Rick Spilman

PortSide NewYork & the Tanker Mary A. Whalen Have Found A Home!

Great news. PortSide NewYork and the tanker Mary A. Whalen have found a long-term berth at Brooklyn’s Atlantic basin. For the last several years, the non-profit based on the historic tanker has not had a berth accessible to the public. … Continue reading

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Kirkus Starred Review of The Shantyman

The Shantyman was recently reviewed by Kirkus Reviews. I am pleased to say that gave it a Kirkus Star. What does that mean? (I didn’t know either.) “The Kirkus Star is one of the most prestigious designations in the book … Continue reading

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Coming Home to USCG Cutter Lilac — A Voice Tube, the Wheel and the Builder’s Plate

Sometimes restoring a historic ship involves starting at the keel and working up, or the deck and working down.  And sometimes it involves rediscovering the ship one piece at a time.  That was the case this year when three missing … Continue reading

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Shipstrikes & Blue Whales — A Whale Too Large?

There is good and bad news about California blue whales. The good news is that the number of whales along the west coast of North America has rebounded to close to levels prior to whaling.  The bad news is that … Continue reading

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Captain Kidd’s Treasure Found in Madagascar? The Legendary Treasures of Captain Kidd

Earlier this month, salvors reported finding a 50 kg silver bar off the coast of Madagascar, which they believed to be part of Captain Kidd‘s treasure lost in the sinking of the Adventure Galley in 1698.  The salvors are confident that they will … Continue reading

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Star Clippers Building World’s Largest Square-Rigged Passenger Ship

Exciting news! Star Clippers is now building what will be the world’s largest square-rigged passenger ship.  The new ship, the fourth in the Star Clippers fleet, is expected to launch mid-2017.  Modeled after the five masted France II of 1912, the ship … Continue reading

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Sonya Baumstein Rowing Across the Pacific Alone

In 2012, Sonya Baumstein, biked from Mexico to San Francisco. In 2013 she used a standup paddleboard to travel across the Bering Strait. In the winter of 2011, she rowed 2,600 miles with three male rowers from Spain to Barbados. She … Continue reading

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Fleet Week 2015 in New York Harbor

Fleet Week 2015 kicked off with with a parade of three U.S. Navy ships, four U.S. Naval Academy yard patrol boats, and two U.S. Coast Guard cutters. More than 1,800 servicemen and women are participating, and activities and events will … Continue reading

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Restoring the Wavertree 2015

If you are in the neighborhood tomorrow, Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 12:30PM, you may wish to stop by the “bon-voyage” party on Pier 17 in New York’s South Street Seaport for the Wavertree, as she slips her lines and is … Continue reading

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USS Constitution Shifts to Drydock

Last night, the USS Constitution was shifted to Dry Dock #1 at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. The ship, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, will be undergoing a three year refurbishment. USS Constitution, nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” entered service in the U.S. Navy on … Continue reading

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Lilac Arts Launching Tuesday, May 19, on ex-USCG Cutter Lilac

If you are near New York harbor tomorrow be sure to stop by from 6 — 9 PM, for a reception to launch the LILAC Art Series on the historic ex-Coast Guard Cutter Lilac.  The LILAC Art Series is a three month art exhibition by 25 … Continue reading

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“Paddle in Seattle” Protests Around Shell’s Polar Pioneer — Saying “Shell-No” to Arctic Drilling

Just over a week ago, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management granted conditional approval for Shell to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic. Last Thursday, the Polar Pioneer, a semi-submersible drilling rig, owned … Continue reading

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The Mystery of Beluga Whales in Narragansset Bay

Almost a week ago, three beluga whales were spotted in Rhode Island’s Narraganset Bay. Normally the white whales would be expected to stay much farther north.  Teams of scientists from the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration watched video of … Continue reading

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12,000 Visitors to STV Oliver Hazard Perry in Newport

From May 9th through 13th, Oliver Hazard Perry, the largest civilian Sailing School Vessel in the US, was host to 12,000 visitors during the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Newport, RI.  The contrast between the new tall ship and the … Continue reading

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Rebuilding the Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch

Last November, we posted about the restoration of the schooner Nathaniel Bowditch, by its new owners, Noah and Jane Barnes at the Lyman Morse Boatbuilders yard in Thomaston. Here is a short article and video about the rather extensive rebuilding of the … Continue reading

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U.S.C.G. Cutter Lilac Re-Opens May 19th with Lilac Arts Series

The U.S.C.G. Cutter Lilac, America’s only steam-powered lighthouse tender, is reopening on May 19th at her berth on Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 at West Street and N. Moore Street in New York. This season, the historic ship will host … Continue reading

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Swedish Singing Sailor to Russian Subs — ‘This Way if You Are Gay’

In the general category of “you can’t make this stuff up,” the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS), a group dedicated to the study and promotion of peace, released details of their “Singing Sailor Campaign.” Last October, we posted about a … Continue reading

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Diving Pigs Join Dock Dogs and Diving Horses

A few years ago, we posted about a new competitive sport in which dogs compete by jumping off docks. Apparently, the competitions are continuing. The DockDogs website describes it as the “The World’s Premier Canine Aquatics Competition.” As no other canine … Continue reading

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The End of Falls of Clyde? Too Many Broken Promises?

The State of Hawaii has notified the Friends of Falls of Clyde, the organization responsible for rescuing the historic ship of the same name, that the state plans to terminate its permit which allows the ship to be docked for free.  “They … Continue reading

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Sailors’ Tattoos on Mother’s Day

Sailors choose their tattoos for various reasons. Among the most popular sailor tattoos are anchors, hearts and swallows.  Not infrequently, “Mom” also made an appearance as a reminder of loved ones and home.  On Mother’s Day it seems appropriate to … Continue reading

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