Annual Great North River Tugboat Race

Friday, August 27, 2010

<p>Fifteen to 20 tugboats, the maritime 18-wheelers that normally dock ships and push barges, will roar down the Hudson River Sunday morning, September 5, as they vie to be named the fastest boat in their class. The race typically draws thousands of spectators, which is one of the reasons the tug companies enjoy participating. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;New Yorkers sometimes forget they are surrounded by water and that there is a whole maritime industry working here. This tug competition is the one time a year people can really see what we do,&rdquo; said Craig Rising of McAllister Towing and Transportation, one of the largest and oldest tug companies in the country. It is also a field day for the tug crews, many of whom bring their families aboard. &ldquo;It is a great change of pace for us,&rdquo; said Captain Brian Fournier, who will be running the Andrew McAllister, &ldquo;and it is great fun to show off for our wives and kids.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The race is not the only opportunity for the tug crews to do some showing off. Immediately following the race, the tugs challenge each other to nose-to-nose pushing duels&mdash;the nautical version of arm wrestling&mdash;to find out who is strongest. Then in what is the toughest test of all, captains steer close to the pier while deckhands attempt to lasso a bollard on the pier. The task, which makes horse wrangling seem tame, is something working tugboat crews perform daily, but it requires incredible coordination between captain and crew.<br /> <br /> After the on-the-water competition, the boats will nose up to Pier 84 where crews will come ashore for lunch while judges select the best-looking tug, the best crew tattoo and more. There will also be maritime exhibits, food, children&rsquo;s activities and a spinach-eating contest for all would-be Popeyes.<br /> <br /> The race is organized by the Working Harbor Committee in collaboration with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises at 42nd Street. The WHC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating people about the rich history, current vitality and future potential of the New York/New Jersey Harbor. The organization also provides Hidden Harbor Tours and runs an extensive youth educational program.<br /> <br /> Schedule of Events<br /> Sunday, 5 September 2010<br /> Location: Pier 84/West 44th St. &amp; Hudson River<br /> Time of Events:<br /> 9:30 a.m. - Spectator Boat departs (boarding begins at 9 a.m.); advance reservation necessary*<br /> 10 a.m. - Parade of Tugboats starts at Pier 84<br /> 10:30 a.m. - Race begins near W.72nd Street &amp; Hudson River<br /> 11 a.m. to Noon - Nose-to-nose pushing contests and line-toss competition<br /> Noon to 1 p.m. &ndash; Tugboats and crews gather at Pier 84<br /> Spinach-eating contest &ndash; kids &amp; adults<br /> Amateur line toss<br /> Tuboat model raffle<br /> Food/beverages available<br /> 1 p.m. Awards<br /> <br /> * The spectator boat will depart at 9:30 a.m. sharp from Circle Line&rsquo;s Pier 83 at 42rd Street and the Hudson River. The boat will join in the tugboat parade and provide the closest view of the action as the tugs race down the river at full throttle and then go nose-to-nose in the nautical version of an arm-wrestling contest. Tickets are $30 (free to members of the press on assignment). Advance tickets can be purchased online at <a href="http://www.workingharbor.org">www.workingharbor.org</a> or by calling: 212-757-1600. Admission to the Pier 84 events is free.</p>

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