Great North River Tug Boat Race 2017

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imageThe Annual Tug boat race on the North River was such an amazing event; this was my second year attending. My first year was on the vessel Sea Wolf with fellow classmates Terence, Bri, and Steve. The first year I was more of a spectator watching the crew do all the work. This year, I was the crew. The boat that I was crewing was none other than the South Street Seaports W.O Decker. The day started off with a morning muster at 0800 aboard Decker. The muster was led by first mate Lisa. She gave us the breakdown of how the day was going to go. At the morning muster, I learned that I will be representing W.O Decker in the line tossing competition. Instantly my heart dropped and my legs began to shake. But I brushed it off and stayed focus on the muster at that moment. After the muster we all had a quick breakfast provided by Captain Aaron. Then as soon as we were done, we dropped lines and left

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The day started off with a quick little boat parade. All the boats lined up and got introduced and headed up the river. Directly after the parade is when the real crave started. The horn blew and we were off. Instantly W.O Decker fell behind all the other vessels. We turned more into a spectator boat. We started to get washed around the wakes of other tugs. However, it was fun while it lasted. After the race we did a little head to head to see which tug has the most power and could push the most. W.O Decker went against Capt. Brian McAllister; the newest boat at the race. We lost, the McAllister boat wasn’t even pushing ahead and we could barely move it. After we had the good old tug tug battle, it was time for the moment of truth, the line tossing.

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The line tossing is the ultimate bragging rights. I was going against so many great people and had a lot to prove. One of the boats I was going against was Susan Miller and Catherine Miller. Susan Miller and Catherine Miller were two of the boats I worked with over the summer, they were part of my internship at Millers launch. They also are the ones who helped me perfect my line tossing. Having them watch me was a tremendous amount of pressure. Before the line tossing actual started, I had to get some practice in. I practiced on the bow bit on the boat. The eye of the line was huge. It was the same size of me. That did not help me out at all. I was rusty and nervous, a bad combination in a competition. At the moment I was stalling and trying to get as much time as I can. Finally Captain Aaron asked me if I was ready and my response was “it’s now or never”. We started to go in and everyone is super hype. So many eyes on me. Everyone on the boat was calling my name.” Bryan you can do it”(Elijah), “no pressure Bryan except if you miss you let everyone down….just joking everything will be fine”( Lisa). The horn sounded and the clock was on. The way the line tossing works is you get three chances to toss it on to the bit and if you miss you lose. My first toss was off to the left and the whole boat had to reset. We backed up and approached again. “Port side toss” was what I was told. That’s exactly what I tried. But once again I missed. This was my third and final try. I look around and see classmate Steve and I know I wouldn’t miss now or he will go back and tell the whole school. I looked him in the eye and whispered this one is for you. I tossed the line with everything I had. It seemed like everything was in slow motion. Cheers still going “ Bryan Bryan”. I missed my throw and final toss. I held onto the line just a little too much and fell short of the bit. I pulled the line in with my head down ashamed. I was so upset letting the pressure get to me. Then I hear give it a good round of applause for Bryan. That is what Maggy said on the microphone. That was music to my ears. She told everybody who I was and what school I was from and everyone started to cheer. Not the type of cheering I wanted but I took it and ran with it. Suddenly I start to feel better and went on with the day super happy.

Toward the end of the day we had an award ceremony. That was also the time I got to see a lot of old friends and co-workers from Millers Launch. Everyone gave me a warm welcome and asked me how I was doing. After the little reunion we went on with the awards. W.O Decker got the most vintage tug award. Not the best award but an award none the less. After the award ceremony we got a tour of McAllister’s newest boat. And then the day was over.