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Charles Point Seminars Return in September

“Research Vessels: Geophysical Expeditions to Antarctica
and Mapping 160 miles of the Hudson River”

A Talk by Dr. Robin Bell

Saturday, 26 September, 2015
Hendrick Hudson Free Library
185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY  10548
Coffee & Registration at 10:30 AM; Lecture at 11:00 AM

Join the National Maritime Historical Society for our September Charles Point Seminar, presented by Dr. Robin Bell, Senior Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

Dr. Bell has worked for over 20 years at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory coordinating nine major aero-geophysical expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland in order to study polar ice sheet collapse. Closer to home, since 1998, she led the Hudson River Estuary Project team, mapping over 160 miles of the Hudson River from Staten Island to Albany and discovering dozens of sunken ships and historical artifacts along the way.

Robin Bell on the west Antarctic ice sheet, 1991Cost: Lecture – $5 to $10 suggested donation.
After the lecture, NMHS will host a luncheon for Dr. Bell – $22 prepaid and cash bar. Reservations required, email NMHS or call 914 737-7878 x0.

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Dock Rocks—Concert to Benefit South Street Seaport Museum

Citing “unforeseen logistical problems at the site,” South Street Seaport Museum has cancelled this event. According to Museum Executive Director Jonathan Boulware, organizers are now planning an alternative fundraiser for the museum in October that will include many of the same performers.

DOCK ROCKS – Party on the Piers
with Duran Duran, Wyclef Jean, & Special Guests

A Concert to Benefit South Street Seaport Museum
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 from 4:30 PM to 10:30 PM (EDT)

Adobe Photoshop PDFSupport the South Street Seaport Museum and experience an unforgettable night of music, drink, and food on the East River’s Pier 15 & 16 set in front of a beautiful Brooklyn backdrop. Duran Duran will headline a lineup of surprise artists which DOCK ROCKS will unveil in the weeks leading up to the show. A range of options is available, from general-admission tickets to the concert pier to VIP viewing from a number of unique historic ships and yachts surrounding the Concert Pier 16 and Viewing Pier 15, and a fabulous after-party.

“Dock Rocks will be instrumental in our efforts to revitalize the Seaport Museum post-Sandy. The concert will showcase the Seaport Museum’s historic ships to nearly 6,000 visitors in a completely unique way,” said Captain Jonathan Boulware, Executive Director of the South Street Seaport Museum. “This inaugural celebratory fundraiser for the Museum will support the reinvigoration of the programming that only the Seaport Museum can offer: on-water education programs, interpretation of the original port of New York, our collections, historic buildings, and fleet of ships. Whether attending a concert on the pier, out on the harbor on a floating classroom program, or touring the historic district, visitors touch, see, and interact with historic New York in ways they can only do here in the Seaport. We have been working hard to rebuild and expand this core programming and will continue this development over the next year. We’re thrilled about Dock Rocks and what it means for the future of the Seaport Museum.”

VIP attendees will have the option of enjoying the concert from one of nine historic ships and party boats positioned around the stage and at Pier 15. This luxury option offers all ticketholders access to the concert pier along with a range of celebrity hosted experiences and after-parties featuring world-class DJs. Participating ships include the museum’s historic Peking, Ambrose, and Pioneer, along with NY Water Taxi and Zephyr luxury yacht and Hornblower Cruises’  Infinity, Hybrid, Sensation, and the Esprit—all of which provide elevated stage views, open bars, food, A/C and exclusive floating nightclub experiences.

Partners & Sponsors include: The South Street Seaport Museum, The Swatch Group, Crystal Head Vodka, Modern Luxury, NY Water Taxi, Goslings Rum, Hornblower Cruises, Pledge Music, Fieldhouse Music and City Hall Restaurant.

Go to for further details and ticket information.

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Time Running Out For Falls of Clyde


Falls of Clyde ca 1900

Falls of Clyde ca. 1900

The 1878 iron-hulled ship Falls of Clyde is facing a deadline. The state of Hawaii, concerned about the condition of the ship and the delays in getting her into dry dock, has given the Friends of the Falls of Clyde until August to present a restoration plan, along with the backing to make it happen.

Launched on 12 December 1878, the four-masted full-rigged ship Falls of Clyde sailed for twenty years for the Falls line, carrying cargo such as lumber, jute, cement and wheat. In 1898 she was purchased by Capt. William Matson, who registered her in Hawaii, anticipating that she would be granted American registry when Hawaii became an American territory. She sailed between Hawaii and San Francisco, carrying molasses to the mainland and returning with kerosene generally making excellent time for the route; on her best crossing, she made the journey in eight days.



Eventually converting his fleet to steam, Matson sold the Falls in 1907, to the Associated Oil Company for $85,000. She was converted to a tanker, carrying 756,000 gallons of oil between California and Honolulu. Associated, too, finally saw the need to convert its fleet, and Falls of Clyde served as a charter vessel for a brief stint before her masts were cut down to serve as a floating gasoline depot in Ketchikan, Alaska.

In 1963 the ship’s owners planned to scuttle her for a breakwater in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the Honolulu Advertiser raised $25,000 to return the Falls to Hawaii, and the US Navy supplied the tow to Honolulu’s waterfront, where enthusiastic volunteers carried out much-needed restoration work; in 1984 she was named a National Historic Monument by the National Parks Service. Her condition began to deteriorate, however, and by 2008 Falls of Clyde, then owned by the Bishop Museum, faced an estimated $30 million in restoration costs; the Bishop Museum developed plans to sink the ship offshore. The Friends of the Falls of Clyde formed and purchased her from the Bishop museum for $1, with the goal of raising those funds and restoring the ship. The organization has established an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money to get the ship into dry dock.

Commemorative coin offered to donors of $100 or more to the fundraising campaign

Commemorative coin offered to donors of $100 or more to the fundraising campaign



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Sail with NMHS Aboard Clearwater!

Join Us for a Hudson River Sightseeing Cruise
Aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

Best PhotoSaturday, 25 July 2015, 4:00–7:00 PM
King Marine, 270 6th Street, Verplanck, NY 10569

hauling 4Experience the Hudson River as you have never experienced it before. Pete Seeger built the traditional sloop Clearwater with a mission to “build a boat to save the river;” we have all seen her sailing the Hudson River for decades, spreading the message of environmental stewardship. Narrated by Dave Conover, education director, this cruise will let us will take advantage of Clearwater’s award-winning onboard environmental education programming, and we will learn how to tie knots, how to identify fish, and much more! After leaving the dock, it’s all hands to the halyards to help raise the mainsail to the rhythm of a traditional sea chantey, and then a three-hour sail on a traditional sloop while we become acquainted with the environment of the river.
3885235888_0b67fa246d_oPlaces on this exclusive Hudson River cruise are limited! Cost per person is $60. Please remember to bring a light sweater or jacket for a cooler evening, and surely don’t forget your camera or binoculars! Call us today at 914-737-7878, ext. 0, or e-mail us at to reserve your seat!

IMG_0902We’d also like to share that Clearwater has a canoe for sale. Hand-crafted in Canada, this birch-bark canoe was gently used for six years, but Clearwater is no longer running the program that the canoe served and would like to see it find a good home. Proceeds from the sale will go to Clearwater’s education programs; the $5,000 asking price would pay for 2 classes to experience an onboard education program. The contact person for this is Education Director Dave Conover,  who can also be reached at 845-265-8080 ext. 7104.


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USS Slater (DE-766): The last Destroyer Escort Afloat

The Charles Point Council of the National Maritime Historical Society
presents the 2015 Richard Belliveau Seminar

USS Slater: History and Restoration of
the Last World War II Destroyer Escort Afloat in the US
with Destroyer Escort Historical Museum Executive Director Timothy C. Rizzuto

Photo courtesy Destroyer Escort Historical Museum

Photo courtesy Destroyer Escort Historical Museum

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 – Hendrick Hudson Free Library
185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548
Refreshments at 6:00 PM. Presentation begins at 6:30 PM.

A total of 563 destroyer escorts, designed by Gibbs & Cox and inspired by the British HUNT class destroyer, were built for use during World War II. These ships escorted merchant marine convoys, navy supply vessels and troop transports, warding off enemy submarine and aircraft attacks. They also went on missions to seek out and destroy enemy submarines, and manned picket stations on the outer perimeter of fleet and landing operations to engage kamikazes and to warn inner perimeter vessels of their approach.

USS Slater (DE 766) is the last destroyer escort afloat. Commissioned in 1944, Slater served in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. She was transferred to Greece in 1951 as part of the Military Defense Assistance Program, where she served forty years. The American group Destroyer Escort Sailors Association raised the funds to return her to the United States, and created the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum to manage her. She has undergone a complete restoration in the intervening years, carried out with careful attention to detail and accuracy.

Tim Rizzuto, executive director of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, will tell us all about the destroyer escort program and Slater‘s journey to become the last representative of her kind, telling the destroyer escorts’ story to future generations.

The public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914-737-7878, ext. 0, or email if you plan to attend. A $5 to $10 donation is appreciated.

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Unveiling of USS Monitor Trail Marker and History Fair

On Friday, 29 May, the National  Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be unveiling a trail marker at the launch site of USS Monitor in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NOAA is establishing a USS Monitor Trail marking the locations of historic importance to  the famous ironclad in New York,  Virginia, North Carolina.  The first marker is in place in Beaufort, North Carolina, at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, near Duke University’s Marine Lab; Duke  University’s research team discovered USS Monitor  in 1973.

The event’s organizers are: NOAA’s USS  Monitor National  Marine Sanctuary; the Greenpoint Monitor Museum; Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Oliver Tilden Camp No. 26; and Co. I, 83rd New York Vol. Inf. Sons of Veterans Reserve.

The unveiling will take place at 10:30 AM, followed by a history fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center, just two blocks away. For full details, see the website of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum.

Monitor, 2009 (NOAA)

Monitor, 2009 (NOAA)

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NMHS 2015 Annual Meeting: a Recap

The National Maritime Historical Society’s 2015 annual meeting was held this past weekend in Annapolis, Maryland, hosted by the US Naval Academy Museum and its senior curator, James Cheevers. For those who couldn’t attend, we’d like to share this brief recap.

On the steps of Bancroft Hall, USNA

On the steps of Bancroft Hall, USNA

The weekend was launched with meeting of the board of trustees, followed by a dinner with the trustees and NMHS staff. Highlight of the evening was the welcome extended to new trustee-elect ADM Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (ret.). ADM Papp was the 24th commandant of the United States Coast Guard, retiring in May 2014, and

Print of Effie M. Morrissey Entering Franz Joseph Fjord, by Thomas Wells

Print of Effie M. Morrissey Entering Franz Joseph Fjord, by Thomas Wells

was appointed the US special representative for the Arctic in July of that year. A longtime NMHS member, ADM Papp has been recognized with the NMHS Distinguished Service Award as well as the NMHS Bravo Zulu Award. As part of his welcome, ADM Papp was presented with a lovely Thomas Wells print of the Effie M. Morrissey (now the Ernestina-Morrissey, the flagship of Massachusetts).

Saturday began with breakfast in the US Naval Academy Museum followed by the business meeting and maritime heritage reports at the officers’ club. Lunch was served at the officers’ club when the meeting was done. Sea History editor Deirdre O’Regan presented the Rodney Houghton award for the best article in Sea History to Kathleen Ciolfi and Geoff Carton for their article “EXPLOSIVES, See Note C: the Unusual End of SS Robert Louis Stevenson” (SH 149). Ms. Ciolfi and Mr. Carton talked about their work for the Army on documenting munitions that have been dumped on the sea floor, and how the research into this task revealed all kinds of stories, and this was one of them. They also mentioned in their acceptance remarks that, after the article was published in Sea History, they were contacted by a gentleman who served in the Navy and was part of the crews that participated in the operations. He was able to give them firsthand details about this story, rounding out the history they were able to find in Navy records.inside Bancroft

After lunch, Jim Cheevers gave what one guest called “a really personal and enthusiastic tour” of the John Paul Jones crypt, the US Naval Academy campus, and Bancroft Hall, followed by a fascinating tour of the museum itself, with countless stories about individual pieces, such as how artifacts came to the museum’s collection. We could not have asked for a better guide. Jim Cheevers was recently recognized for fifty years of government service—47 of them with the Naval Academy—and a first-floor gallery was named for him!

Trustee and Vice Chairman Rick Lopes at the helm.

Trustee and Vice Chairman Rick Lopes at the helm.

The weekend was capped off with a lovely daysail on Sunday aboard the Scarano-built schooner Woodwind, with owner/captain Capt Ken Kaye. The Kayes’ daugher, Jen, operates Woodwind’s sister schooner, Woodwind II. Jen was introduced to the sea as a SEAmester student on the Spirit of Massachusetts in 1990, with Capt. Bobby Hall and Southampton College professor Doug Hardy. She came home and persuaded her parents to make a change of career and the rest, as they say, is history.

It was a wonderful and educational weekend. The weather smiled down upon us the whole time, and we hope that everyone in attendance had as good and rewarding a time as we did. Thank you to all who made this annual meeting possible, and for continuing to support NMHS.

NMHS President Burchenal Green

NMHS President Burchenal Green



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NY Oyster Barge to Return to the East River After Nearly 100 Years

In 2004, we ran an article in the Sea History feature Historic Ships on a Lee Shore about the last remaining New York oyster barge, moored since 1921 on the Quinnipiac River in Fair Haven, Connecticut (SH 107, p. 13). We were heartened to learn this April that Miles and Alex Pincus, the brothers who formed the Maritime Foundation of Delaware and New York City and brought the wooden fishing schooner Sherman Zwicker to Manhattan’s Pier 25 to house an onboard maritime museum and oyster bar, had acquired the oyster barge. Their plan is to dismantle it and reconstruct it on the East River.

You can read more about the project from the New York Times, and learn more about the barge’s history at this website run by its supporters.

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Charles Point Council Seminar: The Genius of Naval Architect John W. Griffiths

The Charles Point Council of the National Maritime Historical Society Will Present

The Genius of Naval Architect John W. Griffiths
& His Record-Setting Clipper Ships:

A Discussion Panel with NMHS Chairman Ronald Oswald,
Matthew Carmel and the John Willis Griffiths Gravesite Project

griffiths200w294hSaturday, 30 May 2015
Hendrick Hudson Free Library – 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548
Continental breakfast is at 10:30 AM. Presentation is at 11:00 AM.
Join us for another incredible seminar as an informative discussion panel explores the American naval architect John W. Griffiths (1809–1882), designer of the record-setting Rainbow and Sea Witch clipper ships and author of books on ship design and construction. Despite his reputation as a “naval architect genius,” Griffiths is buried in an unmarked grave in Queens, NY. Join NMHS in celebrating Griffiths and raising awareness to fund a well-earned headstone.

SeaWitch copySteadily gathering momentum since the 25 October 2013 New York Post article “Grave Injustice for NY Ship Hero,” the John Willis Griffiths Gravesite Project seeks to honor this “maverick of American ship-building at a time when it was one of (New York) City’s most important industries.”  and Sea Witch set several remarkable records, and his innovations left a lasting impression on ship design. The New York Post article sums it up: “New York, and the nation, owe Griffiths an appropriate headstone.”

The public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914-737-7878, ext. 0, or email if you plan to attend. A $5 to $10 donation is appreciated. If you would also like to join NMHS and the speaker for lunch following the presentation, it is $22 prepaid, with cash bar. Reservations required.

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San Salvador Launch Postponed

_JGS4420-4Update: Citing technical and logistical difficulties, the Maritime Museum of San Diego has cancelled the April 19th launch. A new launch date has not been announced.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego has announced an April 19 launch date for San Salvador. The ship is a historically accurate replica of the ship which explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into what is now San Diego Bay on 28 September 1542, the first recorded European vessel to sail along Southern California, and survey its coastlines. The keel for the replica ship was laid in 2011; the museum has invited the public to observe its construction from the beginning, either in person at the site or via the museum’s website.


DSC_2893 smallSan Salvador will join the museum’s fleet of ships, including the sailing ships Star of India, Surprise, and Californian, as well as serving as a floating educational platform. For more information email the museum at Photos courtesy Jerry Soto

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