Norfolk Harbor Fest

Wait! There’s more! 

That’s a guy with Rocket Pants.  You’ve heard the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song: “Rocket Pants, burning out his fuse up here all alone.” 

IMG_2653

Raftups. Lots and lots of raftups. This one grew to over a dozen boats.

IMG_2656

And the “Tug Busting” wrassling among the work boats. Pushes. Rope Toss. More pushes. 

Yes. Head-to-Head tug pushing. Tons of power. Not figurative tons, either. Literal tons.

IMG_0863

On the left is this year's winner, Miss Gil. 

We listened on VHF channel 78 to the competition among the tugs. The ease and casual skill these skippers displayed was breath-taking. They had friends and families all over their boats, and could pivot them, back them down, push with them, and toss lines onto a floating platform. 

One of the pushing contests got a little heated, so they broke out their fire suppression equipment and started hosing each other down. Just amazing. Kids. Wives. Husbands. Friends. Having a waterfight between two huge workboats.

Last night was fireworks.

Today is deadrise racing. Yes. Classic cheasapeake workboats, mostly wood, with huge engines flying down the waterfront. The rumble of all that diesel with all those shabby old exhaust systems is huge.

IMG_2665

Here’s a deadrise without so much wake. They’re all similar in shape to this: plumb bow, long sweep aft, a little pilot house forward and a steering station aft, too, so you can drive and work.

IMG_2661

Sometimes, they’re called Buy-Boats, instead of Deadrises because that was the role they filled along the Chesapeake. I think that buy-boats often had a mast and a crane, where deadrises don’t usually have them.

  © Steven Lott 2016