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Tug Pegasus Preservation Project

Shipyard, 2003-2005

There was some doubt as to whether the Tug Pegasus could withstand another winter without hull repair. We were able to start the hull restoration when the Tug Pegasus Preservation Project received a matching grant from Clean Air/Clean Water Bond Act funds administered by New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. They were extremely helpful throughout, especially in the administration of the grant. The scope of the grant was the hull and its connecting parts, inside and out. New York Landmarks Conservancy ( matched our grant with a low-interest loan.

Charles Deroko of Charles Deroko, Inc. ( was on hand as a consultant. Charlie was basically in residence throughout the shipyard work through the generous donation of the Lu Esther Mertz Fund of the New York Community Trust. He stayed closely involved throughout the shipyard work.

We selected Garpo Marine Services, formerly Tottenville Shipyard, because of their ability to lift us in the travel lift and block us up on land, instead of using a drydock. The latter was not an option, as the time we needed would have tied up an expensive piece of equipment for too long. John Garner, principal of the shipyard, generously let us get hauled before we had arranged our Landmarks matching grant.

The communication of all involved was great and the level of skill at the yard was excellent. Many of the welders were certified by the American Bureau of Shipping. Garpo Marine is the kind of place where the senior workers will help the younger people along.

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23 Dec 2003
Pier 62 departure The crew of the fireboat John J. Harvey also mustered to provide a welcome escort on the way to Tottenville Staten Island. Although we ran on our own power, the systems were tired and dusty.
Departure from Pier 62 North River at the break of day. Photo H. Gill
Justin Ryan and Karl Schuman Lunch under the Goethals Bridge
Justin Ryan throwing a line to Karl Schuman on the Harvey. Photo D. Black Pegasus and Harvey lunching under the Goethals Bridge. Photo D. Black
Pegasus arrives at Garpo Ready for her makeover

The arrival of the Pegasus at the shipyard. Photo D. Van Holt

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Tug Pegasus ready for the big makeover.

24 December 2003

This was a huge day for the Tug Pegasus Preservation Project, the beginning of a full-on restoration project, fixing the hull of a nearly 100-year-old tugboat. This would hopefully insure her future as a soon-to-be-saved old style New York Harbor tugboat.

Still dripping Moving onto land
0700 still dripping. Moving overland to her blocking area.
Out of the water

Pegasus as behemoth in a highly unnatural state.

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Blocked up in a berth she will have for 20 months. Photo D. Van Holt
1 February 2004

The weather was pretty foul to work in but at least the Tug Pegasus was safe from sinking, nightmares of her falling off her blocks not withstanding.

Charlie inspects the job Rust and luck were keeping the boat afloat

After cleaning, sandblasting and coating the hull to protect it for the duration of the work, it was time for Charlie to go to work figuring out what was to stay and what had to go.

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We discovered that a little rust and a lot of luck was keeping the tug afloat.
The Lazarette

This was probably the most wasted area of the tug. Hull plating, frames, and gussets all had to be added to or reconstructed, as well as cement chipped out of the bottom.

Frame 57 with the cant frames Portside lazarette from below

Port side lazarette, at the furthest aft bulkhead, at frame no. 57, showing the "cant" (radial) frames.

Portside lazarette from outside showing the cant frames from below.
Old steel was burnt off and new work started Bulkhead drawing with hatching showing where steel had to be replaced
Old wasted steel was burned off and new construction started with structural members such as these new frames, gussets, and bulkhead at frame no. 57. Bulkhead at frame no. 57. The hatching indicated the area replaced by new steel: most of it. Drawing courtesy of Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Charlie through the lace of the wasted bulkhead Mark Peckham from NYS Office of Historic Preservation
The wasted bulkhead at frame no. 57 was almost nonexistent. Charlie can be seen on the other side of it. This view shows the spectacular reverse curves in the stern frames of the tug. This technology, bending bulb-angled frames, produced a strong and shapely tug that is efficient in the water. Mark Peckham, from New York State Office of Historic Preservation, came to visit at the shipyard. We got to know Mark when we applied for the State and National Register of Historic Places Nomination.

Aside from the cant frames (radial frames around the rudder post) in the lazarette, only two 6-foot sections of one pair of frames (out of 57 pairs of frames) needed to be replaced in the rest of the boat. Nine-hundred-sixty square feet of hull plate and nearly 500 square feet of bulkhead were replaced.

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The Bow Tank Stem--Frame No.11
Frames at the bow
The frames are closer together in the bow. Most of the plate at Strake F (the sheer strake) had to replaced. An opening was made on deck to get larger pieces into the bow ballast tank to weld up the bulkhead at frame no. 11.
Neil and Davis ready to go below Ron and Charlie plan
Neil and Davis ready to go below again into the bow tank. Ron and Charlie making a plan in the bow compartment.
Drawing of the bulkhead at frame no. 11

Bulkhead at frame no. 11, new tank ladder and new plate and stiffeners.

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Bulkhead at frame no. 11. Again, the hatching indicates the plan for replaced steel. Drawing courtesy of Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Fo'c's'le Compartment, Frames 11-25

Here much of the bulkhead at frame no. 11 has been removed. Forward on the other side of the bulkhead, where Scotty and Ron are working, is the forward ballast tank and the foremost part of the tug.

On the lower left, you can see where the keelson was replaced. It was for years buried by paving block used as ballast. This area, aft of the bulkhead, is under the fo'c's'le.

Charlie looking at the new keelson The old keelson
Charlie scrutinizing the new keelson where it runs into a cement wall at the bulkhead at frame no. 25. Above is reason for the new keelson--the old keelson.
Dave and Ron with a template for the bulkhead corner Drawing of bulkhead at frame 25
Dave and Ron with a cleverly made template for the bulkhead corner. This drawing , again with the replacement plan hatched, is the bulkhead at frame no. 25. The long narrow horizontal replacement was due to the wooden deck, which held moisture that led to that corrosion pattern. Drawing courtesy of Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Burning out a piece of steel The template shows a cut-out for the staple
Ron burning out the piece from the information of the template. The template has the detail of a cut-out for the staple.
Staples holding the longitudinals at the bulkhead Neil welding in the piece from the template
The staples hold the continuous longitudinals at the bulkheads. Neil welding in the piece made from the template pictured above on the bulkhead at frame no. 25.

The long horizontal piece continues behind the riveted fuel oil tank in the foreground. This pattern of deterioration was caused by moisture that was held in the plank ends of the wooden deck at this elevation forward of the bulkhead in the fo'c's'le.

See the hatching in the drawing above.

Rebuilt floor Rebuilt floor
Sections of the floors (pieces that connect the pairs of frames) and sections of frames in this compartment had to be rebuilt. The compartment shown here was the sandblasted, primed and coated with epoxy. (Note: the new keelson, the same section as shown above).
Looking up at frame 25 Bulkhead at frame 11
The fo'c's'le compartment was blasted and coated before it was fully closed up so the blasters and painters could see and breath. On the left, looking up at the bulkhead at frame no. 25. On the right, the portside of the fo'c's'le compartment with the bulkhead at frame no. 11 at the very right.
Drawing of fo'c's'le compartment

The same area now sandblasted and coated on the inside.

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Fo'c's'le compartment. Drawing courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

The Underwater Workings

During this period, many small parts of the underwater workings of the hull were removed, reconditioned and reinstalled, e.g. the rudder and shaft, the rudder shaft flange and bearing, the propeller shaft, the propeller, ballast, plumbing through bulkheads and the hull. A very large portion of steel had to be welded on the hull.

The Ballast:

When the tug was dieselized in 1953, ballast was added, 15 tons under the fo'c's'le and 20 tons in the bottom of the engine room. The modern 1944 main engine (GM 12-567A) was no match for the very heavy original steam engine and the weight of the 12-foot-diameter boiler. The ballast added in 1953 was an estimated 35 tons of paving block.

Pile of paving blocks used as ballast Lead as ballast
ROCKS OUT: This represents a small percentage of the paving blocks that were removed from under the fo'c's'le. The total was an estimated 15 tons. LEAD IN: The lead, taking up so little space compared to the rocks, enables the compartment to be inspected and ventilated properly to preserve the area.
Carrying the lead pieces Lead ravioli placed in the tug

Dave and the special carrier that was made to handle the ravioli-shaped lead pieces. There was just inches to spare in the hole in the hull to place them in the fo'c's'le compartment.

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Each ravioli was 3,500 lbs. They fit as if made to go in. They fit nicely on either side of the new keelson and the solid uprights, outboard. There were 6 pieces, giving us just over 10 tons of ballast.
Propeller Shaft & Cutlass Bearing:
Gerry and Dave disconnecting the shaft Dave getting the shaft out of the tug
Gerry and Dave disconnecting the shaft from its coupling inside the boat. Dave pulling (with the front end loader) and lifting (with the cherry picker) the shaft out of the boat.
Worn shaft removed Gerry preparing to remove the cutlass bearing
Worn shaft is out. Gerry preparing for the removal of the cutlass bearing.
New cutlass bearing and shaft New cutlass bearing and shaft
Reconditioned cutlass bearing in place and the new shaft going in. The new shaft first had to be measured for straightness and thickness, reconditioned, and sheathed in a protective coating of fiberglass.
Enrique greasing the shaft Final push by forklift

Enrique greasing the shaft where it goes through the cutlass bearing.

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Final push by forklift.
Propeller, before Propeller, after

When the tug came out of the water, the propeller was removed to keep the big bronze thing away from sandblasting. It was bent and banged up and encrusted with barnacles. It went to the prop shop where Bob reconditions most of the propellers in the harbor.

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After Bob got done with it, it was like new.

Drawing of the rudder

The rudder, removed

The rudder post has a pintel that sits in a bearing on the rudder shoe. The top of the rudder shaft goes through the lazarette (aftermost compartment in the hull) above the deck. It also goes through a flange and a bearing, and is clamped with the quadrant.

The old design, in the drawing, of the rudder had a pintel and gudgeon arrangement in the middle of the length of the rudder post. These were called "floating" rudders and were made of pine and clad with steel. The newer design builds in a "leading edge," adding to the rudder power of the tug. The leading, or forward, edge of the rudder gets a lot of wear and tear.

Drawing above left courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Digging a pit to be able to remove the rudder New rudder installed (with zincs)

As in the rudder removal, a pit had to be dug to get the rudder post into the shaft hole.

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Newly reconditioned rudder reinstalled.
Rudder Post Flange, Bearing and Quadrant:
Rudder post flange The rudder post flange (pictured left and with the quadrant below right) is bolted to the deck and houses a bearing to accommodate the rudder post and supports the bearing for the quadrant. Drawings courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Drawing of the rudder post flange The bearing bits
The quandrant and flange

Drawings courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

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The quadrant holds the steering cables that then lead to the steering motor.
Sea Strainers:
Sea strainers, before The sea strainers were in very bad condition. The old ones are shown on the left (note hole in the top one). They are located, typically, midships on either side of the hull in the turn of the bilge. Neil is fabricating the new ones below, left, and they are installed, below, right.

Neil fabricates a new sea strainer

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Sea strainers installed
Water Manifold:
Like many other parts of the tug, the water manifold was a leaky mess, but it did serve as the model for the new one. We wanted everything to be the same as when McAllister dieselized the tug in the early 1950s. Since the water manifold is connected to the piping that goes through the hull, we included it in the scope of repair. The old one is below left; the new one being fabricated below right.
The old manifold New water manifold

Joe installs the new manifold

Joe is installing the new water manifold.

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The manifold, installed

The manifold, installed.

Hull Plating:
Damaged steel, starboard bow Damaged steel, port bow
The damaged steel on the hull was generally symmetrical--shown above, starboard bow and port bow.
Pamela with Merrill Hesch, grants officer of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Karen Ansis of the New York Landmarks Conservancy Merrill Hesch and Charlie Deroko
Pamela with Merrill Hesch, grants officer of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Karen Ansis of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. Merrill and Charlie.
Walt Fitzgerald by the starboard opening of the fo'c's'le area just forward of frame No. 25 Inside the starboard opening of the fo'c's'le area just forward of frame No. 25
Walt Fitzgerald by the starboard opening of the fo'c's'le area just forward of frame No. 25. A view from inside the same area.
Neil and Ron select the piece of steel Neil and Ron move the piece of steel

The piece of steel is selected by Neil and Ron. It will get sandblasted and coated with primer and cut to fit into the cropped-out area. Below left, the steel sits on "dogs" that enable it to sit right in its new position. The dogs hold wedges that will then be driven in to bring the piece home.

Below, on the inside, chain falls are used to pull the piece into shape. The inside of the piece is coated with primer. The outside gets sandblasted and painted with the rest of the hull.

The steel piece sitting on the dogs The same plate from the inside
The steel piece sitting on the dogs. The same plate inside.
Scotty, Ron and Freddy closing up an area More welding
Scotty, Ron and Freddy closing up an area. More welding.
Freddy Welding the hull is done a little differently from welding in other parts of the boat. The plate is fitted to insert into the cropped-out area, as described above. It is then tack-welded into place, outside.

It is then welded solid inside. That completed it is gouged out with a burning rod so that the three edges--the inside weld surface, the cropped out plate and the inserted plate--are cleansed of impurities. Then the final weld all around the inserted plate on the outside is done, eliminating flaws that could later be the source of leaks.

Ron, welding Ron
Davis John
Davis John
Work on the stern Work on the stern
The work in the stern is finishing up, also, with the blasting and painting inside, and the final welding of the plates on the outside.
Work on the stern To avoid distortion, the welding progresses from the midship area outward toward the ends of the boat
The work in the stern, the first area to be cut open and the last to be welded up. To avoid distortion, the welding progresses from the midship area outward toward the ends of the boat.
Time to put on the guards Pipe guards are attached
The top strake completed, the guards can be put on. The 8' diameter pipe guards are shown attached here. They not only protect the hull from impact but serve to stiffen the hull, making her stronger.
Welding on the guards, portside Guards and propeller on, starboard side
Portside view, the tug is getting the guards welded on. On the starboard side, the propeller is on and the guards welded on.
Ready for sandblasting First coat of epoxy
The whole hull is ready for a light blasting. The first coat of epoxy is a contrasting color so the coverage of the next coat can be easily seen.
Sal, head painter Sal, head painter
Sal, head painter.
Scotty and Charlie Our surveyor Rick Meyerrose, his son Jason, and Charlie
Scotty and Charlie. Our surveyor Rick Meyerrose, his son Jason, and Charlie.
Epoxy covers rivets and seams; zincs are welded on The zincs have been taped over for the final coat of epoxy and a coat of bottom paint
After the first coating on the hull, 140, an epoxy compound, was used to cover rivets and seams in the original fabric. The zinc anodes are also welded on at this time. The zincs have been taped over for the final coat of epoxy and a coat of bottom paint.

With the final coats of bottom paint and the tape off the zincs, the job is done.

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The shipyard crew
The shipyard crew, l. to r.: John, Neil, Sal, Joe, Sebastian, Ron, Pam, John, Davis, Scotty, Enrique, and Dave. Seated: Christian and Freddy. Missing from photo: Charlie and Gerry.
12 August 2005 Relaunch Day:

On this important day in the life of the Tug Pegasus, Donald Sutherland was on hand to document the relaunch of the tug with the new hull.

The next five images are courtesy of Donald Sutherland (

Still on blocks
The lift arrives In the lift

Touching the water

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Post Launch Notes:
Charlie checking one of the sea strainers Tug is still off her marks
Charlie is checking all the through-hull parts. Here is one of the sea strainers. Right after the launch, with 10 tons of lead in the fo'c's'le compartment, but empty of any moveable (water) ballast, the tug is still way off her marks.

An added note on the ballast situation of the Tug Pegasus: In 2001, an estimated 20 tons of ballast were removed from the engine room. This was in the form of paving blocks that were dumped all around the engine to compensate for some of the steam machinery removed when the tug was dieselized; none of this has been replaced.

Above we describe removing another 15 tons from the fo'c's'le bilge--10.5 tons were replaced with lead in that compartment. With her ballast tanks full, she could still use another 10 tons in the engine room.

Displacement curve chart

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