Forty years ago I partook of that day in New York with my old ship ‘Artemis’, the picture of which you can see above left. Tall ships from Europe had been invited by the American government and there we all were, a good hundred of us ready to set sail in a parade on the Hudson River from the Verrazano Bridge to the George Washington Bridge. Luckily, us, the captains of all these ships had come together the day before and made a plan to evade collisions because the New York port authorities did not have a clue. Mind you, a more clueless lot was hard to find, even the harbour was a partial wreck with some quays half demolished, concrete iron spikes sticking out under water and insufficient mooring bollards. But the harbour police were on the ball, making life for us sailors miserable, trying to send us to shit mooring places and defending the taking of paying passengers. Only American ships were supposed to make money but they did not have any tall ships except a coastguard schooner that they had stolen from the Germans and that hardly ever went offshore.

Anyway, no bloody cop was going to stop me from making some money, I had made a plan and very early in  the morning I sailed my ship to an obscure jetty in the East River and took onboard one hundred Yankees at $100 each. Me and my crew were broke, sailing across the Atlantic cost money although the wind is free.

The parade.  went off quite well despite a very odd weather phenomenon. Of course we  all went very slowly, 2-2½ knots when about 10 o’clock the sky became black and within 10 minutes we were in a blizzard from the North without any visibility because of snow. Even the radar could not penetrate this snowstorm that lasted at the most 15-20 minutes and disappeared as suddenly as it had pitched up. Although the skippers had not foreseen that in their planning the previous day, not one collision occurred as we all kept the same course and speed. However, a bloody New York harbour tug rammed a piling of the Washington bridge. Good for him!

If you go into my comments you will see a picture of the twin towers that had just been constructed and did not last long. I’m glad I visited America and an awful lot gladder still that I don’t have to live there as the arrogance and corruption of cops and administrations is not tolerable for the likes of me.

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2 Responses to US Independence Day, the 4th of July.

  1. Jack Dekker says:

    Agree with you Nick. I didn’t like them when I was there with the Dutch East Indies Air Force during WW2.

  2. Steve Bunker says:

    New York hasn’t changed. I think Baltimore treated the ships better. But it’s all expensive real estate now and the almighty dollar is what counts. I loved the old Artemis. It broke my heart when she was lost.I was in Norfolk, Va. when I heard the news. I sailed with you out of Baltimore back in 76 and I still have a few photos of us coming in to Port Everglades. I’m glad to see you are still hale and hearty. I’m on the beach and married now. Though I keep my hand in the maritime trades for a living. The merchant service has no future for me now but I sell old bits of the maritime past. I finally found my way back to Maine. My website is at

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