1938 Waterford tugboat under repair for Hudson River parade

by Hans | September 3rd, 2009

WATERFORD — The rusty exterior of the Tug Chancellor will have new steel coverings and a new paint job in time for the Tugboat Roundup next weekend due to the efforts of a handful of volunteers from Momentive Performance Materials.

The 1938 vessel had a new crew Monday who will continue work on the 77-foot-long boat through Wednesday, said Nicky Collins, the chemical operations plant manager at Momentive, a silicone manufacturing facility on Hudson River Road. Restorative work so far consists of patching holes, installing  safety hand rails and welding new panels. “Our group possesses some unique skills to help with this project,” she said, referring to the nine volunteers with experience in maintenance, mechanical work and welding. “We like to go out in the community. It’s good for team building and it’s great to help our neighbors out.” The Tug Chancellor, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built by Ira S. Bushey & Sons Shipyard in Brooklyn. It’s one of only two double-stack designed vessels that remain operationally intact. It was donated to the North River Tugboat Museum in Kingston in 2001; the Waterford Maritime Historical Society assumed its stewardship. Since then, near the Lock 2 Park in Waterford, the historical society has made the restoration of the tugboat an ongoing project, said Mary Stalker, president of the WMHS. Along with annual maintenance of the vessel, volunteers have slowly tried to improve the engine, which has been a slow and steady process, said Nobby Peers, who has worked on the Tug Chancellor and the town of Waterford-owned Tug Buffalo near Lock 3. “I’ve been overseeing the volunteers’ work and doing repairs in the engine room,” he said. The tugboat is powered by a direct-reversing, two-stroke, air-started 1937 D14 Fairbanks Morse diesel engine and the cylinders are 14 inches in diameter. “We want to get her ready for the Tugboat Roundup,” Peers said. The Roundup is slated to begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 11 with a tugboat parade from Albany. The festivities, including vendors and musical entertainment, will continue on Sept. 12 and 13 at the Waterford Harbor Visitors Center. The Tug Chancellor will be one of the boats participating in the parade up the Hudson River. Several area businesses donated materials for the restoration, which will continue with painting and aesthetic work today. The Troy Boiler Works donated steel, said Dave Dunkleberger, a sealants manager at Momentive who volunteered for the tugboat work. “We’ve made a big difference in just one day,” he said. John Scharf, a spokesman for Momentive, said, “Momentive Performance Materials strives to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the communities where our employees work and live. TEAM Momentive is the employee-driven, volunteer arm of the company. Employee volunteers take on projects large and small in the local community to help improve the lives of Capital Region residents.  Whether delivering Meals on Wheels each Friday in Waterford or assembling and installing the playground at the Waterford-Halfmoon School, our employees are engaged in the community.  They organize food drives for local food pantries, visit local senior citizens, participate in walk-a-thons and give generously to the United Way. We are very proud of their many efforts to make our community a better place for everyone.” Momentive volunteers are also active with the Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Arbor Hill, where they have worked on the belfry and with the community center, Collins said. “We could not have gotten this much done in this amount of time without Momentive,” Stalker said.
By DANIELLE SANZONE For The Saratogian

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