August 17th, 2017
"Tugboats Illustrated: History, Technology, Seamanship" presented by Paul Ferrell, author and illustrator
The story behind the story: 25 years of writing, drawing and assembling the story of tugs
In TUGBOATS ILLUSTRATED, architect Paul Farrell— tugboat enthusiast and masterful artist—brings his passion to a volume that details every aspect of tugs and their work, from the little boom boats that corral riverborne logs near sawmills to the massive ocean salvage vessels that are often as big as the ships they tow.
Throughout this labor of love—which took a quarter century to complete—Farrell uses his own wonderful sketches and diagrams as well as historic and contemporary photographs, artistic renditions, unusual documentation, and detailed engineering diagrams to unveil the rare beauty of the tugboat and how the design and manufacture of these tough little vessels accompanied the rapid pace of shipbuilding all over the world. From the purpose-driven yet elegant physics of propeller design to the frustrating limits of early diesel engines, from the beloved children’s favorite Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky to the intricacies of a tow cable, TUGBOATS ILLUSTRATED’s text and images provide a comprehensive understanding of the technology and philosophy that drive these low-slung “floating engines.”
Farrell also investigates the many aspects of life on a tugboat, as well as the different shiphandling methods that have developed as captains and crews take on the varied challenges presented by luxury liners, tankers, vehicle carriers, barges, oil exploration rigs, and pretty much every other kind of boat afloat and seeking assistance when coming into or going out of the harbor. Farrell notes that “tugs are like no other vessels in sturdiness of construction, power in relation to size, and the boat-handling ability of their crews.”
The work of an insightful and creative observer, TUGBOATS ILLUSTRATED explores the emotional resonance of these waterfront workhorses, showing how the environment and the complex challenges tugs faced shaped the industrial development and the increasingly important role of the high-thrust, low-speed boats that prowl the world’s rivers, canals, and seaports to ensure that shipping flows smoothly. Part tribute, part catalog, part user’s guide, and part scrapbook, TUGBOATS ILLUSTRATED is a singular work of art, blending technology and design with history and human interest.
About the Author: Paul Farrell is an architect with a lifelong enthusiasm for tugboats and the working waterfront. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.