BZ's Mazapeta and the America's Cup

Photo Gallery

Had a wonderful time aboard the tug boat USS Mazapeta, out on the San Francisco Bay, catching the sights and sounds of the America's Cup race. The USS Mazapeta (YT-181) is a Woban class Navy tug launched in May of 1943. Decommisioned in 1976, she worked as a tug boat in San Francisco till 1998, where she sat unused for 10 years. In 2008, she was acquired and saved from scrap by SF Tugboats. After being restored, the Mazapeta is again operating in the San Francisco Bay - this time as a functional Museum ship and cruising on special occasions.

Got a chance to go aboard the tug for the Aug 25th cruise to watch the America's Cup racing. These are some of the pictures of the tug, people, as well as sights of the Bay and race boats that day.

Nikon D200 w/ 18-105mm VR lens, Nikon D300 w/ 150-500mm Sigma OS lens.
- Bernard Zee

The Mazapeta tug can be found tied berthed in Alameda right behind the mighty USS Hornet.

SF Tugboats have been restoring her since 2008, but the work never ends!

The boat sits out in the elements 24/7, and the salt water and sun are merciless.

Not originally equipped with firefighting equipment, the pumps and nozzles were added on afterwards.

The pilothouse is a relatively sparse affair.

Dominated by this giant steering wheel.

Some modern ammenities have been added - most obvious being the GPS. It's really nice to know where you are exactly, to within 10 meters or so!

This is the upper deck of the tug, where the 2nd firefighting nozzle is located in an elevated crow's nest.

Looking out from inside, some festive touches add a bit of color!

There is ample room inside the tug, but everyone spent most of the time outside.

I believe that's Jason, who's skippering the tug.

Here she is starting up, belching some diesel fumes aftwards.

...and we're off!

Waving by from the docks.

As we were watching the Americas cup races, we had on board a large contingent of Artemis team supporters.

The rear deck of the tug is fairly spacious, and open. Lots of space to spread out and walk about.

There is the option of the upper deck, where it's a bit less room - but you'd get an elevated view.

Here we are coming up on San Francisco to the left.

Some of the guests point out some porpoises. Unfortunately, I was too slow to spot them.

The wonderful new Bay bridge, as it nears completion.

A few large ships are anchored in the Bay.

What caught everyone's attention was the sound of this Donzi '007' powerboat. Oh my, what awesome notes that machine can create!

And as expected, there were lots of sailboats on the Bay that day.

Here were are transiting under the Bay bridge.

It's been a while since I've posted any bird shots - so here's a gull with the Bay bridge.

It was a gorgeous day on this portion of the Bay.

Bright skies and sunshine right?

For this year, the race boats are tied up closer to the Bay Bridge side.

Serious construction going on for the future home of the 2013 America's cup. When it's ready, the race boats will tie up there.

OK, I'm cheating a bit here. Yes, it's a picture of the Mazapeta I took - but it was from a couple of years ago at Fleetweek. Thought I'd show what the boat looks like - from the outside!

The Arista looks like someone's nice shiny toy!

Another shot of the Arista. Purty!

The tug had a wonderfully friendly atmosphere, helped along by a potluck selection of food that everyone brought.

Remember that sunny weather? As we got closer to where the races were, the sun got bloated out by the famous san Francisco fog. Doh!

My favorite cutter, the USCGC Tern.

Wind was whipping up a bit, and it was getting cold too!

Got a friendly wave from the sailboat Zing.

Team Oracle's chase boat goes blasting by us.

A frontal shot of the US Army Corps of Engineer's boat, the John AB Dillard Jr. by Pier 39.
I hadn't known this, but the boat is meant to be used for debris cleaning.

Loads of boats making their way to watch the Cup races.

The 4inch deck gun of the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien.

Another popular draw is the WWII submarine Pampanito (SS-383).

One of the many official boats tending the perimeter of the race course.

Oh look, another shot of the Tern! :-)

One thing I noticed was helicopters. Lots of helicopters there to provide aerial footage of the race.

If I was in a small boat, I would not want to look up and see this!

Here's China's Firefall and the Italian Prada race boats.

A helicopter by the iconic Transamerica tower.

See? It was like a helicopter airshow! Lots of hovering.

America's Oracle boat, and the Swedish Artemis boat.

Followed by more helicopters! Actually, I found the helicopters to be a great clue. If they started moving, the race was on!

More America's cup offical boats.

It's almost like Fleetweek out there! Here's the Alameda County Sheriff's gunboat. Though the guns have been put away for the moment...

Another helicopter trailing the New Zealand Fly Emirates, and U.S. Oracle boats.

I had a fun time shooting the helos too.

One of my closer shots of the race boats, as Artemis prepares to make a turn.

The 2 Artemis boats can be seen along with Prada in this shot.

By this time, the Bay was positively clogged with all sorts of boats. This is the first time I've seen Fifer out on the Bay.

The Energy and Prada boats getting a little close here.

Honestly I have no idea what's going on in the race. From our vantage point, I really couldn't tell who was ahead or what or why they were doing what they were doing!

Just enjoying myself with the sights and sounds. Well, not that the sailboats make much noise...

I got little tidbits from the ardent Artemis fans. But by and by, I was pretty much clueless about it all!

There were different heats, and there were certain points they had to go around. And there was a finish line close by shore... that's about all I know!

The race course was laid out to give land spectators the best view, as much of the action was very close to shore. Once in a while, a boat would get somewhat close to us. But not very close - as I'm using my big 500mm lens here!

As they changed directions in their zig-zag path, the crew has to reposition themselves to the other side, and they have to do 'stuff' with their sails. Yeah, I'm real technical seeing that I know nothing about sailing!

These cats are pretty fast though, and they can accelerate very quickly in a nice breeze.

Didn't see anyone flip over that day, but it does happen on a fairly regular basis. Sailing on the edge baby!

Must be pretty scary to be leaning on the side when it's all lifted out of the water. Maybe like pulling a wheelie on a bike?

Energy looks to be a French boat.

Prada and Oracle boats.

The Balcutha can be seen in the background. Like Fleetweek, her decks are full of people too!

Closeup of Artemis as they get ready to change directions.

Man, would have liked to have been 100yard closer!

The Oracle and Korean boat catching some nice air.

Ben Ainslie Racing is Britain's entry.

Lovely Martha!

View from the upper deck.

One of the Team Artemis boats came by for a package handoff. Forgot to ask about it, but it was probably food!

A view of the Phoenix fireboat with the SF skyline.

There's SF police boat SF Marine 1. If I remember correctly, the boat was a USCG prototype, and was transferred to the city police.

Panning with a USCG Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat.

Lots and lots of sail boats!

An action shot of Artemis as they transition to a different heading.

Another look at the SFFD Phoenix fireboat.

Here they are bunched up in front of the Palace of Fine Arts.

Has to be the beginning of another race, as they spread out rather quickly.

Team China in an iconic SF shot.

I guess he's an official boat. Got the flag.

Vested Interest.

Now those guys on the Cinnabar know how to dress warm!

Beau is one of the volunteers on the tug. Great guy to talk with!

Wahoo is coming right at us.

With the low sides, you can just sit in your chair (if you remembered to bring one), put your legs up and enjoy the view!

Red and White Fleet provides tours of the Bay. They tend to go by too fast for any sort of events viewing though.

Got a nice wave from the Deseado.

With the race over, it was time to start heading back.

This is the amazing 56 meter ketch superyacht, Asahi. Maybe in my next life!

Back towards the Bay Bridge, the weather clears up once more. Oh, that's what the sun looks like!

All the sail boats making their way back, like the Freedom Won here.

That's the potluck table. Where even at the end of the day, there was still food available. Good stuff!

Heading back under the Bay Bridge.

Artsy Beau shot.

I liked this shot of the Tug and the bridge.

One thing about the tug is that it's very stable. Wide and heavy, it doesn't roll or pitch much at all in the water. Great camera platform!


Young lady standing dangerously close to the edge!

No Fear, no fear.

Some of the Ready Reserve ships at Alameda.

View of the Museum ship USS Hornet. Lots of history there!

Preparing to dock.

Tieing up.

Interesting story about the firefighting equipment. The tug was retrofitted with pumps, pipes, and nozzles to pump seawater to fight fires. Pipes with salt water in them tend not to fare to well over time. As can be seen here, much of the water pipes are completely rusted (and missing). So even though the water pumps are fully functional, they can't use the firefighting gear yet. They would love to get that working, but it takes $$ to fix it.

After we shut down, got to take a tour of the engine room.

The tug has a pair of huge Cleveland 278 diesel electric engines, each generating 650HP to a single propeller at 1050shp.

It also has a pair of Detriot Diesel Allison engines for the water pumping.

Here's some huge and scary looking breaker switches. The Tug uses the engines like a locomotive - the engines create electrical power which drives a motor to turn the propeller.

Here are the electrical motors.

Mechanical steering linkage to the rudders.

Guessing the voltage and currents involved, I don't even want to be anywhere near that panel when it's hot!

Well, that's a superb way to spend an afternoon!

If you ever get a chance - I'd highly recommend spending some time on the Bay with the Mazapeta and her crew! I had a wonderful time, and hope to be cruising with her again soon!