Winter in July…or a summer weekend in Duluth
Posted by Erin on August 2, 2013
Patti and I blasted in Duluth last Wednesday after going home for a few days in between TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® events. That night I had the opportunity to go out with some friends to experience some small boat racing with the local yacht club. It was a gorgeous evening spent with very funny people on the water watching fast boats sail around.
The next day, Patti and I found ourselves on the aerial lift bridge of Duluth once again, which was just as cool as it was the first time. I had forgotten how loud the horn was (quickly reminded) and how smoothly the bridge moves up and down (half the time, I didn’t even realize we had moved). It is an incredible view from up there! Lake Superior stretches away to the east and then, in the other direction, you look west and more west. As the ships pass under the bridge, I felt I could almost reach down and touch the mast, especially with Peacemaker who has the highest rig in the fleet (123’)
Thursday evening, the race team was reunited. Brian had just finished his last trip on Lynx and was sad to say goodbye to the crew but eager to get on board Sorlandet for the trip from Duluth to Chicago. Eliza had settled into Sorlandet for the trip from Bay City to Duluth and looking forward to the leg down to Chicago. But first things first, we had an event to do in Duluth.
Friday was one of the coldest days in July I have ever experienced (with the exception of several days in Halifax, NS, in 2007) After the recent heat wave we experienced here in New England, the cool weather of Duluth was a much appreciated respite. I am just so glad I remembered to pack long pants and a sweatshirt. Not only was it cold, it was rainy. Normally, that would be disastrous for an outdoor event, not so in Duluth. If you choose to live in a place where it gets -50ºF during the winter, you can handle unfavorable summer weather. For the crew, it meant that it was time to bust out the long underwear, jackets and hats as they greeted the thousands of enthusiastic people who crossed their decks.
Saturday was just as rainy and cold but that day even more people streamed, undaunted, into the event site. Live music was performed all day to entertain the people waiting in the 2.5 hour lines for Sorlandet.
Finally, the sun appeared about mid morning on Sunday. We peeled off our jackets, threw on our sunglasses and marveled at the third day of a seemingly never ending stream of visitors. All too soon, the event closed and we were packing up our office.
That evening was the crew party where we announced the winners for the third race of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series, on Lake Huron. The winners were Pride of Baltimore II in first, Niagara in second and Sorlandet in third.
Monday morning Patti and I headed out the start line for the fourth race from Duluth to Whitefish Point (about 300nm away). It was a beautiful morning and then the ships were on the horizon, on their way to the far end of Lake Superior, and we were on our way to airport.
Now the fleet should be making their way down to Chicago for the Tall Ships® Chicago 2013 event. Winners for the fourth race of the season will be announced at the crew parade on Thursday afternoon. Follow me on Twitter @tallshipsfleet for the winners and photos throughout the event. For more photos from Duluth and our other TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) ports, visit our Flickr page