TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series Official Blog

Sea stories, scuttlebutt and fantastic photos covering America\’s official Tall Ships® Races!

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It’s #TALLSHIPSTUESDAY! Let’s learn about USS Constellation

Posted by Tall Ships America on November 10, 2015


Where you’ll find the ship
The museum ship is a dockside attraction in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland

Fun Fact
USS Constellation is rated a sloop of war/corvette. A corvette was traditionally the smallest class of vessel considered to be a proper warship (not to be confused with the Chevrolet Corvette). Want to know why she is labeled a “sloop” of war? This Wikipedia article explains the terminology and how it has evolved.

The backstory
Where to begin…The last all-sail warship built by the US Navy, USS Constellation served her country for nearly 100 years in both military and non-military roles. From 1859-1861, she was the flagship of the US African Squadron charged with the mission of intercepting vessels engaged in the illegal slave trade along the coast of West Africa.  During her later years, she sailed as a training ship at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. She was last under sail in 1893. Her final role as a commissioned vessel came during World War II when she served as flagship of the US Atlantic Fleet. The ship underwent a massive restoration to return her to her original 1854 configuration.

Who sails
Although she doesn’t sail anymore, the ship is open to public tours, and you can stay overnight as part of the educational programming of Historic Ships in Baltimore


Photos courtesy of www.historicships.org and www.baltimorebiz.com

Posted in #tallshipstuesday, 2015, Newport | Leave a Comment »

Help support Adventure and Education Under Sail

Posted by Tall Ships America on November 6, 2015

GIVE with tiny logo copy

– Discovering one’s own strength and capacity to succeed through facing the challenges of the sea.
– Learning to cooperate and to lead by being part of a dedicated ship’s crew.
– Practicing the skills, arts and self-sufficiency of traditional seamanship and navigation.

These experiences help transform uncertain and unformed youths into successful citizens and confident leaders. And these are the values that are carefully preserved and generously offered by the member vessels of Tall Ships America in programs of education under sail.  (click here to read our “Profiles in Sail Training”)

We ask for your help to carry on in this important effort, by making a gift to Tall Ships America’s Annual Appeal.  This year we have received a $50,000 2-for-1 Challenge Grant, which will match your contribution with two dollars for each dollar that you give.  Your gift of $100 will be worth $300 to support our programs.

We look forward to having you aboard with us as a valued shipmate, and we thank you for your support. We will close our Annual Appeal on December 31, so please make your gift now to support adventure and education under sail.

You can read the complete Annual Appeal letter, and donate, on our website

Posted in 2015, Annual Appeal, Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

It’s #TALLSHIPSTUESDAY! Let’s learn about Kalmar Nyckel

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 27, 2015

Photo Credit Andrew Hanna

Photo Credit Andrew Hanna

Where you’ll find the ship cruising around
mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Fun fact
Since Kalmar Nyckel predates the invention of the steering wheel, the helmsman controls the ship with a whipstaff, a large stick that is used to push the ship’s tiller back and forth.

Here is a fascinating guide to the ship and her history (PDF)

The backstory
Kalmar Nyckel, the tall ship of Delaware, is a recreation of a 17th century Dutch Pinnace which served as an armed merchant ship, a Swedish naval vessel, and as the colonial ship that founded New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware. She delivers education programs based on a variety of curricula to students from fourth grade through high school during the school year as part of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s education mission. With the exception of her officers, the crew of the Kalmar Nyckel are volunteers who come from all over the world to participate in her crew-training programs and sail the ship.

Who sails
School groups from elementary through college, as well as individuals and families


Posted in #tallshipstuesday, 2015, Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

Help the newest (and prickliest) member of the fleet!

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 22, 2015


Yesterday marked the start of the Schooner Porcupine‘s Kickstarter campaign. There is a ton of information on their official Kickstarter page –  http://kck.st/1KohCZW and a video explaining their program.

Here is some more information about the ship –

Porcupine’s mission will be sailing as the Schoolship for Presque Isle Bay, a hands-on sailing STEM classroom and historic regional attraction, interpreting her important part in the War of 1812, sailing for the US Coastal Survey Office, being a United States Revenue Cutter, and carrying cargo as the merchant schooner Caroline until 1873.

The completed square topsail rigged Porcupine will be operated by the Bayfront Maritime Center as a historic, sailing science vessel for area school students. Porcupine will also offer sailing charters and special events during the sailing season.

Your contribution to the Kickstarter campaign will help them build a 19th century style deck on top of the donated fiberglass hull.  By contributing to the campaign, you will be a part of the Porcupine experience and, in gratitude for your support, there are several different levels of rewards you can receive (personally, I have an eye on one of those t-shirts).  But don’t do it for the t-shirt, do it because another tall ship out sailing, teaching kids and providing a tangible piece of history to the public, is a good thing.  Donate today!



Posted in Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

It’s #TALLSHIPSTUESDAY – Let’s learn about Makani Olu

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 20, 2015

Photo Credit to Sam Kapoi www.samkapoi.com

Photo Credit to Sam Kapoi http://www.samkapoi.com

Where you’ll find the ship cruising around
Hawaiian Islands

Something you may not know
The ship, and her program, are featured in a documentary! Titled Voyage: Into the Depths of Kanaloa the film will be screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival in November. Here is the trailer  and some more information about the film.

The backstory
The Makani Olu (Gracious Wind) is owned and operated by the Marimed Foundation, a non-profit organization involved with sail training since 1988. The staysail schooner is the central component of a model experiential education and treatment program for at-risk adolescents built around ocean voyaging. Voyaging challenges and experiences are designed to be powerful and transformational. While learning to operate the sailing ship on the six day voyage, the cadets learn marine, navigation, and team building skills. Elderhostel International profess sail training experiences aboard Makani Olu as well. These programs feature hands-on opportunities to sail and operate the ship and additional learning opportunities at ports-of-call.

Who sails
Groups and individuals of all ages


Posted in #tallshipstuesday, Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

It’s #TALLSHIPSTUESDAY- Let’s learn about Amerigo Vespucci

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 6, 2015

Photo Credit Gruppo di Cultura Navale http://www.culturanavale.it/documentazione.php?id=297

Photo Credit Gruppo di Cultura Navale

Quale parte del mondo? (Where in the world?)

Un po’ di divertimento fatto (a little fun fact)
When embarked with midshipmen during summer training cruises, the crew can total 450.

La storia (The story)
Launched in 1931, Amerigo Vespucci is named for the great explorer and cartographer of the 17th century. With her triple decks, Amerigo Vespucci conjures up memories of men-of-war from two centuries ago. Now, the ship is a gracious 20th century goodwill ambassador, as well as a symbol of Italy’s global maritime heritage and tradition. The ship is used to train junior officers of the Italian Navy.

Che naviga (who sails)
Junior officers of the Italian Navy




Posted in #tallshipstuesday, 2015 | Leave a Comment »

Ships, Clocks and Stars

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 30, 2015

Ships Clocks and Stars


Is it just me or does Mystic Seaport always seem to have the coolest programs happening? There seriously does not seem to ever be a dull moment at the waterfront. The latest program, “Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude ” looks especially fascinating. The “Ships, Clocks & Stars” exhibit tells the story of the race to determine longitude at sea and how one of the greatest technical challenges of the 18th century was eventually solved by the dedicated efforts of astronomers, physicists, clockmakers, sailors, and many others. Produced by the National Maritime Museum in London, Mystic Seaport is the only place in the world this unique exhibit will be on display for the next six months.  The exhibit is at Mystic Seaport through March 28, 2016, after which time it moves on to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

More information about the exhibit can be found here.


Posted in 2015, Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

It’s #TALLSHIPSTUESDAY! Let’s learn about Piscataqua

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 29, 2015

The gundalow "Piscataqua," on the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth. NH. The Gundalow Company, Portsmouth, NH. Photograph by Ralph Morang

The gundalow “Piscataqua,” on the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth. NH.
The Gundalow Company, Portsmouth, NH. Photograph by Ralph Morang

Where you’ll find her cruising around
Piscataqua River, Great Bay and connecting rivers

This might interest you
The Piscataqua River is considered to have one of the strongest currents in the world.

The story
Piscataqua was built in 2011 in Portsmouth, NH by Paul Rollins for the nonprofit Gundalow Company. She represents the type of local sailing cargo barges known as “gundalows” that were commonly used from 1690 to 1920 on the interconnected estuarine rivers in the Piscataqua Watershed that spans the border between NH and ME. Since no two gundalows were alike, Piscataqua was built using the only existing lines of the Fanny M (found at the Smithsonian Institution) built in 1886. Piscataqua was built on the grounds of Strawbery Banke Museum with the help of a professional crew and volunteers using traditional materials and methods. She was built as a sailing classroom to fulfill the Gundalow Company’s mission “to protect the Piscataqua region’s maritime heritage and environment through education and action.”

Who sails
Students of all ages and the public


Posted in #tallshipstuesday, Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

It’s #TALLSHIPSTUESDAY! Let’s learn about Freda B

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 22, 2015

Freda B in the Parade of Sail into Los Angeles last summer during TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Pacific Coast 2014 Photo Tall Ships America

Freda B in the Parade of Sail into Los Angeles last summer during TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Pacific Coast 2014 Photo Tall Ships America

Where she sails
San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean

Fun Fact
The schooner is named after the owner’s grandmother, Freda Marie Been

The Story
Originally commissioned as the Spirit of St. Augustine, she was designed by legendary East Coast naval architect, Charles Wittholtz. Her traditional gaff rigged design was intended for comfortable offshore passage-making between New England and Key West with well-appointed accommodations. Called Liberty during many of her 18 years of service before she was purchased in 2010 by Marina O’Neil and Paul Dines of SF Bay Adventures and brought to the Pacific Ocean. Re-christened the Freda B, she is now berthed in Sausalito, California, where she is available for private, custom parties and events, as well as public sails.

Who sails
Individuals and groups


Posted in #tallshipstuesday, Member Programs | Leave a Comment »

My Two Weeks on the USCG Barque Eagle

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 18, 2015

Guest Blogger2


As I mentioned before, we sent a few Tall Ships America members on the Fall EAGLE OCS cruise. Here is Becca’s write up of her experience…

Photo credit N. Tegethoff

Photo credit N. Tegethoff

Lunch tray in hand, walking down the wide companionway from the galley to the mess deck of the 295′ barque Eagle,  to find an open seat in a sea of a hundred matching navy blue uniforms and two hundred polished black composite toed boots is somewhat surreal.  On my last tall ship, our motley crew of twelve or so squeeze through a tiny galley in our torn up, paint and pine tar covered Carhartts, grab our plates and personalized coffee mugs, then scatter around on deck.  There are a few points of culture shock going on here: one is the sheer scale of things, the other is being a civilian on a military training vessel.

The Eagle is truly massive.  Not only the actual dimensions (39′ beam, 25′ freeboard), but the size of the crew (47 permanent and, for my cruise, 70 officer candidates), and even the rabbit-warren maze of below deck compartments feels huge.  The rig, of course, also dwarfs those of just about every other ship I have sailed.  The royal yard is the size of some tops’l yards I’ve seen, and even the buntlines are at least 3/4” line.  There are so many shrouds we climb three or four sailors abreast, at least until the futtocks.  What does not feel huge, however, is my rack: one of twelve in its compartment, stacked three high with built in personal storage unit under the mattress leaving just enough head room to roll over without my shoulders hitting the overhead. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Guest Blogger, Member Programs, 2015, USCG | Leave a Comment »


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