TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series Official Blog

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

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Erie Insurance onboard again for the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Great Lakes Series

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 22, 2019


Erie Insurance – Official Race Sponsor of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Great Lakes 2019

For the second time, Erie Insurance will be the presenting sponsor of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series in the Great Lakes. Based in Erie, Pennsylvania, Erie Insurance is a FORTUNE 500 company offering auto, home, business and life insurance through a network of more than 12,000 local independent ERIE agents.

By sponsoring the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®  Race Series, Erie Insurance supports Tall Ships America in our mission of sail training. And to show their support, they are sponsoring twenty high school students to sail about U.S. Brig Niagara. Interested? More information is available on the Flagship Niagara League website.

A fleet of 20 tall ships will sail to ports in Toronto, Ontario; Buffalo, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Bay City, Michigan; Green Bay and Kenosha, Wisconsin; Sarnia, Midland and Kingsville, Ontario; Erie, Pennsylvania, and Brockville, Ontario. More information about the events are at www.tallshipschallenge.com.

Welcome back, Erie Insurance!




Posted in 2007 | Leave a Comment »

Join the Race Team this summer!

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 17, 2019


TALL SHIPS AMERICA is seeking a summer intern who is interested in working in a unique nonprofit environment. Interns support the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Team in various components of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series, which is an annual series of tall ships races and maritime port festivals that celebrate our rich maritime heritage and traditions and which inform the general public about the transformative power of ‘Adventure and Education Under Sail®.’ Interns join the race team in working with the vessels, crews, trainees, port organizers, US Coast Guard, and others to execute a successful series of races and port festivals for traditional sailing ships.
Our summer intern will join TALL SHIPS AMERICA in Toronto on June 26th and will depart from Erie, PA on August 26th . As a member of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Team, we expect that the intern will support festival operations and dockside vessels in Toronto, ON (June 28 – July 1); Buffalo, NY (July 4-7); Cleveland, OH (July 11-14); Bay City, MI (July 18-21); Green Bay, WI (July 25 – 28); Kenosha, WI (August 1-4); Sarnia or Midland, ON (August 8-11); Kingsville, ON (August 15-18) and Erie, PA (August 22-25). There is an option to stay on board through to Brockville, ON (August 29-September 2) if the applicants’ availability allows.

The internship position may include but is not limited to:
• create content for and maintain online social networks (blogging, videos, photos)
• liaise between Tall Ships America, the ports and the ships
• attend daily meetings with the race team, ship liaisons, or event security/USCG
• oversee the execution of US Sailing’s REACH Scavenger Hunt (if applicable) and our crew games
• distribute to and collect forms, directories, and information from the vessels
Our summer intern will be expected to sail as a trainee or volunteer crewmember on a tall ship between ports. These cruises will include three Tall Ships® Races and may include additional port stops. While enrolled in a vessel as a trainee or volunteer crewmember, you will be under that vessel’s care and supervision. Some paperwork may need to be completed and signed before joining the vessel.
Successful candidates will be organized thinkers, motivated workers, enthusiastic learners, confident communicators and mature young adults. Sailing or sail training experience is very helpful but not required. Aspiring photographers and writers are welcome.

TALL SHIPS AMERICA offers the following incentives:
• Food allowance when traveling in support of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® 2019 Race Series
• Accommodations aboard a tall ship (or a shared hotel room if a ship berth is unavailable)
• Experience of sail training and working with tall ships, officials, and the public
• Stipend of $750 for the full program
NOTE: Interns are responsible for their own transportation to Toronto and home from Erie or the intern’s last port.

If you are interested in being an intern, please apply via email to:
Erin Short, TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Director: erin@tallshipsamerica.org.

Please include a cover letter, resume and references. Additionally, please submit a brief writing sample that focuses on what value you would bring to TALL SHIPS AMERICA and what you would like to gain from the internship experience.

Applications must be received by 5:00pm EDT May 10th. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Final decision will be announced on May 15th. For more information about TALL SHIPS AMERICA and the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE ® Race Series, visit our website at http://www.TALLSHIPSAMERICA.ORG or go to http://www.tallshipschallenge.com

Posted in 2007 | Leave a Comment »

Sail onboard the USCG Eagle!

Posted by Tall Ships America on December 11, 2018

Calling all Tall Ships America members!
You can help sail EAGLE across the Atlantic Ocean! The ship will depart Baltimore, MD on or about 08 April and arrive Portsmouth, England on or about 27 April. Volunteers have the option to depart in England or sail on and help provide ship tours in Oslo, Norway and Kiel, Germany. If you decide to stay on to help with tours, you will depart EAGLE no later than 11 May from Kiel, Germany. Berthing is free. Volunteers must pay for own transportation to/from ship and meals.

EAGLE seeks able-bodied mariners between 18 – 50 years old who will, when underway, work the rig, stand 8 hours/ day of watch tending sails and/or helm/lookout, and provide 1 day/week of messcook or scullery service. If assisting in port as well, they seek mariners who can help provide up to 10 hrs/day of “tour duty” every 3rd day.

EAGLE is the sail-training vessel for the US Coast Guard Academy. The ship’s displacement is 1800 long tons. She is propelled with 23 sails and a dual turbo motor turbine unit engine capable of 1,200 HP.


Please submit an application to Erin Short by January 31st according to the criteria and instructions below. You will be notified of your acceptance by February 8th.

Program Details:
1.)You must be at least 18 years old and not more than 50 years old.
2.) You must be fit, willing and able to work aloft. You must pass a medical clearance.
3.) You must be a U.S. Citizen.
4.) You will be full a participant in the operation of the ship: standing watch, helm, lookout, bridge, maintenance, working aloft, galley and all other regular trainee duties.
5.) You are welcome and STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend training classes with the USCG crew.
6.) The ideal candidate is an experienced, rising sail training practitioner. This program is not for “Old Salts”, and it is not for first-timers.
7.) Upon successful completion of the program, EAGLE will issue to you (if you request it) a letter of Sea Service or other formal documentation of your sea service in EAGLE.
8.) Participants must pay $12/day for food and expenses, etc. Total cost of food for 21 days will be approximately $250.

9.) Participants will write a post voyage blog post and share pictures with Tall Ships America to share with their members.

Application Details:
1.) All applications must be submitted electronically to Tall Ships America at erin@tallshipsamerica.org no later than 5:00pm EST on January 31st
2.) You must be a Tall Ships America member in good standing to apply. Not a member? Become one now!
3.) Applications must include the following:
a.) Resume of your traditional ship experience, as crew or as trainee
b.) Letter of recommendation from your current (or most recent) Captain or First Mate
c.) Welcome packet with Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Agreement and Guest Medical Forms will be provided to accepted applicants by mid-February.

This opportunity is available to you based on the mutual regard and respect that is shared between the EAGLE leadership and Tall Ships America, and in support of our shared mission in promoting leadership training under sail.

This is truly a rare and special opportunity, and we are very happy to be able make it available to you, the up-and-coming next generation of sail training officers and crew.

Posted in 2019, EAGLE Seamanship Program, USCG | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships America Welcomes New Executive Director

Posted by Tall Ships America on November 27, 2018

Kris K

Tall Ships America is proud to announce that it has engaged Dr. Kris Von Wald as its Executive Director, after an extended search Kris is expected to take the helm in the next few weeks, where she will lead the organization — and assist the industry — as both face the challenges of the coming years.

Many regular attendees may recall meeting Kris at previous annual conferences of Tall Ships America and Sail Training International. Kris is known to the Tall Ships community as the lead author and investigator for the creation of the “Sail Training Programme Evaluation Self-Assessment Toolkit.” Development of the Toolkit involved her extensive — and worldwide — interaction with sail vessel operators and with the tall ships races, including sailing on board Christian Radich. She has experience as a social science leader for a British Exploring Society expedition to Greenland and as a participant on a sailing expedition with Hurricane Island Outward Bound. Kris has directly relevant experience as the chief executive of the Association for Experiential Education in the United States and the Hibernian Community Foundation in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Kris has served as a senior leader and consultant in non-profit, public–sector, and commercial positions in the United States and the UK. She has taught master classes in leadership, governance and organizational development. In particular, her work has emphasized leading transformative change, facilitating strategic leadership development, and business planning. She has written business development plans for non-profit organizations, strategic plans for departments of higher education, and change management plans for government agencies.

Kris has a BSc in Business (Finance and Marketing), a MA in Educational Psychology and a PhD in Leadership and Innovation. She has served on many boards including Scouts Scotland, Volunteer Edinburgh, and the Forum on Community and Restorative Justice. Most recently she was with Penn State as the business and operations director of a large engineering department and significant prevention research unit.

Tall Ships America will be proud to introduce Kris to the membership and the industry at the forthcoming Annual Conference in San Pedro, California — February 25-27.

Join us in welcoming Dr. Von Wald!

Posted in 2007 | 1 Comment »

October in America’s Front Yard

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 22, 2018

Dar at the Capitol Building

Our Darlene at the Capitol Building

Last week, our team flew down to Washington, DC for our annual attaché reception in the Lyndon B. Johnson room of the U.S. Capitol Building (you can find past receptions here, here  here and here).

The event is aimed at naval representatives from countries that have a sail training vessel.   Attachés from Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, and the Middle East are all invited to learn about our upcoming events. Our TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(R) host ports have the opportunity to speak to and invite these vessels to the events and their Congressional representatives are there to lend their support. It is, without a doubt, a schmoozefest and one I personally look forward to every year.

This year, we had host port representatives from Toronto and Erie speak about the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Race Series 2019. If it’s not on your calendar, it should be!

Captain Sabatini

Captain Ian Wood_Lea Parrell_Carlton Aylett

Canada Represent! Captain Ian Wood, naval attaché of Canada; Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto – Lea Parrell, Harmony Marketing and Carlton Aylett, Krista Slack+Aylett, Inc

In 2020, we will be on the Atlantic Coast and celebrating the 200th anniversary of Maine becoming a state. Lobstah’s all around! Stay tuned for more details as our fleet and race series comes together.

I always try to take advantage of a few days in Washington, DC and get my nerd on by visiting a few of the free museums in the city. This year, I visited the National Building Museum, which at first blush doesn’t seem that exciting, but have you seen the interior? Hideous!

National Building Museum

We visited the Secret Cities exhibit, all about the Manhattan Project Sites around the country. Los Alamos, NM was only one of three of these secret cities and I had no idea. It was a fascinating look into the logistics of these massive communities.

Next, because no trip is complete without at least one tall ship, we headed over to the National Gallery of Art for the Water, Wind, And Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. While the paintings were interesting, the objects that caught my eye were the amazing ship models –

Toy boat

We’ll be back in Washington, DC in May. Any recommendations on where to go? It’s one of my favorite cities and I am always looking to explore a new neighborhood. Until next time – fair winds!


Posted in 2018 | Leave a Comment »

The Summer We Return to the Great Lakes

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 11, 2018

We could not be more excited to announce our TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®2019 Race Series in the Great Lakes. Eleven ports will host a fleet of tall ships throughout June, July and August. But wait, Sarnia and Midland are on the same dates!? How observant of you.  While some ships will be in Sarnia and the Detroit River, the rest will head up to beautiful Georgian Bay and Midland for the weekend.

We have an amazing line up of returning ports – Brockville, Toronto, Erie, Cleveland, Green Bay and four time Port of the Year winner, Bay City. We also have some fresh faces in the mix this year – Buffalo, Kingsville, Sarnia, Midland, and Kenosha.

We’ll also have your favorite Great Lakes (and beyond!) tall ships as part of the fleet and we are sprinkling in some new ships for your viewing pleasure. It’s going to be a busy summer and I can’t wait to get started.

Stay tuned for more updates, including websites as they go live and participating ships. Mark your calendars for the summer of 2019!

Posted in 2019, Cleveland, OH, Great Lakes, Green Bay, WI, Tall Ships America general, Toronto | 3 Comments »

Captain Bert Rogers

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 13, 2018

Updated August 30, 2018

To the Membership of Tall Ships America and to the Tall Ship Community at Large,

It is with great sadness that I have to report to you that we have lost a great shipmate, colleague, and friend — Bert Rogers — Executive Director of Tall Ships America. He was enjoying a reunion with his family in Iowa when he passed away suddenly.

Bert dropped out of college to sail on Romance with Captain Arthur Kimberly, and never looked back. He was a champion of sail training and a true friend to many in our community.

There will be a remembrance of Bert to be held in Gloucester Massachusetts in the coming weeks around Labor Day (details to be announced)

Bert had already announced his plans to transition out of the Executive Director position at Tall Ships America, and while the search for his successor will now be accelerated, the staff will continue with operations as before, and we will update you with interim provisions.

Please join me in expressing condolences to Bert’s family.


Michael Rauworth
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Tall Ships America


Update as to Bert Rogers Memorial

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 — 2:00 pm

Fort Adams State Park (near the piers)

Newport, Rhode Island


  • Kindly RSVP if you are planning to attend, https://goo.gl/forms/mXiQdl9KAYFBHpKf2 — a headcount will help us plan better.
  • Parking at Fort Adams will be plentiful.
  • Space in the tent may not be plentiful (at least not enough to accommodate everyone).
  • Accordingly, all sailors, kindly be sure to bring your foul weather gear (at least in your car), so that seats in the tent remain available for those not well-equipped to stand for the duration — Bert would have wanted it that way.
  • The events will be videotaped, for viewing later by — among others — Bert’s son James, currently at sea aboard Picton Castle. The video gear will be available immediately after the ceremonies end, for those who wish to record their own remembrance — either pre-written and read to the camera, or spontaneous. These remembrances may — if wished — be directed to Bert’s son.
  • Harvey Gamage’s folks have told us that berths are available to sail to the ceremony from Portland aboard that worthy craft. There may also be overnight bunk space for those who do not arrive by sea. If interested, kindly contact:

sydneylhebert@ocean-passages.org (or 855-212-0123 (ext. 1)) for information.

  • For those arriving by air or rail, the following RIPTA buses will deliver you to the Gateway Center in downtown Newport, for a charge of only $2.00:
      • The #14 bus runs from the airport
      • The #64 bus runs from Kingston Station (Amtrak)
      • The #60 runs from Providence (Amtrak)
    • There are also shuttles from the airport to Newport
    • There is also a ferry from Providence that is $10.
    • Once in Newport, attendees may get a taxi /UBER/Lyft out to Fort Adams, unless a ride is arranged (below).
  • Ridesharing arrangements may be negotiated by leaving comments in the Comments section of the Tall Ships America Facebook Page on which this message appears. However, no ridesharing calls to the Tall Ships America office, please.
  • There will be time afterwards — outside the tent — for suitable conviviality, the way Bert would have wanted it.
  • Anyone with skill and a musical instrument is respectfully encouraged to bring it along (in the car), and we’ll see what happens after we finish. Bert would have been happy to know that a jam broke out at his memorial.


Posted in 2018 | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships America Executive Director search is underway!

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 22, 2018

The search for Tall Ships America’s next Executive is officially open, and the job description and details can be found here: Tall Ships America Executive Director. We are poised to make great strides forward and looking for an experienced leader with clear vision, knowledge of the field, and deep dedication to our mission to help us chart the course ahead.


View the Job Description (PDF)


Posted in Tall Ships America general | Leave a Comment »

Busy in the Big Easy

Posted by Tall Ships America on May 1, 2018

The tall ships have certainly drawn in the crowds to Woldenberg Park. There has been much to see with the tall ships, Coast Guard, and Navy ships all in town. Much to do as well. As the crowds moved out on Saturday evening we prepared for the Tall Ships® Tricentennial Gala Fundraiser.


The event celebrated 300 Years of New Orleans on the decks of the ships and dockside at Woldenberg Park. Patrons were greeted with drinks and a taste of the many local dishes that New Orleans has to offer. Every celebration requires a cake and Chef Tariq Hannah of Sucré produced his rendition of a 4-masted Barque. The cake was cut just in time for the fireworks and everyone was able to enjoy the rest of their night dancing among these great ships. It was a great way to celebrate the city’s long maritime history.


More food was on the menu for Sunday’s activities. The Tabasco Global Kitchen Cook-Off paired tall ship cooks and Navy/ Coast Guard Culinary Specialists with chefs from local restaurants around New Orleans. Teams were challenged on their ability to prepare a local seafood recipe using the special ingredient, Tabasco sauce.


Representing the tall ships, we had Oliver Hazard Perry cook, Donna Vestuti and Picton Castle challenger, Aaron Samet. Donna was paired up with Chef Chris Lusk, “The Louisiana Seafood King” and Aaron was paired up with Chef Keith Frentz of Lola Restaurant. Both teams had 30 minutes to create their masterpieces. All teams were able to plan their dishes beforehand and ingredients were ready for them to start. The sounds of kitchen rustle filled the room. None of these teams have ever worked together but with the proper communication (just like on a tall ship) they were able to work as an organized unit. The sizzles started as fish met fry pan and the smells that filled the room definitely made you hungry. At the final seconds teams added their finishing touches and presented them to the panel of judges. All teams had a great showing but it was the team of Sgt Scott Meadows, USS Kearsarge, and Chef Mike Nelson, GW Fins, who took the judges taste buds. Food is commonality for everyone and it was a great way to end our time in New Orleans.


Thanks to all of the tall ships, small ships, Coast Guard, and Navy ships that made their way to New Orleans for this great event. We certainly drew a crowd that will leave a lasting impression on the people of New Orleans and the surrounding area.





Posted in 2007 | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships in the Crescent City

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 21, 2018

Picton’s resident feline, named “Fiji”, plays in a dockline coil


April 20, 2018

by James

Wow! What a week its been since we left Pensacola! We cast off at 6:30 AM Monday morning and had some great sailing for the next day or so. Once we got closer to the Mississippi the weather died a bit, and we motored through the North Gulf oil fields. A pilot got on board and we entered the River delta, connecting with a tug Tuesday afternoon. It would have taken several days to make it upriver without one, due to the Mississippi’s high water and fast current. It was quite the workout, manning the helm that night. It took two people to keep the ship on course behind the tug!

Oosterschelde overtakes Picton Castle on the voyage from Pensacola

The tug got the Picton crew to the anchorage the next morning, where Elissa was already waiting. We were shortly joined by Oosterschelde (Lynx and When and If took the Industrial Canal to Pontchartrain Landing) that afternoon. We spent the rest of that day in the hot sun making Picton look nice and pretty for public viewing. Oliver Hazard Perry arrived later that night.

Picton crew members unwind with music after a hard days work

Thursday was spent coming up the final few mile stretch between the anchorage and New Orleans.

The ships opened for tours for school kids today around 10 AM, with tours for the general public open at 12. It was incredible to see the ultimate turn out, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final numbers recorded by the ships, I’m sure they were in the  thousands!

The ship crews are seething with anticipation to get out an explore the Big Easy, myself included. I cant wait to see the famous New Orleans from street level!

View from aloft on Picton Castle

ew Orleans from street level!

Posted in 2018, New Orleans, PICTON CASTLE | Leave a Comment »

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