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They’re here!…..and now they are gone.

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 6, 2007

Off to the FinishCisne Branco (COL) Arrives in Newport

The ships arrived last Wednesday in the homeport of the ASTA office, Newport, Rhode Island.  This photo is the view from my office window.  As the Gloria sailed in, the crew were up in the yards, singing. With an entrance like that, I never get tired of seeing the ships sail into port. The excitement had been building in Rhode Island the last few weeks before the event. We have gotten awesome coverage in the local and Boston papers  and some of the ships came in early to add to the anticipation. Many of the ships were loitering about off Newport in Narragansett Bay, it was so neat to see them as you crossed over the bridges to Aquidneck Island (where Newport is located).  Tall Ships(R) Rhode Island (www.tallshipsrhodeisland.org), the organizers for the event here in Newport really put together a great event.  

We had gorgeous weather, cool and sunny. For Rhode Island at the end of June, that is  a bit of an anomaly, usually it is awfully hot and the humidity is tangible.  The crowds came in droves and the crews were busy giving tours and participating in the crew rally’s.  At one point, we even got a fly by from the President’s helicopters since he was in town for the Naval War College 50th reunion.  One thing that the Newport organizers really focused on was bringing the crews together for competition. There were sailboat races, soccer matches, knot tying, tug of war and a bucket brigade.  It was a fun way for the crews to interact and show off some skill. Many Newporters also invited the crews into their homes for a bar-b-que and a bit of local color.

One would think that having the tall ships in our hometown would make for an easier event. So not true. If anything, the Race Team was even busier- answering questions about an area that we actually know, showing family and friends around the ships, and setting up the second race for Sunday (7/1). Regardless, it was nice to be home. Many of the ships that were in the Newport event were also at the Norfolk event and, in the evening, it was fun to see different crews hanging out.  I got the impression that the Newport natives liked having all the uniforms around. I don’t think the crews  had to wait in line and people went out of their way to approach them.  Rarely were the naval crews out of uniform and rarely were they able to walk ten feet without being photographed.

All too soon, the event was over and it was time for the Parade of Sail on Sunday. It was another gorgeous, breezy day.  I watched some of the Parade at Goat Island State Park, long enough to watch the ships emerge from behind Goat Island, sail under the Newport Bridge and head out to the turn around point.  Next thing I know, I am bouncing along in the Race Committee boat in the Parade of Sail, getting a close up view of the ships.Cisne Branco Parade of Sail Newport

 The second and the third races are both sponsored by VECTRIX, an electric motorbike company located here in Newport www.vectrix.com.   They had a fun booth and course set up on the Newport Shipyard, complete with hay bales and some very wobbly volunteers. I kept trying to get Jonathan to take a bike for a spin, but he refused.  Anyway, the second race started right after the Parade of Sail ended.  We set up a line between two boats, then sat and ate sandwiches. I wonder if that is what they do at the America’s Cup- probably champagne and caviar, not turkey and soggy chips. Regardless, it was a gorgeous day and I had a first row seat in what was shaping up to be a pretty good competition.  The contestants were Pride of Baltimore, Gorch Fock, Tarangini, Spirit of Bermuda, Urania and  Prince William.  Unfortunately, all the action was concentrated down at the other end of the line so Jonathan was right in the thick of jostling at the line.  I, however, had a great overview. Nevertheless, first across the line was Tarangini, followed quickly by  Pride of Baltimore.       By the time Prince William made it across the line, Pride  was a speck in the distance. It was a thrilling start.  We watched the vessels race away and then called it a night. It had been a long day. 

Tomorrow, I am off to Portsmouth for the start of the third race and then Jonathan and I head up to Halifax for the last stop in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(R).  It promises to be a blast. Fair Winds!

Pride of Baltimore at Race 2 StartStart of Race 2

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