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An update from Niagara

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 19, 2010

By Ben Rogers
July 11, 2010 

The festival in Cleveland has been a success so far, and it started off on the right foot with the parade of sail into the harbor. We were still in the finishing stages of our post-Welland rigging, when we arrived at the rest of the fleet. OS’s Dylan and Sydnee, and trainee Barbara and I were at the main fighting-top with come-alongs and marline, tuning and seizing the main t’gallant mast bentinck shrouds so we could set our main t’gallant, which we immediately did. In fact, we set all 15 sails on our girl, something that hadn’t been done in six years.

While we were waiting for the parade to start, we tacked around in company with Europa and Bounty, both looking fine and enjoying the day. Bounty was finishing up a swim call, and Europa even sretched out her fore t’gallant stuns’ls! There are few places in time as nice as being around world traveling square riggers dressed to impress. 

At one point we cruised past Europa without too much sweat, she with her royals set, and we under topsails. Of course, we ought to perform better in these conditions, we were built for them, and she’s built for the wild southern ocean, and deep sea-sailing. Even still, I felt a bit of competitive pride well up. I am looking forward to the races. I’ve done a bit of racing, and though I’ve never actually won, and never been in a fast boat, it is exciting to push a rig and hull and crew to their peak performance, and see how you do.

Furling the fores'l after the parade

The Cleveland crowds are impressive. After today, we’ve had nearly 15,000 people come across our decks, and the weather has not been nice. Two days of suffocating heat, and yesterday a thunderstorm, but the lines did not shrink. People still came out and saw the ships, and weren’t phased at all by the weather. Maybe the sudden influx of sailors inspired the public to temporarily brave the elements. 

July 18, 2010 

It has been a strange week of events here in Niagara. A big chunk of the crew went down suddenly with illness, and we were forced to withdraw from the first of the summer’s tall ship races, and high-tail it back to Erie where we could collect ourselves and assess the problem. Thankfully, the crew are on the mend, the issue is contained, and our self-imposed quarantine of the ship has been lifted, though the smell of cleaning products may take a bit longer to go away. Everyone is looking forward to the long passage to Duluth, and ready for the steady rhythm that comes with a few days out on the water. It’s funny how, from a conventional point of view, time in port seems like a break, but for a sailor, the break comes once we’ve gotten away from it.

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