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Let the Games Begin

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 24, 2013

Nautical Alphabet

Nautical Alphabet

June 22, 2013
Written by Brian

Peacemaker prepares for the Tug of War

Peacemaker prepares for the Tug of War

The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(R) Great Lakes 2013 has drawn a great group of sailors and trainees to the Redpath Waterfront Festival in Toronto, Canada. The Sailor Games were an event to test the nautical knowledge of the trainees. This event was created by Tall Ships America as part of the Youth Initiative to support young sailors to take part in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®. The truth about sailors is whether they are 16 or 61, they are always young at heart, and so the young greenhorns and the old sea salts were battling it out amidst the torrential rain.

These games consisted of a heaving line toss to see who could throw a heaving line the farthest. A life ring relay that required every person from their team to stand next to each other and hold hands while moving a life ring from one side of the team to the other. The tug of war was the most competitive of all pitting two teams against each other to see which team had a better two-six heave. The Nautical Alphabet was a test of your nautical knowledge and the teams had to use it to fill in each letter.

Christine Preps for the Life Ring

Christine Preps for the Life Ring

Five teams made up the competition being represented by the Conglomerate team of Fair Jeanne, Lynx, Niagara, Peacemaker, and the Toronto Brigantines, Pathfinder and Playfair.

The crew of Niagara came parading by Toronto waterfront waving their flag “Don’t Give Up The Ship.” The numbers of Niagara proved them well as their unfairly numbered team beat the Young but competitive Toronto Brigantines in the tug of war. However, the home team of Toronto put up surprisingly valiant effort,  and the  crews from Toronto Brigantines were able to hold off the larger crew of Niagara for quite some time. They did not make it an easy win for the Niagara team. Both teams were chanting Two! Six! as they use the command onboard the ship to keep crews in unison while hauling on ropes.

Niagara wins for pride at least

Niagara wins for pride at least

Peacemaker used the nautical knowledge to take the win in the Nautical Alphabet. The nautical alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie) was not allowed except for the letters Q and Z. Peacemaker shocked the crowd with the use of zeppelin bend for the letter Z (a zeppelin bend is used to bend two lines together.)

On a ship, the mooring lines are heavy and thick so lighter heaving lines with weights at the end and tied to the mooring line. The end with the weight is thrown to the dock and the person on the dock receiving the thrown line is able to pull the heavier line across the distance. The heaving line event was to see who could throw the line farthest. After quickly finding out that crew members could out thow the length of the line when it was tied to the tree, we untied the heaving line let the crew throw it freely into the field. This is usually counterintuitive as rule of thumb is to always have the heaving line tied off to something. The crews of the Toronto Brigantines, Pathfinder and Playfair, were able to throw themselves to a victory after defeating the conglomerate team of Fair Jeanne.

At the end of the games Toronto Brigantines won the first prize of cake and crowned the champions of the first Sailor Games for the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® in Toronto. Coming in last place was the crew of Niagara. They were rewarded with a nautical book to improve their seamanship. We plan to have several more Sailor Games throughout the summer.


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