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Third time is the charm

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 10, 2013

Cleveland skyline and Sorlandet

Cleveland skyline and Sorlandet

My very first tall ship event was in Cleveland in 2006. Prior to that, I had never seen a tall ship in real life until I saw Niagara sail past, guns blazing.  Whenever I return to Cleveland, I can’t help but reflect on that memory and then shake my head at how long ago that seems and all the amazing experiences I have had since that very first sighting. Needless to say, I always love returning to Cleveland.  This year’s Port of Cleveland 2013 Tall Ships(R) Festival built on those memories. We had a fabulous attendance, long (patient) lines for the ships and a well-looked-after fleet. The fleet included Peacemaker, Sorlandet, Pride of Baltimore II, Lynx, Denis Sullivan, Appledore IV, Unicorn, Liana’s RansomPlayfair, and brief appearances by Pathfinder and Niagara.  The weather gods must have reasoned that we suffered enough in 2010 (scorching, brain-melting heat that year) and decided that a few days of cloud cover and lake breezes would benefit our team. While it was still warm, it didn’t stop people from waiting up to an hour and half to board the ships. Thanks to amazing volunteers and tireless liaisons, there were minimal incidents and smooth boardings.

Day two _Sun

It wasn’t all work and no play. On the Fourth of July, Brian, Eliza and I watched fireworks from the deck of Sorlandet. We also had the opportunity to see the Rolling Stones exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was awesome. I had been to the Rock Hall twice previously and, despite this being my third time, still found myself lingering in every room and watching every video.

Taking a break with some Brits

On Sunday evening, Edgewater Yacht Club hosted a very fun crew party with a live band. In addition, they brought in a preacher to bless the fleet before we departed on Monday. To break the ice, he had the entire crowd singing Lean on Me. I have been to many Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies but this is the first one in which there was so much enthusiastic audience participation.  I was next up to the microphone to announce the winners of the first race of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Race Series and that was a tough act to follow. Nothing like handing out awards, however, to rally the crew spirits.  Here are the standings for the Around the Buoys race out of Toronto:

First Place: Pride of Baltimore II
Second Place: Lynx
Third Place: Sorlandet

Race One winners: 1st, Pride of Baltimore II; 2nd, Lynx; 3rd, Sorlandet

Race One winners: 1st, Pride of Baltimore II; 2nd, Lynx; 3rd, Sorlandet

Monday morning, again thanks to Edgewater Yacht Club, the race team headed out onto Lake Erie for the start of the second race from Cleveland to Pelee Passage. Brian was again on Lynx and Eliza was sailing on Pride of Baltimore II. This race was short and not so sweet since, like in 2010, we had light winds and ships struggled to even get across the start line in the 20 minute start window.  Only two ships made it across within the 20 minutes, Pride of Baltimore II and Niagara.  I was sitting on the start boat, bobbing around on one end of the line, taking pictures and watching the ships make their way slowly to the start. We were in a good spot since a few of the ships came close enough to us so we could get some great under sail shots. As Niagara passed us, we could see the crew members scampering around on deck and up the rigging, unfurling the sails and trying to find the wind. Meanwhile, Captain Heerssen looked very relaxed back aft, sitting above the fray in a wooden deck chair, smoking his pipe. As we waved, he yelled out, “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?”

Close enough to touch

Appledore IV

Appledore IV

Right now, the ships are making their way to Tawas Bay and will be in Bay City, MI starting on Thursday for the Tall Ship(R) Celebration. The Bay City community always puts on an incredible tall ship festival. It’s always one of my favorite stops in the Great Lakes.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter @tallshipsfleet for photos and video from the festival. For additional photos, be sure to check out our Flickr photostream.

Afternoon sails

Afternoon sails

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