A good watch it shall be
Posted by Tall Ships America on August 17, 2013
Chicago, IL – 8 August 2013 –
America, 1933. Prohibition is coming to an end. Railroads crisscross the country and the port of Chicago has developed into a major industrial center. But in the west, a severe drought is turning farmland into a wasteland. Nationwide unemployment rates have surpassed twenty-five percent. President Roosevelt begins giving fireside chats over the radio to inspire and unite his weary countrymen. In the midst of this turmoil, the 1933 World’s Fair opens in Chicago.
The fair is officially named A Century of Progress International Exposition; its purpose, to recognize the technological advances made in the world since the town of Chicago was formed one hundred years earlier. Norway’s contribution is their three-masted sail-training vessel, built six years before. Her name is Sørlandet.
She doesn’t have an engine so she is towed through the Great Lakes. The majority of her crew is young boys, who have joined the ship to learn the intricacies of a square-rigger and to gain an education through seafaring. They are joined by Captain Magnus Anderson.
Today, Sørlandet is back in Chicago as part of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series. It has been eighty years since the ship last graced the Chicago waterfront. She is now outfitted with modern navigational, communication and safety equipment. A 560 horsepower engine has been added. And she has made many ocean crossings since the voyage that defined her place in history. Yet, despite the passage of eighty years, this innovative contribution to A Century of Progress, showcased in 1933, remains relatively unchanged. She is still traditionally-rigged and traditionally-run; antiquated Norwegian is inscribed on the bulkhead and on the ship’s china. And watches are handed over with a formal Norwegian phrase: God vakt ska vara. A good watch it shall be.