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Archive for August, 2014

My Tole Mour Experience

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 30, 2014

My Tole Mour Experience

It was about 0800 when Erin and Eliza dropped me off at Tole Mour’s dock. It seemed like they were my parents, all happy and excited to see their young daughter go off on a new adventure. After they left, the crew on Tole Mour showed all the trainees which bunk section we would be staying in. I was staying in the section called Santa Rosa, with two other girls. We were able to pick our own bunks, so I choose the forward most bunk with a porthole view, which later became a problem on my part (seasickness).


About 0930, all hands were called forward for a muster. Captain Snark and Holly gave the welcome speech, talked about the boat, and gave information about the race. They showed us the course and explained the rules of the race. At that point I was very excited because I’ve never been part of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series. After a clear understanding that we were going to win, they wanted us all to introduce ourselves, so we had to answer 3 questions. What is your name? Where are you from? And what’s your favorite animated Disney movie? With that, I learnt that most of the crew was from the mid-west and there were a lot of animated Disney movies I haven’t seen. By the way, I’m from New York and my favorite animated Disney movie is “The Tigger Movie.” After a round of funny but interesting introductions, we were given our sea watches. I was placed in watch one, with 4 crew members and 5 trainees. The first thing we did was reintroduce ourselves to each other, then did a tour of the boat. While we were touring the boat, the crew members spoke to us about drills and muster stations; within the next 10 minutes, we heard an alarm and the crew shouting “abandon ship drill, abandon ship drill.” Everyone gathered to their muster stations and donned life jackets. After the drill, we all mustered forward again to get divided into two activity stations: line handling and marlinspike & seamanship. My first activity was line handling; they showed us how to make a line off to a pin, take a line off the pin safely and how to coil. Also they taught us the terms they use when handling lines, like ”made ready” which means have a top and bottom turn on the pin and “super ready” which means to only have a bottom turn on the pin.

The race stared at 1400. We crossed the starting line about a minute after the race started with Irving Johnson next to us and Exy Johnson and Bill of Rights behind us. It was a wonderful sight, seeing the cliffs of San Pedro behind us as we sailed towards San Clemente Island and San Diego. We had great wind conditions the whole trip. While we were sailing past Catalina Island, we spotted two whales in the distance. It was an amazing sight, especially for me because I never see any sea mammals in New York Harbor.

My watch that night was from 0000 to 0400; that was my first time sailing through the night. And it was just horrible – from the moment I got on deck, I felt sea sick. A crew member gave me some ginger ale, crackers, and some tips on how to stop feeling sick, but none of that prevented me from throwing up at least 5 times in a red bucket that was labelled “you will feel better :)” but, on the plus side, while I was coming up for air, I noticed about 1000 starts in the sky, and no other boats around us.


We had breakfast at 0700 and I felt much better. Shortly after breakfast, the captain announced that we had crossed the finish line and all the other boats were about 3 hours behind us. So, of course, everyone on board was thrilled on our possible win of the race. We turned on our engines, struck all sails, and began motoring towards La Jolla for some more activities. At 1030, we anchored off of La Jolla to do some snorkeling and some shanty singing. I chose to go snorkeling, so I got fitted for a wet suit, mask, boots, and fins. After a half hour of me struggling to put everything on, I entered the water, feet first to start an underwater adventure. The water was surprisingly warm and clear, so that didn’t stop us from seeing 10 leopard sharks, 2 horn sharks and a lot of sea grass. We got back on the boat in time for dinner, which I can say was amazing, then continued with some lovely shanty singing led by the crew and trainees.

My last moments on Tole Mour were the best. While heading back to the dock, a pod of dolphins followed us for about 2 hours, having fun with their babies, jumping in and out of the water and crossing under our bow. It was an amazing sight that I only got on video and soon hope to share with a lot more people.

I loved the people I sailed with on Tole Mour and looking forward to more adventures on the sail up to Dana Point.



Posted in 2014, Festival of Sail San Diego, Internship Program, Los Angeles, CA, Races, Tall Ship Events | Leave a Comment »

Staying classy in San Diego

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 29, 2014

At the start_Irving Johnson_Tole Mour_Exy Johnson

At the start_Irving Johnson_Tole Mour_Exy Johnson

After a busy week and a great race start in San Pedro, the Tall Ships America Race Team rolled in to San Diego on Tuesday ready for the Festival of Sail. While Halcyon sailed down the coast on Tole Mour (recap coming soon), Eliza and I scouted the site, did some laundry and enjoyed the wonderful waterfront that San Diego Maritime Museum presides over. San Diego Harbor is always full of sailboats and, as two shorebound sailors, Eliza and I can’t help but want to be out on the water enjoying the steady breeze. But the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) requires our attention so we are content with just looking on enviously. San Diego Maritime Museum always puts on a wonderful event and, as the ships arrived at the dock yesterday after the Parade of Sail, the crew was happy to be here. Last night was the crew party on the Berkeley and our Executive Director, Bert Rogers, was on hand to present the awards for the race from San Pedro to San Diego, by way of San Clemente Island. From what I have heard, it was a spectacular run down to San Diego, complete with whale sightings, strong winds, shooting stars and, my personal favorite, dolphins playing in phosphorescence.

Race Results

We had four participants for the race – Tole Mour, Bill of Rights, Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson. The winners of the race are as follows:

Third Place – Exy Johnson
Second Place – Irving Johnson
First Place – Tole Mour

Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to Tole Mour! A huge thank you to LA Yacht Club in San Pedro for their time and help in pulling off a great race start.

For more photos, visit our Flickr page and for more updates follow us on Twitter @tallshipsfleet

Posted in 2014, Festival of Sail San Diego, Races, Tall Ship Events | Leave a Comment »

If the wind is right, you can sail away…

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 28, 2014

From my first race on Lake Arcadia many years ago to my most recent daysail at a Tall Ships® festival, sailing has, as President Kennedy once wrote, “given me some of the most pleasant and exciting moments of my life.” Such was the case, I am sure, for those aboard the vessels Tole Mour, Irving Johnson, Exy Johnson, and Bill of Rights earlier this week.

Monday dawned warm and sunny and, with it, the start of RACE DAY. Shortly after noon, Erin and I found ourselves on a motor yacht off the coast of San Pedro, California, with members of the LA Yacht Club. This excellent group of mariners has functioned as the Race Committee for prominent sailboat races all along the Pacific Coast. With learned precision, they dropped an orange buoy at a set of predetermined coordinates, thus identifying the port end of the starting line. We then motored one nautical mile further out to sea, until the orange mark was barely visible against the blue ocean waves. Here we left a small motor boat, with a green flag raised to mark their position at the starboard end of the line. But any tall ship sailor can warn you that small, dark objects in the water are near impossible to spot from a distance. Indeed, by the time we returned to the port end of the line in the motor yacht, the little motor boat was indistinguishable from the surrounding waves and the green flag a near-indecipherable blip above the horizon. With a quick reevaluation, we dropped a second orange mark at the starboard end of the line. We were now ready – and I, with all this coming about, was now quite seasick.

But my seasickness would have to wait because the race was about to begin. After a radio call to the participating vessels, the warning gun was fired at 1350 and the class flag was raised. Until this point, the ships had been setting their sails in the distance as they sailed alongside the cliffs. But now they approached the line with their white sails set and full. At 1355 a horn was sounded and the P flag set. Racing rules were now in place, engines had been shut down, and any vessel that crossed the line early would be penalized. Irving Johnson, on the far end of the line, was nosing in towards the starboard mark but did not cross. Tole Mour, who had been quite a distance from the starting line, had caught the wind and was flying towards the line. Exy Johnson was close behind, identified by the red waleboard and blue bottom paint that distinguishes her from Irving. Bill of Rights was pointed into the wind behind her, still setting sails.

At precisely 1400, the flags came down and the gun was fired. The race had begun! Two minutes later, Irving Johnson and Tole Mour blazed across, nose to nose. Exy Johnson and Bill of Rights followed shortly thereafter; their recorded times began individually as each crossed the line. We received updates through the night – starry skies, seasickness, dolphins, and excellent sailing – and by morning, Tole Mour had crossed the finish line and anchored to enjoy some snorkeling. Irving Johnson, Exy Johnson, and Bill of Rights completed the race a few hours later, shortly past noon.

The race was over…but the results were not in. Because these vessels have different rig shapes, different hull designs, and different sail areas (except for the twin brigantines, of course), each is assigned a numerical “handicap.” This numeral is used to adjust each vessel’s elapsed racing time and calculate their corrected racing time. This adjustment, designed to make races fair amongst various classed vessels, makes the outcome of this race anyone’s guess. So…who won the race, based on corrected time? You’ll have to wait to find out until Thursday, when we announce the winner at the San Diego Festival of Sail!

Posted in 2014, Races | Leave a Comment »

Halcyon Climbs Aloft

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 26, 2014




Replicating battle sails with our historical member vessels certainly makes for an exciting time during the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®! From maneuvering around “enemy” vessels on the water to climbing aloft and furling sail at the dock, there are lots of adventures to be had. Halcyon was able to join the fun last Saturday during Tall Ships Festival LA 2014. Here’s what she has to say…


Sailing on fore and aft rigged schooners, you never really have good reasons to go aloft, especially when you need to clean up the deck after a sail. But that’s different when sailing on a brigantine.

Yesterday was my first time sailing on Brigantine Irving Johnson. I joined the crew on the foredeck to help pass the headsails, while we were at war with Exy Johnson and Spirit of Dana Point. With no casualties, of course, we arrived at the dock to drop off some very thrilled passengers. From there, as we all know, it’s time to clean up the deck.

I went around the deck to help coil and hang as many lines as I possibly could; while that was going on, I noticed about 5 crew members donning safety harnesses to go aloft to furl sails. The captain asked me if I wanted to go join the crew aloft, but I was a bit hesitant at first, mainly because I’ve never been aloft on a brigantine before. After a very informative safety speech, the captain escorted me up the fore shrouds to join the crew. When it came to the part where I had to step out onto the yards I was shaking, but after taking a deep breath and clipping in I felt perfectly fine and capable of handling the task in front of me.

– Halcyon Spooner, Tall Ships America Intern




IMG_1070 (2)



Posted in 2014, Internship Program | Leave a Comment »

Welcome to La-la-land

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 23, 2014

Irving Johnson, Exy Johnson, and Amazing Grace during the Parade of Sail into San Pedro. Photo: Port of LA

Irving Johnson, Exy Johnson, and Amazing Grace during the Parade of Sail into San Pedro. Photo: Port of LA

There is something about a fresh cinnamon roll that makes you realize your day is going to be just fine. This morning, during our early rounds of the Tall Ships(R) Festival LA, I timed it perfectly and was well rewarded for my efforts. The site was quiet, far different from all the crowds and preparation of the days before. However, it was the calm before the storm. Today, Saturday, the festival grounds are rocking and rolling – dozens of food trucks line the dock, cranking out everything from Mexi-Greek fusion to “lobstah” rolls, each with their own music and vibe. The four stages are constantly swarming with people listening to traditional Hawaiian music, classic rock and even The King- Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2014, Internship Program, Los Angeles, CA, Races, Tall Ship Events | Leave a Comment »

Meet Halcyon, The New Race Team Member

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 23, 2014

Meet summer intern, Halcyon, the newest member of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Team

Meet summer intern, Halcyon, the newest member of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Team

When I was 8 years old my family moved to New York City from Saint Lucia. While moving to New York from a beautiful island in the Caribbean, I never thought that I’ll see the water again. That was until I started my freshman year at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, where they taught me that New York City is surrounded by 600 miles of coastline, which I needed to explore.

I started sailing on tall ships my sophomore year of high school, thanks to my Vessel Operations teacher, Captain Aaron Singh. I’ve had the opportunity to sail on Spirit of Massachusetts and Schooner Pioneer.

This past summer, I was hired as a deckhand on 1893, Schooner Lettie G. Howard, after a long winter restoration period.

Now I’m looking forward to some new adventures as a TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Intern, before the start of my senior year at New York Harbor School.

Posted in 2014, Internship Program | Leave a Comment »

Schooner VIRGINIA Day Sail

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 14, 2014

Friends of TALL SHIPS AMERICA joined SCHOONER VIRGINIA for a day sail on August 10th.

Thank you to the Schooner Virginia’s Captain and Crew for a glorious afternoon of sailing. 

Tall Ships America crew

From helping the crew to set sail and coiling down the deck, to munching on Lori’s homemade mini cheesecakes and spending a sunny afternoon with old friends out on the water, we at Tall Ships America can’t think of a better way to spend our time.

hauling lines

We hope those of you who joined us enjoyed the sail as much as we did!

Read more about the SCHOONER VIRGINIA here!



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Congratulations to Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr.

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 12, 2014


The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) announced their 2014 inductees recently and Tall Ships America is pleased to announce that longtime supporter and 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr. will be one of eight inductees. He will be recognized at an invitation-only Induction Ceremony in Detroit, Michigan, on September 28, 2014.

From his first regatta in 1936, at the age of 15, to his present position as Commodore emeritus on Tall Ships America’s Board of Directors, Harry Anderson has been a driving force in the world of sailing. His accomplishments include numerous awards, trophies, and an honorary degree, earned throughout his years as an America’s Cup race official, as Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, and as a board member of the U.S. Naval War College and the Rhode Island Marine Archeology Project, among others. He also spent many decades working with the North American Yacht Racing Union, the International Yacht Racing Union, and with US Sailing, and is co-author of The Centennial History of the United States Sailing Association.

Whether supporting alma-mater Ransom Everglades School in Florida, where he is a trustee for life, co-founding Yale Sailing Associates and establishing the University of Rhode Island’s Sailing Center, or promoting a robust endowment for the American Sail Training Association, of which he is a former Chairman, Harry Anderson has furthered the mission of sail training and has long encouraged youth involvement in the maritime industry.

For a man who has dedicated his life’s work to getting people to sea under sail and who has diligently worked to preserve the traditions and skills of sail training, this distinguished honor is yet another accolade in Harry Anderson’s success in and advancement of the American maritime industry and the sport of sailing.

The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) wrote that “Yachtsman, historian and senior statesman of the sport Henry H. ‘Harry’ Anderson, Jr. (Newport, R.I./Mystic, Conn.)” will be inducted alongside “mathematician and navigator Nathaniel Bowditch (Salem, Mass.); boat builder and U.S. Olympic Sailing Team boatwright Carl Eichenlaub (San Diego, Calif.); brothers Olaf Harken and Peter Harken (both Pewaukee, Wisc.), respectively, boat builder and sailing hardware designer; naval architect and prolific writer L. Francis Herreshoff (Bristol, R.I./Marblehead, Mass.); 1960 5.5 Metre Olympic Gold Medalist and boat builder George O’Day (Brookline, Mass./Dover, Mass.); and Grand Prix yachtsman John B. ‘Jim’ Kilroy (Marina del Rey, Calif.), the recipient of the NSHOF’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Links of Interest

Sail-World: National Sailing Hall of Fame reveals inductees

Class of 2014 Inductee Profile: Henry Hill “Harry” Anderson, Jr.

Newport Buzz: Newport Resident Among Class of 2014 Sailing Hall of Fame Inductees

Tall Ships America: Henry H. Anderson, Jr. Sail training Scholarship

The Day: Harry Anderson’s 90th Birthday Gam 

Commodore Harry Anderson greets guests at his 90th Birthday Gam in 2011. Proceeds from the birthday celebration  benefited ASTA. (Credit: Dan Nerney)

Commodore Harry Anderson greets guests at his 90th Birthday Gam in 2011. Proceeds from the birthday celebration benefited ASTA. (Credit: Dan Nerney)

Posted in Newport | Leave a Comment »

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