TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series Official Blog

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Posted by Tall Ships America on July 31, 2015


Oliver Hazard Perry makes her first appearance at a TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) festival

Oliver Hazard Perry makes her first appearance at a TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) festival

My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The words of Maine’s own poet rang true last week during the Parade of Sail into Portland, Maine. I was on the parade command boat at the muster out in Casco Bay, making sure the ships fell into line and proceeded to their docking locations in an orderly and pretty-to-look at fashion.  For many of the ships, a Parade of Sail is something they do numerous times each season and the crew knows what the public wants to see – their ship under full sail. To the best of their ability – taking into account wind, weather, and safety on the water– the tall ships deliver. Since we were the parade command boat, we spent most of the time running up and down the line, keeping track of the timing of the parade (nothing worse than a parade that is over too soon!) and marveling at the amazing sight before us –

Sailing into Portland

Sailing into Portland

 Maine was, and still is, known for ship building. To see a fleet of tall ships enter Portland Harbor brought spectators back to a time where the waterfront was filled with these ships plying the waters off the Maine, delivering cargo, news and people. In 2015, they brought a sense of awe and majesty to the waterfront and an opportunity for visitors to experience our maritime history first hand.

Lynx approaches the dock

Lynx approaches the dock

Striking a pose in front of Oliver Hazard Perry

Striking a pose in front of Oliver Hazard Perry

Sunday and Monday saw thousands of people descend upon Portland for the chance to board the fleet of eight vessels – Alert, USCG Barque EAGLE, El Galeon Andalucia, Fritha, Lynx, Oliver Hazard Perry, Picton Castle and Tree of Life. Local Portland vessels – Bagheera, Wendameen and Frances provided day sails all festival and I never saw them at the dock, they were always out sailing in the harbor, providing a moving backdrop to the scene at the waterfront.

The sun came out and it was a glorious day for a festival

The sun came out and it was a glorious day for a festival

All too soon, lines were cast off, sails were set and our friends were on to their next port as we waved from shore. Back in Tall Ships America HQ, we are wrapping up this summer and launching into next. We would like to thank our Official TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Host Ports: Tall Ships® At Cape Charles, Tall Ships® Philadelphia-Camden, Greenport TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® 2015 and Iberdrola USA Tall Ships® Portland.  In addition, the Corinthian Yacht Club Cape May provided their expertise for the race from Cape May to Montauk. Thank you to everyone for making this year’s TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2015 a success.

In 2016 we return to the Great Lakes. This will be my fourth time back in the Lakes and every time, I am delighted to return to familiar ports and see familiar faces. This year will be no exception and I can’t wait. In the meantime, we continue to live vicariously through our friends aboard these ships and, as Longfellow wrote, long for the sea.

Feel as though you missed out on updates from the road? Follow us on Twitter (@tallshipsfleet), or join the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® group on Facebook. Photos from all of the events are on Flickr and Facebook.

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