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Tall Ship City

Posted by Tall Ships America on September 13, 2016

Tall Ships(r) Erie 2016 started out with a joke. A local blog wrote an article about a cannon fire accident which deflated the large rubber duck that was supposed to be featured at the event. Most people didn’t catch that it was a written by a satirical news outlet. Combine that with the fact the duck couldn’t participate in the Parade of Sail because of the high winds…well, there were some confused public. We surprisingly spent a lot of time explaining that the duck was fully functioning and Niagara did not shoot it (nor do they actually have cannon balls in their cannons).  It was one of the funnier things to happen this summer. And that’s when I knew that Tall Ships(R) Erie was going to be a great event.

Fully inflated with no cannon ball holes

Fully inflated with no cannon ball holes

On Thursday, Captain Billy Sabatini and I were to be in a helicopter for the Parade of Sail. Unfortunately, an hour before the parade was supposed to start, a line of severe storms swept through and our flight was cancelled. As the rain pounded down, we ran over to the tower on Dobbins Landing and ended up directing the parade from there. The parade was only delayed 20 minutes and by the time the ships sailed into the Bay, the sun was starting to peek through the clouds.


This is the third time that Flagship Niagara League has organized this event and every year it gets better and better. One of the highlights of the event is when they bring in local school kids to tour the vessels. Over 4,000 school kids get the ships to themselves on the first morning of the event. They have the opportunity to interact with crew members, haul on lines,  and learn first hand what it takes to sail one of the these magnificent tall ships.  Once we recover from their enthusiasm, we open the gates to the general public. Thousands of people over the course of the weekend streamed into the Bayfront Convention Center to view El Galeon, Niagara, Mist of Avalon and Denis Sullivan. When & If and Appledore IV were doing day sails off of Dobbins Landing, while Pride of Baltimore, Pathfinder and Playfair were over at the Maritime Museum.

Sunday night was the crew party (Enchantment Under the Sea Prom) and awards ceremony for the final race of series across Lake Superior.

We're sure going to miss all you guys!

We’re sure going to miss all you guys!

Here are the winners on corrected time:

Race Five – Lake Superior – Duluth, MN towards Marquette, MI

3rd Place – Niagara

Captain Goldman - Niagara

Captain Goldman – Niagara

2nd Place – When & If


1st Place – Pride of Baltimore II (apologies for the terrible fuzzy photo!)


Erie, PA is also the homeport of our Official Race Sponsor, Erie Insurance, so we made sure to get a photo – Thank you for your support this summer!

Erie Insurance - Official Race Sponsor of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Great Lakes 2016

Erie Insurance – Official Race Sponsor of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Great Lakes 2016


Tomorrow, Darlene and I continue our summer road trip as we head up to Brockville, ON for the last port of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2016, Tall Ships® Brockville. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for photos and updates. You can view photos from Tall Ships® Erie on Flickr (and our other festival from this summer, too).

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One Response to “Tall Ship City”

  1. Marianne Zahren said

    I’ll sleep easier tonight knowing the rubber duckie is ok. Wish the Niagara had shot it. It’s a ridiculous thing to go in a tall ship festival.

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