TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series Official Blog

Sea stories, scuttlebutt and fantastic photos covering America\’s official Tall Ships® Races!

  • Follow Us

  • Follow the blog- Click below to have posts delivered to your inbox

  • Search posts by category

  • Archives

Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

October in America’s Front Yard

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 22, 2018

Dar at the Capitol Building

Our Darlene at the Capitol Building

Last week, our team flew down to Washington, DC for our annual attaché reception in the Lyndon B. Johnson room of the U.S. Capitol Building (you can find past receptions here, here  here and here).

The event is aimed at naval representatives from countries that have a sail training vessel.   Attachés from Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, and the Middle East are all invited to learn about our upcoming events. Our TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(R) host ports have the opportunity to speak to and invite these vessels to the events and their Congressional representatives are there to lend their support. It is, without a doubt, a schmoozefest and one I personally look forward to every year.

This year, we had host port representatives from Toronto and Erie speak about the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Race Series 2019. If it’s not on your calendar, it should be!

Captain Sabatini

Captain Ian Wood_Lea Parrell_Carlton Aylett

Canada Represent! Captain Ian Wood, naval attaché of Canada; Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto – Lea Parrell, Harmony Marketing and Carlton Aylett, Krista Slack+Aylett, Inc

In 2020, we will be on the Atlantic Coast and celebrating the 200th anniversary of Maine becoming a state. Lobstah’s all around! Stay tuned for more details as our fleet and race series comes together.

I always try to take advantage of a few days in Washington, DC and get my nerd on by visiting a few of the free museums in the city. This year, I visited the National Building Museum, which at first blush doesn’t seem that exciting, but have you seen the interior? Hideous!

National Building Museum

We visited the Secret Cities exhibit, all about the Manhattan Project Sites around the country. Los Alamos, NM was only one of three of these secret cities and I had no idea. It was a fascinating look into the logistics of these massive communities.

Next, because no trip is complete without at least one tall ship, we headed over to the National Gallery of Art for the Water, Wind, And Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. While the paintings were interesting, the objects that caught my eye were the amazing ship models –

Toy boat

We’ll be back in Washington, DC in May. Any recommendations on where to go? It’s one of my favorite cities and I am always looking to explore a new neighborhood. Until next time – fair winds!


Posted in 2018 | Leave a Comment »

Captain Bert Rogers

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 13, 2018

Updated August 30, 2018

To the Membership of Tall Ships America and to the Tall Ship Community at Large,

It is with great sadness that I have to report to you that we have lost a great shipmate, colleague, and friend — Bert Rogers — Executive Director of Tall Ships America. He was enjoying a reunion with his family in Iowa when he passed away suddenly.

Bert dropped out of college to sail on Romance with Captain Arthur Kimberly, and never looked back. He was a champion of sail training and a true friend to many in our community.

There will be a remembrance of Bert to be held in Gloucester Massachusetts in the coming weeks around Labor Day (details to be announced)

Bert had already announced his plans to transition out of the Executive Director position at Tall Ships America, and while the search for his successor will now be accelerated, the staff will continue with operations as before, and we will update you with interim provisions.

Please join me in expressing condolences to Bert’s family.


Michael Rauworth
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Tall Ships America


Update as to Bert Rogers Memorial

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 — 2:00 pm

Fort Adams State Park (near the piers)

Newport, Rhode Island


  • Kindly RSVP if you are planning to attend, https://goo.gl/forms/mXiQdl9KAYFBHpKf2 — a headcount will help us plan better.
  • Parking at Fort Adams will be plentiful.
  • Space in the tent may not be plentiful (at least not enough to accommodate everyone).
  • Accordingly, all sailors, kindly be sure to bring your foul weather gear (at least in your car), so that seats in the tent remain available for those not well-equipped to stand for the duration — Bert would have wanted it that way.
  • The events will be videotaped, for viewing later by — among others — Bert’s son James, currently at sea aboard Picton Castle. The video gear will be available immediately after the ceremonies end, for those who wish to record their own remembrance — either pre-written and read to the camera, or spontaneous. These remembrances may — if wished — be directed to Bert’s son.
  • Harvey Gamage’s folks have told us that berths are available to sail to the ceremony from Portland aboard that worthy craft. There may also be overnight bunk space for those who do not arrive by sea. If interested, kindly contact:

sydneylhebert@ocean-passages.org (or 855-212-0123 (ext. 1)) for information.

  • For those arriving by air or rail, the following RIPTA buses will deliver you to the Gateway Center in downtown Newport, for a charge of only $2.00:
      • The #14 bus runs from the airport
      • The #64 bus runs from Kingston Station (Amtrak)
      • The #60 runs from Providence (Amtrak)
    • There are also shuttles from the airport to Newport
    • There is also a ferry from Providence that is $10.
    • Once in Newport, attendees may get a taxi /UBER/Lyft out to Fort Adams, unless a ride is arranged (below).
  • Ridesharing arrangements may be negotiated by leaving comments in the Comments section of the Tall Ships America Facebook Page on which this message appears. However, no ridesharing calls to the Tall Ships America office, please.
  • There will be time afterwards — outside the tent — for suitable conviviality, the way Bert would have wanted it.
  • Anyone with skill and a musical instrument is respectfully encouraged to bring it along (in the car), and we’ll see what happens after we finish. Bert would have been happy to know that a jam broke out at his memorial.


Posted in 2018 | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships in the Crescent City

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 21, 2018

Picton’s resident feline, named “Fiji”, plays in a dockline coil


April 20, 2018

by James

Wow! What a week its been since we left Pensacola! We cast off at 6:30 AM Monday morning and had some great sailing for the next day or so. Once we got closer to the Mississippi the weather died a bit, and we motored through the North Gulf oil fields. A pilot got on board and we entered the River delta, connecting with a tug Tuesday afternoon. It would have taken several days to make it upriver without one, due to the Mississippi’s high water and fast current. It was quite the workout, manning the helm that night. It took two people to keep the ship on course behind the tug!

Oosterschelde overtakes Picton Castle on the voyage from Pensacola

The tug got the Picton crew to the anchorage the next morning, where Elissa was already waiting. We were shortly joined by Oosterschelde (Lynx and When and If took the Industrial Canal to Pontchartrain Landing) that afternoon. We spent the rest of that day in the hot sun making Picton look nice and pretty for public viewing. Oliver Hazard Perry arrived later that night.

Picton crew members unwind with music after a hard days work

Thursday was spent coming up the final few mile stretch between the anchorage and New Orleans.

The ships opened for tours for school kids today around 10 AM, with tours for the general public open at 12. It was incredible to see the ultimate turn out, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final numbers recorded by the ships, I’m sure they were in the  thousands!

The ship crews are seething with anticipation to get out an explore the Big Easy, myself included. I cant wait to see the famous New Orleans from street level!

View from aloft on Picton Castle

ew Orleans from street level!

Posted in 2018, New Orleans, PICTON CASTLE | Leave a Comment »

Blue Skies and Blue Angels

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 17, 2018

Photo B Holmen

It was a picture perfect evening in Pensacola. Crowds of people milled about in the fading light, waiting for their arrival. A helicopter hovered nearby. Then, a low roar in the distance and the crowd started to cheer as the Blue Angels screamed through the sky overhead and towards the horizon, perfectly in formation. It was my first time seeing the Blue Angels perform and, I have to say, it was pretty cool. Even people who see them regularly (they practice nearby) were yelling and whistling like it was their first time. It was a performance that capped off a very special, and very busy, weekend in Pensacola.

Photo B Holmen

Tall Ships® Pensacola ended Sunday and the tall ships are on their way up the Mississippi River to Tall Ships® New Orleans (you can track them here). This was not the first time Pensacola has hosted a tall ship, but it was the first time they had hosted a whole fleet of vessels. Oosterschelde, Picton Castle, Elissa and Oliver Hazard Perry were our boarding vessels and the visitors came down to Plaza del Luna by the thousands. Our two day sail vessels were constantly sailing in and out of their dock, to the delight of the crowds. It’s one thing to board the vessels while they are at the dock, it’s another to see the ship in action – sails full of wind, captain at the helm giving orders and, of course, the cannons. Lynx always obliged the crowds with their cannon fire. I could actually hear them ten blocks away!


Lynx fires her cannon Photo J Rogers


Intern James had the opportunity to go sailing on When and If  and it looked like a beautiful afternoon to be out on the water. Lucky intern….

Looking at Lynx from When and If
Photo J Rogers

All too quickly, it was time to hit the road. We left town yesterday morning and, by the afternoon, were in New Orleans. It’s hard to believe that after two years of planning for this Gulf Coast series, we are here. From New Orleans, Lynx, When and If, and Oliver Hazard Perry will continue up the Atlantic Coast and we will see them again at Sail Philadelphia over Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-28. Until then, laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)


Posted in 2018, Internship Program, New Orleans, Pensacola | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships® Pensacola Day 1

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 14, 2018

Parade Pensacola

By James

It was a long three-day passage from Galveston to Pensacola. For the first two days, the weather was consistently rainy with rough seas. The deck of Picton Castle was soaked with ocean spray at any given time. Unfortunately the meant that nearly half the people on board were battling seasickness. Thankfully, the weather cleared up by Wednesday afternoon, and left us with perfect sailing conditions for yesterday’s Parade of Sail into Pensacola.

The parade itself went handsomely, with Picton Castle leading the procession, followed by Oosterschelde, Elissa, Oliver Hazard Perry, and When and If. Lynx was delayed on the way into Pensacola due to weather but the fleet put on a fantastic show for the parade. By my count, the parade was joined by hundreds of local boats and even a pod of dolphins!

dolphins in the headrig

Everyone aboard, especially our resident New Orleans Maritime & Military Aacademy trainees, couldn’t wait to make landfall. Everyone aboard Picton was tired and covered dirt from hard work under the sun, so showers were a DEFINITE priority for all.

Now, Tall Ships® Pensacola is geared up and in full swing under the bright blue skies. The ships have drawn families from all over the southeast to come get a small taste of history. All the staff members, myself included, have been working hard through their  different, trying to keep things running smooth and as organized as possible. all in all, its a great day for a tall ships’ festival, and I cant wait to see what tomorrow brings!

lines OHP


Posted in 2018, Internship Program, Pensacola, PICTON CASTLE | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships Galveston Day 4

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 8, 2018

Sunday, April 8, 2018

by James Rogers

As Tall Ships® Galveston comes to a close, I get a distinct feeling of anticipation from the crew members. Galveston has been more than accommodating, but the ships are eager to set sail. Myself included! I moved into a tiny bunk the Barque Picton Castle’s Fo’c’sle and I cannot wait to get underway.

Despite everyone’s state of exhaustion, or perhaps as the cause of it, The Galveston Historical Foundation threw a social function on Elissa’s Pier 21, which later became an impromptu social gathering aboard the Dutch topsail schooner Oosterschelde. All in all, people seem very satisfied with the hospitality shown by GHF and the ships in general, seen in the photos below.



A line of partygoers forms at the buffet table


Local band “Kickin’ it Dixie” provides a great show for everyone


Posted in 2018, Galveston, TX | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships in Texas!

Posted by Tall Ships America on April 6, 2018

Friday, April 6th, 2018

It’s beautiful weather here in Galveston, Texas for the first ever TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Gulf Coast Race Series! Crew members and event staff alike are all super excited to be here. We could not have asked for better weather for yesterday’s Parade of Sail. I watched some superb seamanship from the deck of Galveston’s own historic Tall Ship, Elissa. What a show! I especially enjoyed seeing Lynx, a square topsail schooner, set her split course sail from her lower yard. She might as well have been a brigantine! I got some exceptional photos – see below




Elissa volunteer crew members unfurling the fore topsails


From left to right: Oliver Hazard Perry, When and If, Lynx

Towards the end of the parade, the sun finally hid behind the clouds, but not before leaving me with a quality sunburn. As the sky darkened, the waves grew longer, and the ships began to come into port. We were very lucky the weather never got worse than a few raindrops here and there. After a long day of fair winds and great sailing, Elissa finished with masterful docking maneuvers, and we ended the day at a party for the ship’s crew members.

Today has been non-stop activity, since before the festival even kicked off. It has been a constant scramble to get video’s for social media, or lug boxes of Tall Ships America directories to the ships, among other things, but it wouldn’t be a tall ships festival without a bit of running around. All in all, everyone is looking forward to the inevitable success of Tall Ships® Galveston, and what that means for Sail Training – building awareness and helping to build community. That’s all from me for today, but you can follow the event news on your own at http://www.galvestonhistory.org/events/tall-ships-galveston-2.

-James Rogers


Posted in 2018, Galveston, LYNX, PICTON CASTLE, TX | Leave a Comment »

USCGC Eagle Opportunity Fall 2018

Posted by Tall Ships America on March 23, 2018


EAGLE – Parade of Sail in Halifax 2012


Enjoy the unique opportunity for Tall Ships America Members to advance their professional training, qualifications, skills, and credentials in a sail training program aboard America’s Tall Ship. Restrictions apply. Applicants will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Voyage : 23 September, 2018 – 4 October, 2018     5-6 spots available
Depart: Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, MD

Arrive: Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD

Experienced tall ships sailors are invited to join the ship on a voyage 23 September to 04 October.

During this run, sailors will join Coast Guard crew and officer trainees. Participants will embark on Saturday, September 22nd,  at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, MD. EAGLE will sail out of the Chesapeak Bay into the Atlantic for some off-shore sailing.  EAGLE will sail back to Baltimore for arrival on Thursday, October 4th.

These opportunities are open to new applicants only. Applicants must be current Tall Ships America members between 18 and 50 years of age and should be experienced mariners interested in professional development. Be advised that berthing is in the trainee accommodations.

This experience will be a great resume-enhancer and tonnage-time booster! Applications must be received no later than 2 July at 1700 EDT.

See below for program and application details.

Program Details:

1.)You must be at least 18 years old and not more than 50 years old.

2.) You must be fit, willing and able to work aloft. You must pass a medical clearance.

3.) You must be a U.S. Citizen.

4.) You will be full a participant, along with the USCG trainees, in the operation of the ship: standing watch, helm, lookout, bridge, maintenance, working aloft, galley and all other regular trainee duties.

5.) You are welcome and STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend training classes with the USCG trainees.

6.) The ideal candidate is an experienced, rising sail training practitioner. This program is not for “Old Salts”, and it is not for first-timers.

7.) Upon successful completion of the program, EAGLE will issue to you (if you request it) a letter of Sea Service or other formal documentation of your sea service in EAGLE.
8.) Participants must pay $12/day for food and expenses, etc.
9.) Participants will write a post voyage blog post and share pictures with Tall Ships America to share with their members.

Application Details:

1.) All applications must be submitted electronically to Tall Ships America at erin@tallshipsamerica.org.

2.) You must be a Tall Ships America member in good standing to apply. Not a member? Become one now!

3.) Applications must include the following:

a.) Resume of your traditional ship experience, as crew or as trainee

b.) Letter of recommendation from your current (or most recent) Captain or First Mate

c.) Welcome packet with Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Agreement and Guest Medical Forms will be provided to accepted applicants


This opportunity is available to you based on the mutual regard and respect that is shared between the EAGLE leadership and Tall Ships America, and in support of our shared mission in promoting leadership training under sail. This is truly a rare and special opportunity, and we are very happy to be able make it available to you, the up-and-coming next generation of sail training officers and crew.

We expect that all participants in this program will work hard and do their best to uphold the excellent relations that exist between EAGLE and the civilian sail training community, and in all ways observe and respect the policies, procedures, and rules of comportment as established aboard EAGLE.


Posted in 2018, USCG | Leave a Comment »

Gallivanting around Galveston

Posted by Tall Ships America on October 19, 2017

It finally happened. I have walked the decks of the tall ship Elissa in Galveston, Texas.

Over the past ten years, Galveston and Elissa had become my white whale. This iconic ship, the starting place of hundreds  of tall ship sailors, with a volunteer program that is the gold standard within the industry and which many other organizations have used as a blueprint for their own, combined with a storied history, had been on my bucket list. And now, with Galveston as the kick off to our TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) 2018 Gulf Coast Race Series, I was able to cross Elissa off my list.

This is not me but it is how I felt on the inside.

Patti and I flew to Galveston recently to head up the 2018 Port Planning meeting. Next April, for the first time ever, three ports will host the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Race Series.

The series kicks off in Galveston, Texas for April 5-8, then the fleet will race to Pensacola, Florida for April 12-15. The third portof the series in New Orleans, April 19-22, and will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Big Easy.


She even has her own beer!



Posted in 2018, TX | 2 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: