TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series Official Blog

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

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Archive for the ‘Charleston, SC’ Category

Game on, Charleston!

Posted by Tall Ships America on May 15, 2017

Spirit of South Carolina welcomes you! Photo K. Ryan

Tuesday morning, bright and early (with coffee clutched firmly in hand), I will make my way to South Carolina for Tall Ships® Charleston, 18-21 May. This is the fourth time Charleston has hosted the tall ships and will be the third event there I’ve participated in. This lovely southern city has yet to disappoint.

We could not be more excited for the incredible fleet that will be at the dock. Vessels from Argentina, Cook Islands, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the U.S. will be available for public boarding and sail aways.  Tickets are still available.

Join us for the Parade of Sail on Thursday, 18 May at 1:00pm when the ships will sail their way past downtown Charleston and up the Cooper River. Then, come by and see the tall ships up close.

More information about Tall Ships® Charleston is available on their website www.tallshipscharleston.com

I’ll be posting blogs from the road and, for more timely updates, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.


Posted in 2017, Charleston, SC | Leave a Comment »

Do you have your summer plans yet?

Posted by Tall Ships America on March 14, 2017


You might have heard about a little event going on this summer? Rendez vous 2017 Tall Ships® Regatta has been a years-in-planning transatlantic race series and it kicks off on April 13th in Greenwich, England. While there will be a ton of coverage of the ships throughout the summer on social and traditional media, you don’t have to be an armchair sailor to enjoy the tall ships. You (yes, you) can be a part of this incredible story! You can sail on board a tall ship! Across the ocean!

You can join the ship in Europe or, for slightly shorter legs in either Charleston for the feeder race to Bermuda or in the only U.S. stop in the RDV 2017, Boston. If you are interested in joining this grand adventure, there are two options for you – Sail on Board and Sailing Ship Adventures . Our friends at Sail Training International put together the above excellent video to give you a taste of what sail training is all about: camaraderie, adventure, seeing the world, meeting new people, and sailing a really cool tall ship.  When your friends asked what you did over the summer, how cool would it be to say, “Sailed on board a tall ship”? Join us for an adventure of a lifetime.





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Posted in 2017, Boston, MA, Charleston, SC, Sail Training International | Leave a Comment »

Sail on EAGLE this September!

Posted by Tall Ships America on August 4, 2016

USCGC Eagle. Photo Credit: Thad Koza

USCGC Eagle. Photo Credit: Thad Koza

Enjoy a 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.

Experienced tall ships sailors are invited to join Captain Meilstrup and Coast Guard Officer Candidates on a voyage September 3rd to 17th. Restrictions apply. Applicants will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

During this run, sailors will join Coast Guard crew and officer trainees. Participants will embark on Saturday, September 3rd, in Baltimore, MD. EAGLE will moor in Charleston, SC on Friday, September 9th. EAGLE will depart Charleston on Monday, September 12th and sail back to Baltimore for arrival on Saturday, September 17th.

This opportunity is 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 15 August 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.

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.) Completed Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Agreement (to be completed once application is received and accepted)

d.) Completed Guest Medical Forms. NOTE: This requires a consultation with a doctor.

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 Charleston, SC, Member Programs, USCG | Leave a Comment »

“Are you Nelly?”

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 2, 2009

    “Are you Nelly?,” the voice asked as I woke up and to be quite honest, I wasn’t sure. “It’s time for your anchor watch,” she said.

      “My what?” I thought. I had no idea where I was, I put together that I was on a boat because the red light from the chart room was glowing into my bunk and I have been living on one ship or another for the last month.

      When I remembered that I was on the Schooner Virginia anchored out in Charleston Harbor, I realized I had fallen asleep in all my clothes so all I had to do was fetch my shoes and my glasses as I headed up on deck. I was still a bit dazed as I whacked my knee on the ladder, loudly announcing my presence on deck where I met Nate, the deckhand, and three students. Nate had them show me the landmarks we were taking bearings to and brief me a bit on an anchor watch. This is when I realized that I had slept through the crew muster that night but anchor watch was a breeze. We checked our position and bearings to makes sure the ship stayed in place and was safe before we were relieved after an hour.

      It’s been interesting being an intern deckhand onboard as I find myself both learning alongside the students as well as teaching them. Early the next morning, we hauled the anchor and set sail out of Charleston and it was all hands as each watch completed their chore for the day, cleaning the ship from top to bottom. After lunch, C watch, my watch, took the deck. As the day went on, the students held up very well. The first day is always daunting because your whole world is turned upside down as you now share a space the size of a three bedroom house with 23 other people. Even in off watch, students were learning knots and lines, many doing so to obtain their aloft clearance. After a short class on sail theory, Casey, our educator, led charades (with flip flops and a giant ladle as props). Before we started we took a tally to see who had booted the most that day and Melanie outshone her fellow competitors with twelve times. The best part is she is also the student with the biggest smile on her face.

      In my continuing schooner education, I went aloft to help sea stow the main gaff topsail – a sail that still feels very new to me. There’s not much space up there for two people to stow it and the Virginia definitely has a narrower ladder than I am used to so it was a touch scary. But going aloft never disappoints. The sun was setting and even in the rolling seas I was very glad to have gone up.

      Today, Amory had been sick all morning and was immovable from the leeward side. I brought him some crackers and was able to convince him to help me with the rough log, where we record our position, and sea and weather conditions. Most of it we could do on deck, so I let him stay on deck as I went to record what we had collected. When I came up the ladder, he was resting his head on his arm right outside the opening. “Amory?” I asked.  “Eighty seven,” he responded. He is the youngest on board and had revisited everything he had eaten in the last twelve hours and still remembered to get the temperature, even when I had forgotten. That made my day.


Posted in 2009, Charleston, SC, Races, TALL SHIPS ATLANTIC CHALLENGE | Leave a Comment »

A little rain never hurt anyone…especially a sailor

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 29, 2009

It was a wet and wooley race start out there on the ocean tonight. I am still swaying from all the bumping and tossing our 30ft Dory took.  The race participants are on their way to Boston along with Jennifer, our Operations Coordinator on Spirit of Bermuda, Nelly and Amelia on Virginia, and Matt on Europa. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2009, Charleston, SC, Races, TALL SHIPS ATLANTIC CHALLENGE | Leave a Comment »

Acrobats, Drums and Air Shows

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 28, 2009

Jolie Brise_Amelia Smith

Jolie Brise_Amelia Smith









It was great to come into Charleston aboard Schooner Virginia on Thursday, sailing in with an amazing harbor view of the tall ships that had already arrived.  We arrived in the late afternoon, and after dropping sail, tied up near Tecla.  After a long voyage at sea, Virginia celebrated with a crew dinner in town.  We spent the evening walking around the quaint and historical city of Charleston, and though it is hot and humid, nights sleeping on deck have been cool and comfortable. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2009, Charleston, SC, TALL SHIPS ATLANTIC CHALLENGE | Leave a Comment »

An international soiree in Charleston

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 27, 2009


                Amelia and I went to the International Soiree last night.  The set up was perfect, they had food, refreshment and music set up along the dock with all the Class A ships open and festively lit.  The Capitan Miranda was one of the ships hosting the public and was having a private reception on the aft lower deck.  The crew was gathered on the bow playing music and dancing. They had drums, whistles and were occasionally accompanied by the ship’s horn.  There wasn’t enough of a breeze to match the heat even at ten at night.  As the crew danced with their drums, people watching from the dock danced and clapped along.  With all the cleats and eyes on the deck, the dance floor was a bit small but the crew made it work without tripping on the gear.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2009, Charleston, SC, Races, TALL SHIPS ATLANTIC CHALLENGE | Leave a Comment »

The chocolate pancake dance

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 26, 2009

From Nelly…

Nelly up in rigging putting Penetrol on the foremast to prevent chafing

Nelly up in rigging putting Penetrol on the foremast to prevent chafing

As we sailed out of Hamilton and around the island to the start of Race Three,  we were joined by hundreds of yachts, dinghies and even jet skis.  It felt like a royal escort.  

 I hate to admit it, but I couldn’t tell you when we crossed the starting line.  I had never set foot on a schooner before and I was often concentrating so much on what I was doing, mostly hauling and trying not to fall over, that I wasn’t always sure exactly what my hauling was achieving up in the rigging and by the time I was done I needed to move to another line.

 The last I was aware, we were waiting for the other race committee boat to get into position.  Then we were setting more sails and tacking, which involved a lot of hurry and hauling while trying not to slip on the deck. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2009, Charleston, SC, TALL SHIPS ATLANTIC CHALLENGE | 1 Comment »

On A Roll…

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 22, 2009

Now underway aboard Schooner Virginia— here’s Amelia’s story on the end of the Bermuda’s festival and the past week aboard the Virginia:

As the festival in Bermuda drew to a close, crew celebrated with a spirited parade to Victoria Park.  Awards were announced and given for the race and parade.  Rona II was victorious in the crew parade category, dressed as festive and colorful “indians.”  Everyone I talked with had an amazing time in Bermuda, and appreciated all the thoughtful amenities given to crew such as free internet, calling cards and soft drinks!

 The parade of sail out of Hamilton on Monday morning was a great end to the festival.  Led by Cisne Branco and Kruzenshtern, Schooner Virginia followed Concordia with tall ships Europa and Pride of Baltimore II behind us in line.  Last was Spirit of Bermuda, who shined as the local vessel as she was escorted by a fleet of surrounding recreational boats.

 Though a hazy morning, most ships in the parade set sail as we neared Dockyard.  Europa looked especially magnificent in full sail against the morning light.  Heading out to the start, the wind picked up and seas began to rise.  To my amusement, Pride II broke the line and passed Virginia, joined by Europa.  Schooner Virginia isn’t participating in the race, instead using the offshore crossing as an opportunity for a celestial navigation course.  But before heading to anchor in St. George Harbor for the night, we sped through wind and rain to catch Pride II at the start and then turned back.

 Tuesday we took the day off to visit Bermuda’s natural beauty; caves, beaches and snorkeling.  Now we are underway, averaging about four to six knots in steady winds and scattered squalls accompanied by heavy rain.  I’ve been a bit of a sickling since I was unaccustomed to her rolling, but am starting to recover and become a fully functioning member of “C” watch.

 I just finished a sunny midday watch, and last night featured beautiful skies with bright starts and strong winds.  During the day and night, celestial navigation courses are taught by Professor Clark to the crew and two guest crew.  “Things are progressing nicely, although the sun has been elusive,” says Professor Clark.

 On watch it is easy to notice that Schooner Virginia is very much a teaching ship.  Trainees focus on four important areas when first orientated to the boat; safety, helm, boat checks and line handling.  During watch, my watch leader has instructed me on the compass points because the ship’s compass doesn’t have numbers, only letters to steer by.  I’m beginning to pick up on this pattern and system while at the helm and looking forward to learning more by the end of the voyage!

Posted in 2009, Bermuda, Charleston, SC, Races, TALL SHIPS ATLANTIC CHALLENGE | Leave a Comment »

Race Three Update

Posted by Tall Ships America on June 19, 2009

Europa at Race Start in Bermuda

Europa at Race Start in Bermuda

After a brief few hours in front (on corrected time) Pride of Baltimore 2 (US) dropped to second among the Class B vessels, behind Tecla (NETH) and in front of Belle Poule (FRA).  According to Captain Miles’ fleet plotting and calcualtions, yesterday Pride of Baltimore advanced 194 nautical miles in 24 hours, the longest distance of the fleet. A few miles behind was Peter von Danzig (GER)at 182 nm. That’s some fast sailing!
With Tecla leading  overall on corrected time, Peter von Danzig leads on the water, flying ahead of Fazisi (US), Spirit of Bermuda (BER) and Rona II (UK). For the German ship,  there are only 247 nm to go until Charleston!
Among the Class A’s, Capitan Miranda (URU) leads the pack, with Europa (NETH) in second (Go Matt!) and Eagle (US) in third.
In the Class D’s, Rona II  leads, followed by Urania (NETH) and Xsaar (BEL).

Information compiled from Sail Training International. For more information, please visit www.tallshipsraces.org  .


The Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge is organised by Sail Training International with the American Sail Training Association.

Posted in 2009, Charleston, SC, Matt Maples, Races, TALL SHIPS ATLANTIC CHALLENGE | Leave a Comment »

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