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.
Archive for the ‘Races’ Category
Posted by Tall Ships America on September 13, 2016
Posted by Tall Ships America on September 2, 2016
It’s been over a week since the ships sailed out of Duluth and I said goodbye to our summer interns. Ben headed back to college and George sailed away on When & If . Tomorrow is September 3 and all I hear around Tall Ships America HQ is, “Where did August go?!” But not so fast, we still have three more festivals (Festival of Sail Sandusky, Tall Ships® Erie, and Tall Ships® Brockville) and summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Tall Ships America on September 1, 2016
While our history with Erie Insurance, Official Race Sponsor of TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2016, is relatively new, the relationship between insurance companies and tall ships is anything but recent. Marine insurance is the earliest well-developed type of insurance . Erie Insurance wrote a blog post, with photos, about this very subject.
Read on for a quick history lesson, and you can see history come to life next weekend when the ships arrive at Tall Ships® Erie 8-11 September.
Posted by Tall Ships America on August 31, 2016
Last Monday, we started the final race of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Race Series outside of Duluth, MN. The race across Lake Superior had some of the best sailing of the season and the results will be announced at Tall Ships® Erie next week.
Here are the latest standings (you can read the first update here)
Lake Huron – Race Three
Participants – Appledore IV, Denis Sullivan, Niagara, Playfair, Pride of Baltimore II
Winners (on corrected time!)
Third Place – Niagara
Second Place – Playfair
First Place – Pride of Baltimore II
Lake Michigan – Race Four
Thank you to the Chicago Yacht Club for their help at the race start!
Participants – Appledore IV, Denis Sullivan, Niagara, Playfair, Pride of Baltimore II, When & If
Third Place – Appledore IV
Second Place – Pride of Baltimore II
First Place – When & If
Lake Superior – Race Five
Winners to be announced next week! Captain Jan Miles of Pride of Baltimore II wrote about the sailing across Lake Superior on his Captain’s Log
Posted by Tall Ships America on August 8, 2016
By Intern Ben
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.”
The start of race four aboard Appledore IV featured the steepest of learning curves. Our minimal crew of seven, and the fact that only two of those actually belonging to the ship made for an interesting experience to say the least. The crew exchange in Chicago had robbed the schooner of its usual crew, one to the Draken Harald Hårfagre, another to El Galéon Andalucia, and the last to the U.S. Brig Niagara. As the
Monday morning broke aboard the ship, the regular crew started trickling out, and strangers started appearing on the gangway. Myself, a Chicago sailor from aboard the Red Witch, and the cook from El Galéon Andalucia. It was an interesting start.
The race continued into the afternoon and through the evening, and unlike many of the last races, the fleet seemed to group up as the race progressed, rather than growing further apart. Despite the schooner’s upwind advantage, it took most of the evening to finally pass Niagara, and most of the night to finally come abreast of Pride of Baltimore II, only to have them pass us with the wind shift.
Wednesday bloomed hot and humid, and the 20 knots of southerly wind that had been promised turned into something only a little bit better than a doldrum out of the southwest. We sweated through constant gibes and sail changes, and finally resigned to putting up an awning over the aft section to try to relieve ourselves from some of the torrid heat.
The captain came on deck to find several crew members lounging on the cabin top, glorying in our newly-made shade.
“Well, there’s our extra canvas.”
Through the light winds of the previous day and evening, all the talk aboard had been of how to maximize the schooner’s sail area. We’d had a main gaff topsail, a small sail that closes the gap between the gaff of the mainsail and the main topmast. We’d even taken the small sail out of the ship’s dinghy and sent it aloft on the foremast, a crude imitation of the same technique.
“Heck, at this point we might as well take our bedsheets and sew ‘em together for a spinnaker.”
It was also something of a sore topic for the original crew. In their haste from Bay City, they had neglected to bring aboard their fisherman sail– a large auxiliary piece of sail that goes up between the masts on traditionally-rigged schooners. With the wind on our quarter getting lighter, every inch of canvas raised meant more speed, and quicker relief from the oppressive temperature. Niagara had gone so far as to leave its cutter outboard of its rail, but with its sail raised in the hope of catching that much more breeze. Now it seemed our captain wanted to do them one better.
“Surely you can’t be serious…”
“Hell yeah, down-rig it, take the gaff from the dinghy and meet me on the bow.”
After a good deal of finicking, we’d come up with a jerry-rigged square sail. Captain Christopher affectionately christened it the fore-course, but the oblong rectangle that hung from the foremast was nothing short of ridiculous.
Sarcasm is the sailor’s constant companion. It is his friend in all things. It gets him through the day, releases his anger, distracts him from his hunger and fatigue, and above all, gets him through these little bits of ridiculousness that pervade his profession.
However much we tease each other, we tease landlubbers more. One sailor I knew after being asked if the Chicago water intakes in Lake Michigan were floating circus tents went on to regale his passenger of the elephants and clowns he had seen the night before.
So it might have been funny to see a group of grown men putting up what amounted to a sun umbrella for a sail. Laughing about its size and shape and making as if to go below, gather shirts and sheets and start sewing new sails. But don’t laugh — that stupid sun umbrella got us a half a knot of speed!
Posted by Tall Ships America on July 29, 2016
By Intern Ben
Anger is often associated with sailors. It is often conjured up by the stories of old military vessels. The bosun’s fury, the cat o nine tails — these have the appearance of anger, but are more dutiful than wrathful. Popular culture has developed this image of the constantly angry mariner. Worse yet the pirate maddened by rage screaming profanity at his crew. None of these are quite accurate to my recent experiences. What, then, is anger to a sailor? To be sure, there is much to be angry, or simply exasperated about.
In Fairport Harbor we boarded Denis Sullivan, a 3-masted topsail schooner. The wind was favorably out of the south. This allowed us to sail off the dock primarily under her unique triangular topsail called a raffee. We quickly made it past the seawalls and out into Lake Erie. The wind on our beam was so favourable we had to take in topsails and luff the main to keep from crossing the line early. Pride of Baltimore II quickly caught up and we crossed the line sailing abreast.
The race went well until the wind shifted to the east, greatly profiting the ships with square sails. We quickly came to see the Niagara passing us way off to the north. The race continued through the night and the day bloomed bright and cloudless. The results were soon in, and despite our best efforts, Sullivan had been the last ship to cross the line. Much to our delight however, the adjusted handicap times put all the finishers within minutes of each other and Denis Sullivan came in second place.
The race done, we quickly took in sail and started again under motor power. Tuesday was sweltering and the flies never ceased in their attacks as we wound lazily up the Detroit River, on to Lake St. Clair, and finished the night with rain on the Saint Clair River. By Wednesday we were on Lake Huron, and by Wednesday night we were anchored on Saginaw Bay.
Wednesday night at anchor passed easily enough, but the standing order was to wake the captain for anything worse than 25 knots of wind. The morning was windier still, and after a standard cleaning if the boat, it was time to man the windlass and heave anchor. That is when the real trouble began.
The first few fathoms came easily enough. The chain wound quickly and flaked down into the chain locker. Too quickly in fact. The call soon came to heave handsomely. After a couple minutes another hand came to take a spell in my place. In another few minutes, I was back in again and pumping the handle, again, perhaps a little too fast.
Suddenly all action stopped. We four working the windlass looked at each other, the first mate looked at the windlass. The chain had fouled in its lead, wedging itself between the windlass and its mounting. That was when anger started.
For more than an hour the crew labored on the windlass. They even went so far as to take the mechanism apart to work slack into the chain by way of the anchor burton. Now the chain was not held by its wraps on the windlass, but by a simple metal hook and eye splice. Each creak as the chain took strain sent us ducking behind hatchways and masts for fear of hook, line or the chain itself parting and causing injury by its elastic snap-back. Each creak and moan of metal on metal and rope on wood frayed our nerves and shortened out tempers.
Then suddenly the chain was free, the windlass reassembles, and the hands back to pumping. Despite the hour long interlude, the anchor was up in relatively short time. However, the wind and waves were still rising as the anchor was finally pulled out of the water. The first mate leaning out from the fore shrouds manned the anchor burton as the 500 lbs of iron rose slowly in the foamy lake. Then the rollers caught us and every swell sent the anchor banging against the wood of the bow, and each bang was accompanied by a shout from the mate.
The anger in sailing is not between the crew. It can be, but it’s most common form is different. This anger is the joint exasperation, the unifying anger at all the things that are outside the sailors realm of control. Seldom are we angry at each other, often are we angry together.
Posted by Tall Ships America on July 22, 2016
A little known fact about the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Race Series is that, yes, the ships do race. Between each of the ports, in each of the Great Lakes, this summer tall ships will be racing each other for a shiny award and bragging rights. This year’s races are sponsored by Erie Insurance. To make the races between all these different ships and rigs more fair, we do use a handicap system so all the winners listed below are on corrected time.
So far we have had three races:
Participants – Pride of Baltimore II and Draken Harald Harfagre (read Captain Miles’ blog entry about racing with the Viking Ship)
1st Place- Pride of Baltimore II
Participants – Appledore IV, Denis Sullivan, Niagara, Pride of Baltimore II, When and If
1st Place – Niagara; 2nd Place – Denis Sullivan; 3rd Place – Pride of Baltimore
Participants – Appledore IV, Denis Sullivan, Niagara, Playfair, Pride of Baltimore II
Pride of Baltimore II was first across the finish line on the water. Winners (on corrected time!) will be announced in Chicago next Sunday night.
Posted by Tall Ships America on July 6, 2016
After three glorious days at the Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto, presented by PortsToronto, the ships started the first race of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series. We had two very different ships participate – Pride of Baltimore II and Draken Harald Harfagre. With special help from the Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club, we had an awesome start with Pride of Baltimore II across the line within one minute of the cannon, followed three minutes later by Draken (no oars allowed!). Thank you to the wonderful Race Committee at Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club for a safe and well-organized start!
This summer, we have a race in each of the Great Lakes. Winners will be announced at each of the finishing ports. Winners for this first race will be announced during the Tall Ships® Fairport Harbor 2016.
Captain Jan Miles writes about the disparity between the two ships in his most recent blog post and provides some detail about life on board a tall ship during a race.
Captain’s Log : A millennium of difference that in fact is very little…
Date: Monday July 4th, 2016 American Independence Day
Time: 0900 EDT
Position: Western Lake Ontario 14 nautical miles northeast of Fort Niagara, New York, at the mouth of the Niagara River
PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is part of a Millennium of Difference Race (my personal description). A race of sailing vessels of maybe the greatest difference of time of origin in the same race. The first of the 2016 Tall Ships America Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge Race Series. Two vessels. The 9th Century era Viking Longboat DRAHKEN and the early 19th Century American Baltimore Clipper PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II. Only a thousand years apart in development. I wonder if this could be a record for spread of time between vessel origin in the Tall Ship Races of the world. It surely is for such races here in North America.
Right now the 19th Century Baltimore Clipper is demonstrating what it takes to be able to go to windward rather effectively. The Viking Longboat is actually doing impressively well sailing to windward with her single big square-sail. I would guess on average she is 20 degrees less weatherly and about a full knot and a half slower. Earlier in the race the wind was favorable for heading to the first mark, meaning there was no need to get to windward. DRAHKEN was again slower but not by much. And when the wind went right aft PRIDE had to reach away from the rhumbline course to the mark to keep blanketing wind her fore & aft sails. DRAHKEN merely shifted her single yard to square.
This year’s races are sponsored by Erie Insurance.
Posted by Tall Ships America on July 5, 2016
We are just back from a whirlwind four days in the city of Toronto. This past weekend, Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto, presented by PortsToronto, hosted El Galeon Andalucía, Draken Harald Harfagre and Pride of Baltimore II. In addition, local tall ships Pathfinder, Playfair, St. Lawrence 2, Empire Sandy, Mist of Avalon, Kajama and Challenge, were also docked along the waterfront. We had spectacular weather (with a brief thunderstorm to keep everyone on their toes) and thousands of people toured the ships.
On July 1, Canada Day, the harbor was lit up with fireworks. It was a spectacular sight to see with the tall ships along the waterfront.
The interns, Ben and George, had the opportunity to sail on the Toronto Brigantines for the race between Pathfinder, Playfair and St. Lawrence II. They will be sailing in Niagara for arrival into Tall Ships® Fairport Harbor 2016 on Thursday.
Sunday afternoon, the ships departed and graced the city of Toronto with one last look as they paraded through the Toronto Harbor and headed on their way to our second TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Host Port, Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Pride of Baltimore II and Draken Harald Harfagre headed to the start line for the first race of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series, sponsored by Erie Insurance.
Thank you to the wonderful organizers of Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto! We had an amazing time in your lovely city.
Next stop, Fairport Harbor!
Posted by Tall Ships America on July 31, 2015
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 –