Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge - Encouraging character building

The tall ship fleet lining the docks in Bay City
Courtesy of Tall Ships America
After another 2013 Great Lakes series successful maritime festival in the Tall ships challenge onlookers lined the waterfront in Bay City, Mich., today to bid farewell to a majestic fleet of tall ships.

Coordinated by Tall Ships America with the help of local port organizers, Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City was a four-day event (July 11-14) where thousands of visitors toured the decks of the magnificent ships, met crewmembers and trainees from around the world, enjoyed maritime music and educational exhibits, and sailed in tall ship cruises on Saginaw River. The Tall ships challenge fleet is sailing this summer to 22 ports in the U.S. and Canada, to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Next on the schedule is a maritime festival from July 19-21 in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, followed, from July 19-21, by another in Duluth, Minn.

'My favorite part [of the tall ships] is the energy I feel from all the people that are visiting,' said local resident Bonnie Marsh. 'They are from all over, not just Michigan, and they come here specifically for this festival. When they do that, they also see what a beautiful community we have. That excites me a lot.'

Tall Ships America Executive Director Bert Rogers added, 'when I talk to visitors at these festivals, I often hear them say, ‘I wish they had something like this when I was growing up’ or ‘it’s on my bucket list to sail onboard a tall ship one day.’

'We’re here to tell them that they can sail aboard, that is indeed the primary mission for many of the ships. No experience is necessary, the professional captains and crews are enthusiastic teachers with all the necessary seamanship skills. The adventure of the sea is waiting for all who are ready to answer the call.'

Tall Ships America posts sailing opportunities on their website, www.tallshipsamerica.org. Voyages vary in length from a few days to a few weeks and sometimes even months at sea. Opportunities for youth abound this summer, with programs available on the Norwegian vessel Sørlandet, the U.S. Brig Niagara, Appledore V, Unicorn, Denis Sullivan, Lynx and many others.

Unique to the Tall Ships America posts sailing opportunities on their website, www.tallshipsamerica.org. Voyages vary in length from a few days to a few weeks and sometimes even months at sea. Opportunities for youth abound this summer, with programs available on the Norwegian vessel Sørlandet, the U.S. Brig Niagara, Appledore V, Unicorn, Denis Sullivan, Lynx and many others.

Unique to the Tall ships challenge series are opportunities to sail aboard for one of the tall ships races which are held during the passages between port festivals. A fleet of eight tall ships sailed on race two of the series last week, which took them from Cleveland, Ohio, to Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. Today, seven tall ships are starting race three on Michigan’s Lake Huron, racing from Thunder Bay to Drummond Island.

Tall Ships America’s Tall ships challenge is an annual series that rotates on a three-year cycle between the Atlantic Coast, Great Lakes and the Pacific Coast. Over the past decade, Tall Ships America has coordinated more than 60 Tall ships challenge events in 32 cities, attracting more than 20 million visitors and stimulating in excess of $1.5 billion in aggregate economic and tourism activity for the host ports. This year, the series is expected to generate over $350 million.

Visitors tour and view the tall ships in Bay City
Courtesy of Tall Ships America
Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. It is the hub for tall ship activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by Congress as the Sail Training organization representing the United States in the international forum. In addition to organizing the Tall ships challenge Series, Tall Ships America supports the people, ships and programs of sail training through grants, scholarships, conferences, education, publications, and public events and advocacy.

The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public, and support education under sail.

For a full list of participating ships in the Tall ships challenge Great Lakes 2013, visit website! For more information about Tall Ships America or to learn how to sign aboard a tall ship, visit website! or contact Lori Aguiar (lori@tallshipsamerica.org). series are opportunities to sail aboard for one of the tall ships races which are held during the passages between port festivals. A fleet of eight tall ships sailed on race two of the series last week, which took them from Cleveland, Ohio, to Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. Today, seven tall ships are starting race three on Michigan’s Lake Huron, racing from Thunder Bay to Drummond Island.