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The Sailing of the Tall Ships in 2016

Updated on August 19, 2017
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.


Sailing the Great Lakes 2016

Thirteen tall ships: USCGC EAGLE (USA), DEWARUCI (Indonesia), HMS BOUNTY (USA), PICTON CASTLE (Canada/Cook Islands), LYNX (USA), PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II (USA), LA BELLE POULE (France), ETOILE (France), ROSEWAY (USA), PEACEMAKER (USA), APPLEDORE V (USA), ALLIANCE (USA),and SIR MARTIN II (USA) gave the public permission to board at the port of Savannah, Georgia, May 2012.

Tall Ships America organizes such a sailing each year in cooperation with the rotating host ports in the United States and Canada. The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series alternates between the Great Lakes and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America in a three-year cycle. For the first time in fifteen years the coastal Georgia city of Savannah was the site of the beginning of the race, which continued on to Greenport, N.Y., Newport, R.I., and finishes in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in July.

Seven of those tall ships (DEWARUCI, EAGLE, PICTON CASTLE, LYNX, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, ALLIANCE and APPLEDORE V) gathered on May 7, 2012, at the starting coordinates to participate in the first leg of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® race series. Race Leg One was a 185 nautical mile race from Savannah to Cape Fear, North Carolina. This race has yet to declare a winner because all the ships have different rigs and are different sizes. Each vessel receives a handicap rating that must be applied to the race. Two ships had to retire from the race before finishing, and some never made it to the start line on time.

The festival continued in Greenport, New York, May 24 - 28, 2012. Here are a few of the ships featured in the Savannah port.

The Eagle

The lead ship both in and out of the port of Savannah was this vessel of the United States Coast Guard. The ship itself was part of the reparations America received from Germany at the conclusion of World War II. It was one of five sister ships built for sail training in the 1930s. Today its 22,245 square feet of sail area is still used for training by the cadets of this service academy located in New London, Connecticut. Of all the ships in the flotilla, only The Eagle was on 24-hour duty during the festival for responsibilities beyond hosting tourists. The six officers and 49 enlisted members exhibited all the professionalism Americans expect from our all-volunteer armed forces.

The Bounty

This floating matinee idol was everyone's favorite star attraction of the event. Built for and featured in the 1960 MGM masterpiece, "Mutiny on the Bounty," visitors all but expected Marlon Brando himself to make an appearance. The ship has been utilized for many television episodes, documentaries, and such Hollywood movies as "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest". Once aboard, visitors quickly realized the difference between a boat that filled the purpose of a film sound stage and a ship with a commercial or national mission. Much more open and less equipped with the essentials of a sailing vessel, The Bounty looked more ready for its next close up than for a sea voyage. But like all Hollywood starlets, the lines for The Bounty were the longest of the festival.

NOTE: The Bounty sank in Hurricane Sandy later that same year. For details of that tragedy that cost a crew member and the captain their lives, go to HubPages does not support the cnn video format.

La Belle Poule

While waiting in line for this beauty and her sister, Etoile, several of us used all the skills we had acquired in High School French to figure out the English translation for the name of this ship. The Beautiful Chicken? No, surely not. And no it wasn't. It was the beautiful chick, as in young girl. And we thought that was American slang only.

This ship set to sea for the first time in February 1932, a replica of the kind of fishing vessel used in Iceland up until the mid 1930s. During World War II the sister ships were based in Portsmouth, England, to aid the cause of the Free French Forces. Today, the ships are used for training the French navy.

The Picton Castle

Known for her voyages around the world from her home port in The Cook Islands,the crew delivers educational materials and supplies to the remote islands along the way, One of the ship's most interesting features was its large still-in-service cookstove, circa 1800. It takes up easily half the space in the galley. Everything and every one on this vessel serves a purpose in fulfilling its primary purpose: training. All hands onboard work, stand watch, and study the workings of a square-rigged sailing ship with 12,450 square fee of sail area.

Follow the daily progress of the 2016 race via FLEET TRACKER


Bounty Captain Robin Walbridge's "reckless decision to sail ... into the well-forecast path of Hurricane Sandy" was reported to be the cause of the loss of the ship and two lives according to the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation.

The ship flipped sideways in heavy seas and high winds, sending all 16 crewmembers overboard into raging seas. Coast Guard rescuers failed in their efforts to revive deckhand Claudene Christian, a 42-year-old rookie. Captain Walbridge's body was never recovered.

Last Sighting of The Bounty



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    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Jools99: How I'd love to see them from your side of the pond! You are so right. The best part was watching them sail away -all in a row. So sad about losing The Bounty in Hurricane Sandy. Glad I saw her when I could.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      mary615: My parents live on Tybee so you know what a wonderful place the Savannah area is. Thanks for commenting and if no one else does - I'll let you know when the tall ships are coming to GA again.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I have a daughter who lives in Savannah and I visit her a couple of times a year. I wish she had told me about the tall ships: I would have loved to have seen them. Maybe next time!

      You took some great photos for this Hub.

      I voted this UP, etc.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      5 years ago from North-East UK

      How beautiful and what an interesting hub. My town has hosted the tall ships race in the UK about three times over the last two decades and it is always worth the visit to port to see all of the ships up close. And then when you see them going up river and out into the estuary eventually to be in full sail, there is nothing quite like it. Your photos are great and your enthusiasm shines through in your writing.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      This is The Bounty that sank in Hurricane Sandy. She was a beauty.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I share your enthusiasm. This was my first experience and apparently based on your comments, I hit the Mother Lode! Glad you enjoyed this one and thanks for the generous comments.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      I have always been fascinated by the tall ships and have seen different ones at several different ports and gone sailing on one, but I never saw so many docked at a single port.

      I love the Savannah port and since the area is steeped in history, can envision how exciting this event must have been. Thanks for writing about it and sharing the pictures.

      I hope to be able to attend the next event in 3 years.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

      Also shared.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It was an incredible experience. Thanks for finding this hub. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • unknown spy profile image

      Not Found 

      6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      so beautiful Kath. it's like you want to sail with the wind!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You are so good about sharing my hubs - even got a comment on you. Want to make sure I've said thanks!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      What stately vessels and such lovely lines. Terrific photographs. :) The information about the Eagle, the Bounty, La Belle Poule, and the Picton Castle was fascinating. I am sure a marvelous day was had by those aboard ship and those watching from shore, :) Sharing.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It was amazing just to stand onboard and talk to the crews. Getting to see them sail was a thrill! You would have enjoyed it too! Thanks for commenting, Marcy.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Teaches is right - these ships indeed look majestic and stately! Just looking at them gives me a thrill and makes me wonder what it would have been like to sail on them. I'm so glad there are some well-preserved examples still around to help us learn about their histories and see their beauty.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Teaches: I looked at your profile to see if you are anywhere near any of the ports the tall ships are coming to, but I couldn't tell. I can just tell you if those cities do the kind of video presentation Savannah did, you'll get to see more and more of them.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      teaches: I should have known this one would appeal to the teachers out there! It was a fun learning experience!!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      These boats looks so stately and majestic against the blue skies and water. I would love to see them and to tour the inside of the boats. Enjoyed the hub.


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