A fleet of fourteen tall ships sailed from Toronto on Sunday, June 23rd after participating in the hugely successful Redpath Waterfront Festival that drew tens of thousands of visitors to the downtown harbor side. The ships were in Toronto as part of the Tall Ships Challenge® Great Lakes 2013 series of races and festivals coordinated by Tall Ships America to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
This summer, the tall ships will race in all five Great Lakes and visit 22 ports in the U.S. and Canada, where millions of visitors and tourists will enjoy the family-friendly and educational activities that are part of each maritime festival.
Five ships participated in Race 1, which was a 65-nautical mile course on the western end of Lake Ontario. These were the full-rigged ship Sørlandet; the 1812 Baltimore clippers Pride of Baltimore II and Lynx; the topsail schooner Unicorn; and the barquentine Peacemaker. Adding to the excitement, a summer squall passed through the area just as the race was getting started, necessitating a masterful demonstration of sail handling skills as the ships’ crews quickly struck and reset their upper sails. Thirteen hours after the start, the race was over, with Pride of Baltimore II, Lynx and Sørlandet taking first, second, and third places, respectively (based on corrected time).
After the race, the fleet sailed on to the festivals of Tall Ships® Hamilton 2013 (Hamilton, Ontario) and St. Catharine’s 1812 Tall Ships® Visit (Port Dalhousie, Ontario) before sailing to Lake Erie and Cleveland, Ohio for the Port of Cleveland 2013 Tall Ships® Festival, July 3-7.
Race 2 will start on Monday, July 8th when the ships will race on a 30-nautical mile course on western Lake Erie en route to Bay City, Michigan for the Tall Ship® Celebration, July 11-14.
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 Pacific Coast. Over the past decade, Tall Ships America has coordinated more than sixty 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.
by Kirsten Ferguson