On September 10, 1813, nine Tall Ships led by US Navy Master Commandment Oliver H. Perry defeated the British Royal Navy in the battle for control of Lake Erie, ending the War of 1812. At the time, these Tall Ships were the foundation of our nascent Navy. Today, they remain an important relic of America’s maritime history.
Since 2001, the Tall Ships Challenge, an annual series of races and public port festivals, has been rotating between the Pacific Coast, the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes, commemorating this historical and epic batle. In those years, Tall Ships America has coordinated visits from a fleet of Tall Ships to 22 communities within the U.S. and Ontario, Canada. This summer, the Challenge is taking place in the Great Lakes, giving the public an opportunity to experience the massive ships and their intricate rigging up close.
Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization based in Newport, Rhode Island. They organize and sponsor programs aboard Tall Ships to garner support for sail training and education under sail. An integral part of their effort is the Class Afloat program.
“Class Afloat not only provides its students with a full academic program but also with a very serious sail training program,” said Bonnie Rowan, the program’s shipboard director. “The festivals have been going very well for us. We had thousands of visitors touring the ship and a lot of last minute interest from people who want to join this summer’s program, which is open to all ages.”
Tall Ships America Executive Director Bert Rogers added, “Our organization’s main objective is to enrich youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. Our goal is to get as many students as possible out sailing in these ships, so they can face the challenges and reap the rewards of adventure and education under sail.”
Photo courtesy of Tall Ships America