This year Tall Ships America set out to make its TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2012 series a success that would be remembered for years to come, and with the help of local organizers, the non-profit organization achieved its goal with flying colors.
The 159-foot topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore II and the 180-foot full-rigged ship Bounty sail into Halifax, Nova Scotia for the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2012 series.
More than 20 member tall ships, representing six nations, traveled up the Eastern Seaboard this summer, participating in one or more maritime festivals in Savannah, Ga., Greenport, N.Y., Newport, R.I. and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
On the docks in Greenport, N.Y. for the Memorial Day Weekend maritime festival - Tall Ships Challenge Atlantic Coast 2012 Series
Public participation trumped all expectations, as visitors thronged the waterfront to tour the ships and join a bi-national celebration of maritime heritage.
'The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® 2012 series was a fantastic experience, and each port event was executed without a hitch,' said Tall Ships America Executive Director Bert Rogers (Newport, R.I.), adding that, 'The ships sailed safely, each vessel fulfilling her own particular mission of youth training, leadership development, and historical preservation. The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series allows us to showcase for the general public the outstanding work that these vessels do every day.'
The festivals were all very well attended, but Halifax was the largest. Though the actual numbers are still being analyzed, event organizers anticipate that it will closely resemble the 2009 festival, which had over 600,000 attendees and $32.8 million in economic impact.
'Our vision was to showcase the best of Nova Scotia and ensure that the captains and their crew had the opportunity to experience Halifax at its best,' said President and CEO of Waterfront Development Colin MacLean. 'The ships were magnificent, and the crew members graciously received tens of thousands of visitors aboard for public tours. We believe that the 2012 event was the best one yet.'
'The fleet of domestic and international tall ships that graced Savannah’s riverfront reflected a special time in our city’s maritime history,' said Visit Savannah President Joseph Marinelli. 'Kicking off the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series in our historic southern city made for a unique and authentic way to start the event. The Savannah TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Festival was a success on many levels with visitors and locals alike looking forward to its return in the future.'
The 191-foot Barquentine Dewaruci (Surbaya, Indonesia) and Nova Scotia’s Theodore Tug docked in Savannah, Ga., with the Talmadge Bridge in the background for Tall Ships America’s 2012 Tall Ships Challenge
The Greenport event also saw strong attendance with an emphasis on visitors from New York City and surrounding areas. 'The tall ships event did exactly what was intended,' said The Village of Greenport’s Mayor David Nyce. 'It showcased our village for new visitors from near and far, provided a family-friendly event that kick-started what is turning out to be an extremely successful summer season, and celebrated the unique maritime history that is an invaluable part of Greenport’s story.'
The 191-foot barquentine Dewaruci, from Indonesia, was one of the international tall ships participating in the program. 'On behalf of KRI Dewaruci, the Indonesian Navy and my country, I would like to convey the deepest thanks to all of you for supporting us in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® 2012,' said CDR Haris Bima (Jakarta, Indonesia), commanding officer and captain of Dewaruci. 'Dewaruci has good memories from every city where she berthed, and everybody loved her.'
There was also the 159-foot topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore II. 'Each of this year's TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® ports embodied the best of their distinct and proud regional maritime heritage,' said Jamie Trost (Baltimore, Md.), captain of Pride of Baltimore II.
The 2012 Tall Ships Challenge fleet in Savannah, Ga
The 295-foot barque U.S. Coast Guard Eagle was also there. 'It was a privilege to participate in this year's TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series,' said Eagle’s Commanding Officer and Captain Wes Pulver (East Greenwich, R.I.). 'We look forward to the next opportunity to sail alongside our fellow tall ships as we work collectively to achieve the shared goal of leadership and character development through sail training.'
For more information about Tall Ships America or to learn how to sign aboard a tall ship, visit www.tallshipsamerica.org.
More About Tall Ships America:
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.