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Tall Ships Challenge Race Series heads to the East Coast

by Kirsten Ferguson on 17 Apr 2012
Tall Ships Challenge® Race Series 2010 on Navy Pier in Chicago © Tall Ships America
In celebration of the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812, more than 25 tall ships will make their way up the Eastern Seaboard this summer to participate in the Tall Ships Challenge® Atlantic Coast 2012 series of races and public maritime festivals.

Coordinated by Tall Ships America in collaboration with local organizers, the Tall Ships Challenge® fleet will be hosted at festivals in four major ports of call: Savannah, Ga. (May 3-7), Greenport, N.Y. (May 24-28), Newport, R.I. (July 6-9) and Halifax, Nova Scotia (July 19-23).

Among the international ships planning to participate in the events are the 191-foot Indonesian Naval barquentine Dewaruci; the French Naval tall ships La Belle Poule and Etoile; and the 179-foot barque Picton Castle from the Cook Islands. U.S. vessels include the majestic 295-foot U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle, HMS Bounty, Gazela, Lynx, Pride of Baltimore II, and many more.

'The member vessels of Tall Ships America help young people – who are referred to as students or trainees – develop confidence, competency and courage through the authentic challenges and adventures of seafaring,' said Tall Ships America Executive Director Bert Rogers. 'The Tall Ships Challenge® series is a celebration of our maritime heritage and these fundamental values that define us as Americans.'

While in port, the ships will be open to the public for viewing, and many will feature dockside exhibits and lively interactions with crew. Each ship has its own educational mission and style, providing the American public with a rich selection of programs, all conforming to Tall Ships America’s credo: Adventure and Education Under Sail. Between ports, the vessels can compete in four offshore races: from Savannah to Cape Fear, N.C.; Greenport to the Chesapeake Bay Entrance; Newport to Cape Ann, Mass.; and Sable Island, Canada, to Halifax.

'Students and trainees will sail the ships just as was done during the great Age of Sail' added Rogers. 'These races follow long-distance courses on the open ocean, and the ships sail without using engines. It’s all to promote international goodwill through friendly competition.

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, the Tall Ships Challenge® has coordinated more than sixty events in 32 cities, stimulating strong tourism and economic development though these family-friendly festivals.

In 2013, all eyes will be on the Tall Ships Challenge® Great Lakes, when the ships will visit over 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada to continue the commemoration of the events of the War of 1812, including a re-creation of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.

For a list of participating tall ships, click here. For more information about Tall Ships America or to learn how to sign aboard a tall ship, click here or contact Lori Aguiar, 401-846-1775,

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