Published on May 22nd, 2013

(May 22, 2013) – Although it began last year, the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 will show its real fire power in Summer 2013, when Tall Ships America’s bi-national TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series of tall ship races and family friendly public maritime festivals sets sail throughout the Great Lakes. In collaboration with local port organizers, Tall Ships America has scheduled visits from members of a fleet of 25 world-class tall ships to 22 U.S. and Ontario communities. The festivities begin on June 14-16 with the Brockville (Ontario) TALL SHIPS® 1812 Tour and culminate September 6-8 with the Tall Ships® Erie event (Erie, Pennsylvania), but not before a historic re-enactment of the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie in Put-in-Bay (Ohio) on September 2.

Norway’s 210-foot Sorlandet, the oldest full-rigged ship in the world still in operation. (Photo Courtesy of Sorlandet).

“Two countries, five Great Lakes, over 25 participating tall ships, 22 port appearances, five races, and millions of visitors—this is our biggest TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series to date in terms of ports, impact and numbers,” said Tall Ships America Executive Director Bert Rogers.  In 2010, when the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series was last in the Great Lakes, the series visited six ports and recorded an economic impact of $384 million. For 2013, Rogers expects that number to double.

“Operatives at each venue have been working for over a year to create memorable activities and events that not only honor the historical significance of the War of 1812 but also feature the vibrant nature of the host ports and celebrate the magnificence of the tall ships themselves,” added Rogers.
Schedule of Maritime Festival Ports and Dates

In the U.S. for TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2013
July 4-7 – Cleveland, Ohio: Port of Cleveland 2013 Tall Ships® Festival
July 12-14 – Bay City, Mich.: Tall Ship® Celebration
July 26-28 – Duluth, Minn.: Tall Ships® Duluth 2013
August 7-11 – Chicago, Ill.: Tall Ships® Chicago 2013
August 16-18 – Green Bay, Wis.: Baylake Bank Tall Ship® Festival
September 2 – Put-in-Bay, Ohio: Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial
September 6-8 – Erie, Penn.: Tall Ships® Erie 2013:

In Canada’s Ontario Province for Tall Ships® 1812
June 14-16 – Brockville, Eastern Ontario: Brockville TALL SHIPS® 1812 Tour
June 20-23 – Toronto, Ontario: Redpath Waterfront Festival Toronto
June 28-30 – Hamilton, Ontario: TALL SHIPS® Hamilton 2013
June 28-30 – Port Dalhousie: St. Catharines 1812 TALL SHIPS® Visit
July 19-21 – Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario: Sails on the St. Marys, Sault Ste. Marie TALL SHIPS® 1812 Georgian Bay
August 16-18 – Collingwood, Wasaga Beach/Nancy Island, Owen Sound, Ontario
August 24-25 – Penetanguishene, Midland, Discovery Harbour, Ontario Southwestern Ontario: Sails to See
August 30-September 2 – Windsor, Amherstburg, Kingsville, Pelee Island, Ontario 

At each site, the tall ships will be open to the public for viewing and feature dockside exhibits and lively interactions with crew. Among the ships participating at a majority of the ports are Norway’s 210-foot Sorlandet, the oldest full-rigged ship in the world still in operation; Canada’s 72-foot brigantine Pathfinder, and the USA’s 198-foot Brig Niagara. The Niagara was instrumental in the War of 1812 as the flagship for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.  During the Battle of Lake Erie, one of the war’s most critical battles, she helped Perry defeat the British fleet, ensuring American control of Ohio and all of Lake Erie.

Races for the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2013

Between ports, the tall ships have the option to compete in five offshore races, one in each of the Great Lakes:

Race One: Toronto “Around-the-Buoys” Race in Lake Ontario
Race Two: Cleveland, Ohio to Pelee Passage in Lake Erie
Race Three: Tawas Point, Mich. to Drummond Island in Lake Huron
Race Four: Duluth, Minn. to Whitefish Point in Lake Superior
Race Five: Chicago, Ill. to the top of Lake Michigan

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

More race details are available on www.tallshipsamerica.org.

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, stimulating strong tourism and economic development through the coordination of simultaneous family-friendly festivals.

Founded in 1973, 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 in the international forum. In addition to organizing the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series, Tall Ships America supports the people, ships and programs of sail training through grants, scholarships, conferences, education, publications, and public events and advocacy.

The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public, and support education under sail.

For a full list of participating ships in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2013, visit http://bit.ly/19WE9vp. For more information about Tall Ships America or to learn how to sign aboard a tall ship, visit www.tallshipsamerica.org or contact Lori Aguiar (lori@tallshipsamerica.org).

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