A few weeks ago, when I was in Sturgeon Bay, I was lucky enough to be able to watch the Tall Ships arrive in port while on their way to Green Bay for the Tall Ships Festival there. Unfortunately, I have been busy and haven’t been able to post these photos until now. Earlier in the week, I checked out the shipyard and shot the vessels there. On Wednesday, August 3, the Tall Ships arrived to spend the night. I stood on the Oregon Street Bridge with a panoramic view of the harbor to watch the action.
Leading the parade was the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay. She docked at the Coast Guard Station where the Sturgeon Bay-based Mobile Bay usually docks.
The first ship to arrive, and probably the most anticipated, was the replica Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre.
The Draken was launched in 2012, and is the first replica of a Viking ship to visit the Great Lakes. The ship is constructed of oak and is 115 feet long, and carries 2,800 square feet of sail.
The ship left its home port of Haugesund, Norway, on April 26 and made stops in Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland before entering the Great Lakes.
After the ship docked, the crew busied themselves setting up red tarps to cover and protect the deck for the night.
Next to arrive was the four-masted Windy, one of the larger ships to arrive.
Windy passed through both bridges and docked at the Stone Harbor Resort, joining the Spanish ship El Galeon that had arrived earlier in the day.
Following the Windy was the much smaller Madeline, from Newport, Rhode Island.
Madeline would be the third and final ship to dock at Stone Harbor – the nine vessels had to be spread out throughout the harbor to fit them all.
I turned around on the bridge and caught Windy passing through the Michigan Street bridge, followed by a flotilla of small boats.
A few minutes later came a favorite of many – the Pride of Baltimore II, built in 1988.
The ships is a successor to the Pride of Balmtimore, which was sunk in a white squall in 1986. Both vessels are replicas of the 1812-era warships that helped America secure its freedom and win the War of 1812.
Next came the much smaller Appledore IV, built in 1989 and measuring 85 feet overall. She would be one of two ships to dock at Sawyer Park, just behind the Biscayne Bay.
When not under sail power, the ship has a 135 horsepower engine and a minimum crew of 4.
The final ship I watched to arrive was probably the most popular, and my personal favorite – the U.S. Brig Niagara. She was escorted by not only the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard and police, but a bunch of pleasure boaters as well!
The Niagara is a replica of the relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, built in 1988. Her home port is Erie, PA, but she travels the Great Lakes most of the time.
Note the small blue boat to the right of Niagara‘s bow – it acted as the tugboat, and pushed the ship’s bow in to dock.
Before we left for the afternoon, I grabbed a shot of the Pride of Baltimore II, the only ship at CenterPointe Yacht Services.
After we left for the afternoon, two more ships arrived – the Denis Sullivan, and the above ship, When and If. We returned later that evening and revisited the dock, where we found the small ship squeezed in behind the massive Niagara.
Niagara took up the whole frame no matter where I tried to take a photo, but I think this one turned out pretty good.
From the Oregon Street bridge, you can barely see the When and If tucked in behind Niagara.
And here’s a wide shot of the three ships docked at Graham Park. Along with these, three were at Stone Harbor, two at Sawyer Park, and one at CPYS.
At Sawyer Park, the Milwaukee-based Denis Sullivan is on the far left, with Appledore IV between her and Biscayne Bay.
And here’s one final shot of Pride of Baltimore II.
Next, we headed over to Stone Harbor to see the ships docked there. Windy was flying quite a few flags from her masts, including the traditional Don’t Give Up The Ship.
I really like this shot of Windy – I couldn’t even get her whole bow in the shot!
Each ship had a large gangplank leading on board – I don’t think any of the ships gave tours during the short overnight stay, although many of the ships’ crew members talked with people on the dock.
A few of the ships, including Windy and Madeline, were new to me this year – I hadn’t heard of them before.
The Spanish ship El Galeon arrived in Sturgeon Bay earlier on Wednesday, and attracted quite a crowd throughout the day.
The ship, a replica of a traditional Spanish galleon, measures 170 feet long and was built in 2010, and is making her first trip into the Lakes.
I’m very glad I was able to see her on this trip, as her temporary American home port is in Florida.
And here’s a stern view. To the right of the ship, you can see the stern of the Roger Blough at the shipyard.
And speaking of the Roger Blough, later in the week, I happened to be in downtown Sturgeon Bay when I noticed that she was departing! I was able to grab this shot of her heading away from the shipyard, and to Two Harbors, MN, for her first load since grounding.
And that concludes my week in Sturgeon Bay. It was definitely exciting, but next week will be even better: on Saturday, I will board Interlake’s 1,000 footer James R. Barker to spend the week aboard. We will depart from Two Harbors, MN, with ore, and unload in Indiana Harbor before loading again in Escanaba. I’m hoping to catch the Tall Ships again in Duluth this weekend while we’re passing through, but it won’t be until next weekend that I’ll be able to post the photos. I’m really looking forward to this rare opportunity, and I can’t wait to share my experiences!