Tall Ships Duluth 2016
The popular Tall Ships Duluth Festival will be back for its fourth installment in August. Those who have enjoyed the festival before are excited about seeing a large number of regattas and other tall ships for which the city is famous. In 2016 though, director and producer Craig Samborski promises the festival will not just be the biggest ever. It will be “akin to massive.”
The Tall Ships Duluth Festival is already well known around the United States, attracting attention from the Dallas Morning News, Minnesota Public Radio, and several other news outlets. However, this year promises to be its biggest year yet.
Anyone who loves tall ships, nautical displays, and history will love the Tall Ships Duluth Festival. On-board and dockside tours are being expanded, and festival-goers will have more opportunities for day sails as well. Samborski and his colleagues are bringing in more vendors, artisans, and musicians than ever to complement the tall ships on Duluth’s bustling waterfront.
“A dozen or so” tall-mast ships will be featured in Duluth’s harbor this year. These include ships from almost every culture one can imagine, including the Spanish galleon El Galeon Andalucia and the Dragon Harald Fairhair Viking ship. The Pride of Baltimore II, a reproduction of an 1812 topsail schooner, will also join the Tall Ships Duluth fleet. It is a sailing memorial to the original Pride of Baltimore, lost in a white squall in 1986.
Another historical tall-mast ship joining the fleet is the When and If. Commissioned by Gen. (then Colonel) George Patton during World War II, it was so named because of Patton’s quote regarding it. “When the war is over, and if I live through it,” he said, “Bea and I are going to sail her around the world.” Unfortunately, Patton died in 1945, before reaching his goal. However, the When and If remains a testimony to the bravery and ambition of one of America’s best-remembered war generals. The When and If now serves civilians with day sails, charters, and other special events throughout the year. The ship’s current motto is “If not, now, when?” prompting visitors to take as many sailing adventures as possible.
Finally, the U.S. Brig Niagara will join the Tall Ships Duluth fleet for the event. Coming to Duluth from Erie, Pennsylvania, the US Brig Niagara is a sailing school vessel, providing sail training to people interested in square-rig seamanship. The current Niagara is a reconstruction of the original, which helped defend the United States during the War of 1812. Niagara sails the Great Lakes to “preserve and interpret the story of the Battle of Lake Erie.”
These are only a few of the tall ships that will grace Duluth Harbor during the festival. The list and information about the ships are both updated regularly, so festival-goers are encouraged to check in often and make plans to visit their favorite vessels early. Prizes will also be offered during the festival. The Parade of Sail will begin at 1 p.m. opening day, but the time is subject to change depending on ship’ schedules. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early if they want to see the parade and opening ceremonies.
Samborski promises the harbor will be turned into the world’s largest bathtub for the festival. Of course, with more than a dozen ships in the harbor, you might be reminded of your days splashing in a bathtub with your own toy boats. However, Samborski is also referring to Tall Ships Duluth’s largest rubber duck, commissioned especially for this event.
This inflatable duck is 61 feet tall and first appeared at the Los Angeles Tall Ships Festival in 2014, where the 277,000 attendees got an eyeful of the impressive rubber duck. Samborski points out that without the duck, Tall Ships Duluth has attracted upward of 250,000 people. He hopes a record number of guests will come to experience the ships and the duck this year.
The Tall Ships Duluth Festival will begin August 18 and run through August 21. Lake Superior Magazine is holding a Tall Ships sweepstakes. Winners will receive tickets to the festival and a chance to sail on one of Tall Ships Duluth’s impressive vessels.
Get your lake view tour when the Tall Ships arrive by booking a Vista Fleet site seeing cruise here.