Historic Tall Ships have been sailing the Great Lakes region during the summer of 2010 for the Tall Ships Challenge 2010. The Tall Ships carried the the romance and history of days gone by in water transportation. The Tall ships raced to Navy Pier in Chicago, on August 21, 2010 and stayed for a six day festival on the lakefront.
The Tall Ships have been traveling to various ports around the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. Some of the ports included in the Tall Ships Challenge 2010 were: Tornoto, Ontario, Canada; Cleveland, Ohio, Bay City Michigan, Duluth Minnesota, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois.
The Tall Ships Challenge brought 20 of the historic sailing ships to the port in Chicago, including: Appledore, Europa, Fazisi, Friends Good Will, Lynx, Pathfinder, Playfair, Heritage Boats, Royaliste, Madeline, Flagship Niagara, HMS Bounty, Inland Seas, Red Witch, Roald Amundsen, Roseway, Windy, Unicorn, Pride of Baltimore II and S/V Denis Sullivan.
Several of the ships were lined up on the Festival grounds, on the north side of the pier. There was an admission charge to get into the area and see the ships up close. Visitors were allowed to board the ships and inspect the relatively small living and working areas on board with vessel. One of the ships that could be boarded was the HMS Bounty, the ship filmed in the Marlon Brando movie ‘Mutiny on the Bounty.’ Other ships that could be boarded were Roald Amundsen, Unicorn, Royaliste, Flagship Niagara, Friends Good Will, Madeline, Europa and Heritage Boats.
Some of the ships took passengers on ‘Sail Aways,’ allowing ticket holders to have the experience of riding a historic sailing ship on Lake Michigan. The tickets were sold in advance and had been sold out before I visited Navy Pier. Organizers advise purchasing ‘Sail Away’ tickets in advance for people who wish to have the sailing experience.
Even though I was not able to ride one of the ships, I as able to see them as they sailed across the harbor, looking like a mysterious watercolor as the sunset transformed the blue sky into a warm coral.
The Festival music on the day I attended was Maritime Folk music and some Brazilian sounds. The music added to the unique ambiance of the festival on Navy Pier. Vendors sold maritime memorabilia, books, food and refreshments. There were people in nautical gear and pirates costumes adding to thehistoric atmosphere. Each day the festival was wrapped up with a spectacular fireworks display.
The Tall Ships have sailed away from Navy Pier for the season. It is not known when they will return, but they are an experience worth enjoying when they venture back into the Great Lakes region.
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