Our Woman in Chicagoland
Gardenia C. Hung
Tall Ships -- Chicago 1998
All Aboard! People en masse made their way to the southeastern shores of Lake Michigan to gaze, wander, and climb aboard Tall Ships Chicago 1998 where maritime history comes to life. Sponsored by AT & T Wireless Services at Navy Pier, July 16-20, the Windy City is proud to host these magnificent guests anchored by the cool aquamarine waters of the lakefront.
Sea-lovers of all ages, young and old gazed in awe and wonder at the Public Dockside Viewing of the Ships, the citys first festival of Tall Ships and the largest fleet of Tall Ships in Chicago since the early 1900s. City skyscrapers towering high on the lakefront skyline witness the presence of these majestic vessels as they glide and skim the waves into the harbor, full sail ahead during the Parade. Bearing names like Schooner America, Anna Kristina, Madeline, U.S. Brig Niagara, STV Pathfinder, TS Playfair, H.M.S. Tecumseh, True North, Windy, USCG Acacia, USCG Mackinaw, they are reminiscent of people, places, and historical markers for times gone by.
These vessels have been built according to specifications bringing to life the spirit and image of their predecessors:
- The spectacular Schooner America named after the famous racing yacht which crossed the Atlantic in Cowes, England in 1851, is a fine example of quality American craftsmanship. Originally designed by George Steers, thanks to carbon fiber technology here-and-now this ship was built in Albany, New York and christened in 1995today Schooner America weighs 50 tons less than the original. At Americas Cup 2000 in New Zealand, Schooner America will be host vessel and represent the United States at the 150th Americas Cup.
- Anna Kristina is a restored Norwegian vessel built in 1890 and now controlled by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate. Throughout her first 88 years, this ship transported cargo along the north Norwegian coast and to north Russia. A reputation as a long-distance traveler precedes her. The itineraries sailed during the last 12 years exceed 130,000 miles and include excursions to England, Australia and New Zealand, as well as passages through the Arctic Ocean. Anna Kristina is known for being a well-seasoned vessel which has navigated more sea miles than any of the other 2,000 "jakts" constructed in the last 300 years.
- The lovely Madeline is a replica of an 1800s trading schooner with a long and varied career on northern Lake Michigan. She also served briefly as a lightship, later to become the first private school in Michigans Grand Traverse area. Nowadays, Madeline holds regular sail training on board for the Maritime Heritage Alliance and undertakes voyages to Great Lakes ports for each summer in the United States.
- U.S. Brig Niagara is a reproduction of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perrys relief flagship used in a major battle of the War of 1812. This seaworthy relic recalls how nine small U.S. ships defeated a British squadron of six vessels in the Battle of Lake Erie fought on September 1813. This victory constituted a major turning point in the War of 1812 because it secured the Northwest Territory and opened supply lines. Niagara is a cloned vessel from the flotilla and was completed in 1990. The U.S. Brig Niagara takes on volunteers to sail and maintain its upkeep for it is equipped with auxiliary power and modern navigational systems. Its mission is to make history alive with programs designed to train crew and apprentices.
- STV Pathfinder was built in 1963 by Toronto Brigantine, a Canadian-based, non-profit sail-training organization. Based on the underlying philosophy that young people benefit from the challenges of sea life, Torontos Brigantine founders specifically designed and constructed STV Pathfinder for sail training.
- TS Playfair named by Queen Elizabeth II to accommodate its increasing number of program participants by emphasizing leadership, teamwork, and responsibility. The quintessential philosophy for these two ships transcends time-- building character through adventure.
- H.M.S. Tecumseh, the original predecessor, was built at Chippewa on Lake Erie to be part of Britains defense during and after the War of 1812. Christened after Its namesake, the Native chief, Tecumseh, this sail clipper spent two years as a supply shop on Lake Erie before transferring to the original Penetanguishene Naval Establishment for active duty on Lake Huron. Our modern replica was completed in 1995 to fulfill the role of flagship of Discovery Harbour Historic Sailing of Penetanguishene, Ontario. In 1994, HMS Tecumseh was reinstated as an honorary ship in the Royal Navy. This schooner is a faithful image of its 1815 namesake, reminiscent of days of Nelson and Englands "wooden walls". Enthusiasts for historic sail training programs can enroll aboard HMS Tecumseh.
- True North, also known as The Unicorn, was originally built as a Dutch motor fishing vessel in 1947 for the North Atlantic (Icelandic) fishing grounds. However, her lines disclose an earlier generation of sail loggers. Now a training vessel for youth sail courses and as a charter seacraft, True North has been repaired, renamed, and relocated in 1997 to participate in Tall Ships events, sail training and charter cruises.
- Windy is the first four-masted schooner built in the United States since 1921. Completed in 1996, it takes after Chicago, the "Windy City". Sail training programs aboard the Windy focus on maritime heritage and nautical science, individually designed for groups up to 150 (day cruises) and 26 (overnight). Scouts, seniors, church groups, schools, corporations, and other entities can enroll for private charter programs adapted to suit their needs.
- USCG Acacia is a Coast Guard Cutter, known as one of the 28, 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders built for the U.S. Coast Guard between 1942 and 1944. Named after its predecessor which was sunk by a German U-Boat off the British West Indies on March 17, 1942. USCG Acacia has been assigned to the Great Lakes since it was commissioned on September 1, 1944.
- USCG Mackinaw, at a cost of 10 million dollars, this schooner is the largest Coast Guard vessel to sail the waters of the Great Lakes since it was built in Toledo, Ohio in 1944. On December 1944, Mackinaw was built to support the World War II effort to increase the tonnage of raw materials shipped and to maintain vital seafaring trade on the Great Lakes during the winter. Since December 1944, Mackinaw has been headquartered in Cheboygan, Michigan.
Tall Ships Chicago 1998 highlights vessel prototypes for these models: Two-Masted Schooner, Brigantine, Topsail Schooner, Full-Rigged Ship, Barquentine, Three-Masted Schooner, Brig.
The Tall Ships Open House Exhibit in the Windy City coincides with the 100th sailing of the worlds oldest freshwater yacht race comprising of more than 300 boats manned by more than 3,000 sailors. The Mackinaw Race starts from Chicago, Illinois, two miles East of the Monroe Harbor, to the finish line on Mackinaw Island, in Michigan usually sets off starts at noon on July 18 and continues at 15-minute intervals until 2:30pm. For all seafaring enthusiasts, vessels will be berthed at Navy Pier and the Chicago Yacht Club. The starting line is two miles East of the Monroe Harbor in Lake Michigan, Illinois.
Gardenia C. Hung can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org