Posted by: yachtcrewsing | July 9, 2012

Tall Ships Newport

On the Newport waterfront conventionally inhabited by relatively new, expensive motor and sailing yachts, a place where the America’s Cup high performance boats raced a mere week ago, is a unique collection of old-style tall ships. Replicas and restorations of vessels that exemplified the golden age of sail, these ships arrived on Thursday as part of the Tall Ship Challenge.

Although they vary drastically in size, hull design, type of ship and original and current purpose, they all boast a dedication to the historic foundations of sailing.

The Peacemaker is a tubby but majestic barquentine which boasts stained-glass windows and an old-fashioned homely interior, a boat communally owned by a religious group. The Picton Castle is a barque vessel whose perpetual purpose is for sail training and exotic adventure tourism, where individuals can pay to accompany the boat around the world. The HMS Bounty is a replica of the eighteenth century British vessel, built for the 1962 film depicting the crew’s famed mutiny. The Pride of Baltimore is a lovingly created replica of a schooner heralding from the War of 1812.

All of these boats and more are participants in the annual Tall Ships Challenge, a two-part program of racing and tall ship education. Tourists may purchase tickets in order to look around the ships while marveling at acrobats climbing rigs and fiddlers entertaining on the decks. Guests are welcomed to examine the coils upon coils of rough lines, canvas sails and incredibly maintained woodwork; to look down into the (often) rudimentary galleys and sleeping quarters and to talk with the crew. Altogether, the experience provides an unparalleled notion of how men lived and sailed in the past, one which is equally delightful to the young and the old alike.

Jointly spending the day on these magnificent vessels and the beautiful yacht on which I am employed provides a fascinating contrast. It evokes the historic shift in the function of sailboats- from the warships and transportation of the tall ship era to the luxury and extravagant entertainment of yachts and race boats.


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