For the first time, a fleet of tall ships will sail and race their way along the Gulf Coast to participate in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Gulf Coast 2018 series with public maritime festivals held in each port. Kicking off this new event, Galveston Island will play host to the 2018 challenge from April 5-8, 2018.
While in port, the ships will be open to the public for viewing and sail away opportunities, and many will feature dockside exhibits and lively interactions with the crew. Each ship has its own educational program and mission, providing the public with a wide array of ways to participate and sail.
BUILT: 1877 – Abdereen, Scotland
HOMEPORT: Galveston, TX
SAIL AREA: 12,000 sq. feet
THE OFFICIAL TALL SHIP OF TEXAS
Galveston Historical Foundation brought ELISSA, an 1877 square-rigged iron barque, from a scrap yard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978. By 1982, GHF staff and volunteers completed restoration and transformed this rare, historic vessel into a floating museum that would actively sail. Today, ELISSA is one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually. She also serves as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, a National Historic Landmark and a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s historic beginnings as a seaport and active waterfront.
BUILT: 2001 – Rockport, ME
HOMEPORT: Portsmouth, NH
SAIL AREA: 4,669 sq. feet
AMERICA’S PRIVATEER LYNX
In 1997, Woodson K. Woods embarked on a journey to build a privateer inspired by the original historic tall ship from the War of 1812 – The Privateer Lynx. His goal was to create a living history museum to educate children and adults alike about American history through active sail training aboard a real wooden sailing ship. What went into Lynx was not just wood, rope, brass and canvas, it was something that goes far beyond history, ambition, inspiration, determination, and commitment. On July 28, 2001, in Rockport, Maine, Woods’ vision was realized. Past and present converged as Lynx was launched in a gala event ordaining a magnificent future on the high seas. The creation of Lynx embraces eternal truths: passion, sacrifice, perseverance, honor, and courage.
BUILT: 2015 – Canada / Rhode Island
HOMEPORT: Newport, RI
SAIL AREA: 14,000 sq. feet
RHODE ISLAND’S OFFICIAL SAILING SCHOOL VESSEL
SSV OLIVER HAZARD PERRY is the largest civilian Sailing School Vessel in the United States and the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in the U.S. in over 100 years. The ship is named for US Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Perry led the first US naval victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie; War of 1812. Based out of Fort Adams, Newport Rhode Island, the ship features educational programs focused on growth with leadership development opportunities for students of all ages. Programming includes team building in the form of practical sail training as well as customizable leadership workshops. OLIVER HAZARD PERRY is 200 ft. in length with 7 miles of rope, 160 belaying pins, and 20 sails.
BUILT: 1918 – Rotterdam, NL
HOMEPORT: Rotterdam, NL
SAIL AREA: 9,950 sq. feet
The three-masted topsail schooner OOSTERSCHELDE was built in 1918 as a sail-powered freighter. The vessel plied the European waters and was regularly seen off the coast of Morocco and on the Mediterranean Sea. In 1930, heavier and modern diesel engines were placed and the rigging was reduced. From 1939 the vessel sailed under foreign flags and underwent a drastic conversion in 1950 into a modern coaster. In 1988, the OOSTERSCHELDE was brought back to the Netherlands. The Rotterdam Sailing Ship Foundation took charge of the fundraising necessary for the financing of the restoration of the vessel to its authentic condition. The OOSTERSCHELDE is now the only remaining representative of a large fleet op topsail schooners that used to sail under the Dutch flag at the beginning of the previous century. She is registered as a monument by the Dutch Ministry of Culture.
BUILT: 1928 – Wales, UK
HOMEPORT: Avatiu, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
SAIL AREA: 12,450 sq. feet
HULL: Riveted Steel
“THE LIBERATOR OF NORWAY”
The PICTON CASTLE is registered in the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, and is owned and operated by the Windward Isles Sailing Ship Company, Ltd. The ship’s mission is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Her North American homeport is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The ship is a completely refitted barque that observes the rigorous standards of Germanischer Lloyds for steel-hulled Cape Horners. She is 179 feet overall, with a riveted steel hull, clear oiled-pine decks, steel masts, wooden and steelyards, and carries 12,450 square feet of canvas sail. The PICTON CASTLE is a true working tall ship. Sail trainees participate fully in the ship’s operation: handling sails, scrubbing the deck, taking a turn at the wheel, raising anchor, hauling on lines, helping in the galley, going aloft, and keeping lookout.
BUILT: 1939 – Wiscasset, ME
HOMEPORT: New York, NY
SAIL AREA: 2,400 sq. feet
GENERAL PATTON’S SCHOONER
When General George S. Patton commissioned one of America’s greatest designers to conceive him a boat to be built by F.F Pendleton of Wiscasset, Maine in 1939, he had the ultimate ambition in mind: “When the war is over, and If I live through it, Bea and I are going to sail her around the world.” WHEN AND IF was a new idea: a yacht which would maintain all her classic beauty and hold her own in recreational racing whilst being sturdy, comfortable, safe and luxurious enough to take a family on the voyage of a lifetime. Early in 2012, Doug Hazlitt, well known in yachting circles, purchased the WHEN AND IF with plans to return the vessel to its original and Bristol condition. Following an extensive 2 year restoration, she is back in all her glory and ready for you to come and sail her away!
Tickets are non-refundable. The festival is open rain or shine. GHF is not responsible for independent transactions between visitors and vendors. We are committed to making the event special needs accessible. If we can assist with arrangements, please contact us at 409-765-7834 in advance of your visit. Open carry firearms, pets and ice chests are not allowed.
Scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, skates, Segways and other recreational “wheels” are forbidden. Guests bringing in costume weapons and props must have them secured and will be asked to go through additional screening.