The first class of Winter Sail Training 2010 will be Saturday, Jan 30th. There are 35 people that will be taking part in the training including 26 people that signed up last Sat. during the Volunteer Orientation. The day was a great success. Between the new volunteers and our regular group that comes down we have around 60 people here. These are the kind of numbers we want to see every weekend from now on. Thank you all who came down. We were able to get a lot of work down very quickly with that kind of workforce and we were on TV.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This Saturday will be the start of this years Winter Sail Training beginning with a new volunteer Orientation. If you or anyone else is interested in joining out volunteer crowd come on down.
This is the advertisement that is going out on other websites and blogs.
If you’re age 16 or over, and interested in preserving history, sailing, or the great outdoors, then the US Brig Niagara, www.flagshipniagara.org, needs you! As the 2010 summer sailing season approaches, Erie residents and anyone from the tri-state area are invited to attend an orientation for new volunteers at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16th, 2010 at the Erie Maritime Museum, 150 East Front St, Erie, PA.
|Our course will focus on the fundamentals of square-rig seamanship and the volunteers will directly apply those skills in fitting-out the ship for sailing in May|
New volunteers may sign up to join our well-trained volunteer crew to help maintain and learn to sail the ship. Niagara volunteers form an invaluable part of the ship’s sailing crew each summer. They receive sail training during the winter and provide continuity from year to year, which helps whenever new volunteers and trainees join the ship.
“During the dark winter months, Niagara is an upbeat place where volunteers can come to find a special camaraderie with shipmates that stems from their mutual pride in caring for the ship. Niagara is a famous icon of Erie, with a story of great national significance. Her preservation and operation go hand-in-hand with the proper interpretation of her history. Has there ever been a more important time to consider the significance of our history and decide to preserve such a tremendous educational tool as Niagara?” said Captain Wesley Heerssen.
New volunteers are invited to attend a sail training course (at no cost), which includes hands-on training in the museum’s rigging loft, and on the full-scale indoor model of Niagara’s Topgallant mast. The course begins with the orientation on January 16th and continues on alternate Saturdays through April 24th.
While the course is free, the Niagara relies on volunteer service to maintain the ship. Volunteers are invited and encouraged to help sail Niagara in the summer months as their availability permits. “Our course will focus on the fundamentals of square-rig seamanship and the volunteers will directly apply those skills in fitting-out the ship for sailing in May,” said Captain Heerssen.
Sign up for Orientation no later than Thursday, January 14th by calling Julie Wagner in the Erie Maritime Museum office at 814-452-BRIG, extension 222.
Yesterday was the beginning of a collaboration with BCMS. The shipwright Bob Arlet gave a demonstration to 15 Erie School District high school students on how to steam bend frames for a boat. The t’gallant yards were then shouldered and brought over to the Bayfront Center by the students. The ship’s professional crew will be working with the Erie School District High School students starting tomorrow. Our goal is to dress the yards completely from sanding and varnishing to bending on the sails and all the work will be done by the students. We are all very excited to be working with the Bayfront Center on this project. This is a good opportunity for these students to see another aspect of the maritime world here in Erie. I hope that this is just the first of many collaborations between our organizations to utilise the wonderful waterfront maritime campus that we share.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
So the schedule has been put together as best we can this far in advance. We wanted to get this out there as soon as possible so people start making plans now. There is always a chance that the schedule will change and we will contact anyone who is affected by the change if you have signed up for a particular passage. As soon as we have determined what the TBD(To Be Determined) sections will be I will update the schedule with a new post.
I encourage all of you to sign up to be a trainee for passages soon. This is a big season for us with many great passages to make and thousands of miles to sail on all 5 Great Lakes. We are also going to be a part of the Tall Ships Challenge Race Series with ASTA racing against many other tall ships. With ports stops of Duluth, Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, Green Bay and Put in Bay it’s sure to be a fun summer and quite the adventure. Trainees will start joining the ship once we start uprig and will leave once downrig is complete. Let’s fill the ship this summer!
Who wants to go sailing?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 11 so far )
While working at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston as the Assistant Registrar Rocky started volunteering on the Barque Elissa which is a iron barque in Galveston, Texas. Elissa is also where Captain Heerssen got his start in tall ships. Rocky spent the next 10 years with Elissa volunteering making it up to the rank of Mast Captain. Rocky also spent the 2000 summer sailing in Niagara for Niagara’s last East Coast voyage.
In January of 2005 Rocky retired from the world of Academia, gave up her life ashore and went to sea starting out on the schooner Sultana as a deckhand during the 2005 season. By 2006 Rocky came back to Niagara as an AB and stayed for the 2007 season as well. Throughout the rest of 2007 and all of 2008 and part of 2009 she has been working for Sea Education Association as Third Mate with which she will continue with next winter.
I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Rocky for 2 seasons in Niagara. During the 2007 season she was my AB. Throughout that entire summer Rocky was ,well, my rock. Her dedication to not only the ship and her shipmates but to her new-found profession makes her extremely valuable. Her passion for sailing and sail training inspires all who work with her or for her. She makes everyone’s job easier and her presence is calming to all on board.
Rocky is a very patient and caring teacher. She will work with you until you have fully figured something out and can go forth and do the task with confidence. All trainees and crew will find in Rocky a confidant and a role model.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
When I was 3 years old I picked out what became the best friend a boy could ever have. He was a Golden Retriever who was my closest friend and companion until I was in High School. I named this dog Goldie(I was 3). I tell all of you this only so you can know the standards that our Goldie had to live up to in order to be called a name that I hold in such high regard. So far he has not let me down.
Goldie is from Rochester, NY and grew up on Lake Ontario. By the age of 4 months he had sailed across Lake Ontario on his parents boat. While growing up he spent many summer cruising Lake Ontario. Goldie also spent time in England as a sailing instructor while he and his family were living in London. While in the Boy Scouts Goldie reached the level of Eagle Scout with a Lake Ontario based final service project.
In 2003 Goldie started his career in tall ships on the schooner Victory Chimes. This is the largest of all the Maine Windjammers sailing in the Penobscot Bay fleet. Goldie also spent time sailing with South Street Seaport on Lettie G. Howard and a couple years with Ocean Classroom on the their 3 vessels. He holds a 100 ton Near Coastal Master’s USCG License and an AB Special MMD.
Because of a prior commitment Goldie was not able to join the ship until the beginning of June. We then very soon after left for Toronto which was one of our hardest passages of the summer. We were already by then a very close knit crew but Goldie had no trouble at all fitting into the mix due to his positive attitude and his infectious laugh. Goldie’s laugh will most likely be heard by most of the ship’s company and usually they will end up joining in whether or not they know what the joke was.
Goldie’s positive attitude and selfless dedication to the ship and the crew have made him an extremely valueable member of this crew both during the sailing season and the winter. Goldie’s presence this winter has been instrumental in keeping such a strong volunteer core. Rob and I could not have done it without him. Trainees will enjoy working with Goldie again this summer.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Rob started sailing on tall ships at Tabor Academy on the schooner SSV Tabor Boy. This is also where he and I met while we both students at Tabor. By the time Rob left the SSV Tabor Boy he had risen to the rank of XO which the equivalent of Chief Mate at the ripe old age of 17. He also implemented a formal sail training program on the schooner as a senior project. This sail training program is something I used later as a tool to help create my own sail training program at Maine Maritime Academy. He spent his college years at Hobart College racing dinghies and getting a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate in geology but luckily for us he came back to tall ships after graduation.
Rob came to Niagara as an AB but as the Boatswain berth opened up he was the obvious candidate. Rob will now be entering his first full season as Boatswain and second season on the ship. His tireless work over this winter will be quite apparent to anyone who steps aboard. The ship looks better now than I have seen it and that is in large part due to the work Rob has accomplished.
Rob’s teaching background and calm demeanor will give the trainees this summer comfort in learning the miriad of things they will need to know in a very short period of time. Rob always has a smile on his face and anyone who gets the opportunity to sail with him will usually have that same smile as well.
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In 2009, the US Brig Niagara will be sailing out of her home port in Erie, Pennsylvania on several voyages to exciting destinations on the Great Lakes! We will also be flying the flag at home quite a bit in 2009, so the summer schedule promises to display the ship and interpret her history to as many people as possible, and to draw crowds to Erie as well as in other ports.
In 2008, the daysail program proved to be overwhelmingly popular. Therefore, in 2009 we are increasing the number of daysails available to the public to 26 daysails in Erie, PA.
In 2009, The Niagara Daysail Program will be available on Friday evenings, Saturday evenings, and Sundays during the day. While the days are longest in June and July, the ship’s daysail schedule allows slightly later evening sails in June and July than in August and September. Be sure to review the schedule carefully to be certain of daysail dates and times when registering for a daysail or planning a visit to tour the ship and museum.
Student registration in the 2009 Daysail Program (Saturday and Sunday daysails only) will begin on Monday, November 17, 2008 for Flagship Niagara League members only. Daysail registration for the general public begins on December 17th. FNL Members are given the benefit of early opportunity to register for the daysail program. If you’d like to become a member of the Flagship Niagara League, you can find out how on our website at www.brigniagara.org
The Flagship Niagara League and Erie Maritime Museum are proud to announce a new Corporate Team Building Program designed to improve inter-office camaraderie, communications, and teamwork. This exciting new program was systematicly designed through the implementation of several pilot programs offered over the last two sailing seasons. All nine Friday evening daysails are currently reserved for corporate use until promotion of this new program is fully implemented. For questions about this new program, please contact Capt. Wesley Heerssen, (814) 452-2744, x218. We anticipate beginning to accept public registration for specific Friday evening daysails (not booked for corporate use) after February 12, 2009.
The passages next summer are what the crew thrive on. Trainees in the live-aboard Seamanship Training Program are sure to get a thrill out of the scheduled passages between Erie and other Great Lakes ports! If you’ve never sailed throughout the night, steering and holding the ship to her course by little more than the binnacle light and moonlight… or if you’ve never climbed aloft to make sail changes during the mid-watch…then my friends, you haven’t lived! It’s an empowering experience you’ll never forget.
This summer we will be making a passage to Montreal. This will be the first time in 9 years for Niagara to be in Montreal. We will have the opportunity to transit the Thousand Island Region as well as the St. Lawrence Seaway. We will also be adding a stop in Oswego, NY on our way back from Montreal before stopping in Port Colbourne, ON for Canal Days.
We’ll also be making two visits to historic Put-In-Bay, OH, in the islands at the West end of Lake Erie, where Niagara’s famous Battle of Lake Erie occurred. Put-In-Bay is much more than the party island most folks from the Great Lakes region hear about. Between the parks, the historic homes & buildings, the vineyards, the beaches, the caves & more, there is no shortage of things to do in Put-In-Bay. Moreover, it is a place held dear in the hearts of everyone who’s ever sailed onboard Niagara. Put-In-Bay is the ship’s home away from home and the two trips there will each offer a most unique perspective of Niagara and Put-In-Bay’s common history.
I’ll post more details about these fantastic ports later, but for now I’ll offer this… While in Put-In-Bay we are planning on conducting several daysails. At this time we are still working on the plan for implementing the daysails, registration process, etc… So stay tuned to the Ship’s Log for details on how to sign up to sail onboard while we’re in Put-In-Bay.
In August, the ship will be sailing to Port Colbourne, Ontario at the southwestern end of the Wellend Canal to help celebrate their annual Canal Days festival. Port Colbourne is a beautiful town at the downstream end of Lake Erie, about 75 miles upstream of Lake Ontario. Ships can go from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario by either of two means…via the Welland Canal or over the famous Niagara Falls. Personally, I prefer the former. It’s likely to be an exciting August passage, involving numerous sail changes dodging summer squalls to stay in the calmer waters. The ship will probably pass in view of Long Point lighthouse on our way between the ports of Erie and Port Colbourne. This passage will be particularly meaningful for anyone who lives in Erie, Buffalo, or Port Colbourne because the three communities share present as well as historical ties across the Niagara penninsula.
Trainees are free to sign up now for any length of time between two and four weeks. We generally do not accept trainees for less than two weeks, and after four weeks, trainees are typically ready for the Apprenticeship Program. So if you want to join the big rigs, and sail on one of America’s last fully operational square-riggers, get planning now!
The 2009 summer sailing season is approaching fast, so if you want to sail on Niagara, choose the program that best fits you, your friends, or your company, and start planning now! Contact Julie Wagner at the Flagship Niagara League office as soon as possible to plan next summer’s adventure before the ship is fully booked! Julie can be reached by phone at (814) 452-2744, x221 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.orgRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The winter crew of the US Brig Niagara is busy right now making the new standing rigging (shrouds and stays) for the new foremast we are installing this winter! We’ll be booking trainee berths for next summer very soon, so stay tuned for updates!
Here is a 20 minute video on how a shroud is served with hemp marline. We are using a 4-strand, shroud-laid Kevlar cable. Yes, that’s right, we’re using Kevlar instead of Hemp or Wire Rope. Kevlar has superior strength, has stretch properties that are similar to the finest grade hemp, is of the same construction as hemp shroud laid rope, and is much lighter than wire rope. Many thanks to John Baker (our ship’s photographer) for producing this film. It shows as much detail on the topic as I could pack into a 20 minute instructional video.
I have seen many different ways to apply marline service to a cable. Many riggers have tried to speed up the process through the use of modern tools and techniques. I have seen riggers use pipe threading machines or drill motors to rotate the cable, while the rigger holds the serving mallet…WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! The mallet should be spun around the cable.
Modern methods are not really very much faster (if at all), but most importantly…why apply traditional service, if you don’t know how to do it in a traditional way? If you take the time to learn to do it right, and practice, practice, practice, you’ll get good enough to do it manually as fast or even faster than a home-made machine.
Finally, spool your marline onto the spool my hand, not with a drill or other machine. You’ll need the 5 minute break to rest. Don’t rush the process, and STAY FOCUSED ON THE TASK! Making a sailing ship’s rig with your bare hands, involves skills that (once honed) make evident the grace in a trade so efficient in its technical simplicity, repitition, and precision.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
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