2011 Winter Sail Training

2011 Niagara Winter Sail Training Syllabus and Schedule

So the schedule and syllabus for this winter’s sail training is ready to go.  This is a great opportunity for everyone that stares at pictures of Niagara all over town thinking how much fun it would be to sail and work on that ship.  Our goal is to train new volunteers to help us sail the ship during the coming sailing season for both day sails in Erie and in passage.  The Niagara volunteers are the only way that a ship like this can be taken care of to the high standard that she is.

The program starts with and orientation to the ship and the museum on either Saturday Jan 8th or Saturday Jan 15th at 0900.  The training classes start on Saturday Jan 22nd and run every other week until April 16th.  The classes start at 0830 and end at 1230. 

Our sail training program won the American Sail Training Association’s “Sail Training Program of the Year” for 2010 and we are lead by Captain Wesley Heerssen who is the American Sail Training Association’s “Sail Trainer of the Year” for 2010.

Come on down and be a part of it.

Last Chance for Essay Competition

The Flagship Niagara League, the Erie non-profit organization which supports the Flagship Niagara and the Erie Maritime Museum today announced an essay competition open to all Erie County area high school students. The competition, open to current 11th and 12th grade students from Erie County’s thirteen school districts and private schools, will ask students to reply to the following prompt: “Why Niagara Matters to Erie”. The winning student will receive a three week sailing passage on Niagara valued at $1,350. The five finalists will have their essays featured on the Flagship Niagara’s website and will receive complimentary passes for four people to the Erie Maritime Museum.

Students are asked to write an essay of approximately 500 words; single spaced with a 12 point font. They are to describe why they think that the Flagship Niagara is an important resource for Erie County and northwestern Pennsylvania. Writers are encouraged to learn more about the Niagara’s history and current goals by visiting the Flagship Niagara’s website at: http://www.flagshipniagara.org

The essays will be reviewed and judged by the Flagship Niagara League’s Education Committee. The contest will remain open until Friday, March 26th @ 5:00 p.m. EST. Essays are to be emailed to the following address: essay.flagshipniagara@yahoo.com
Judging will take place during late March and early April. The winner will be announced on: Friday, April 16th 2010.

The winner of the essay competition will have several three week windows to choose from during the 2010 sailing season (May-August).

Questions can be directed towards:
Mr. Bill Sutton, Executive Director
Flagship Niagara League
814-452-2744 x225





WHAT: The first Tall Ships festival in Erie, Pa., in a decade!

WHEN: Thurs., September 9 through Sunday, September 12, 2010

WHERE: Dobbins Landing and the Erie Maritime Museum

WHO: The Flagship Niagara League will host a four-day Tall Ships festival in partnership with the Erie County Historical Society’s one-day Heritage Festival.

WHY: The Flagship Niagara League seized an opportunity to bring this breathtaking festival, which is unique to the Great Lakes region, to the Erie Bayfront in the fall of 2010. People from the tri-state region and beyond will enjoy four days of bayside sailing enjoyment and help to raise funds for the Flagship Niagara League, which maintains and operates Pennsylvania’s Flagship, the U.S. Brig Niagara.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: TBA, but activities will include public day sails, a parade of sail, school tours, public tours, free Erie Maritime Museum tours, private receptions, craft and food vendors, and musical entertainment.

Look for updates at www.tallshipserie.com

Second Mate – Joe Lengieza

     I’ve posted here over a month ago that I would be providing information about the 2009 Crew.  I will start with the officers and work my way down the chain of command. 
Joe is the Second Mate.  He will be returning to the same position he was in last year.  He will also be returning to the Navigation/Communications duties he had last year.  Joe sailed in Niagara as a deckhand in years past.  His experience sailing as both an officer and deckhand on the ship will be a huge asset going into this season.   
 Joe is currently working on a Master’s degree in Underwater Archaeology and Maritime History at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.  He works as a graduate assistant at the Diving and Water Safety office on the research vessel fleet.  He is also working on a model of the Sutton Hoo burial vessel and researching the evolution of sailing mechanics theory so not only is he a good sailor he is also a scholar.joe-the-intellectual

Learn How To Worm, Parcel, and Serve! (20 Min. Video)

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.