Tall Ships in Galveston

Elissa is an iron-hulled barque, which was built in 1877 and has since been restored and calls Galveston home.  I’ve visited her several times, and she’s a beautiful ship.  This weekend Elissa had some very nice company, as several tall ships came to Galveston as part of the Tall Ships Challenge.  So of course I had to go.

As luck would have it, a wet norther blew in Friday night, so Saturday was drizzling rain for the most of the day, and the temperature kept going down instead of up.  Despite the weather, there were a lot of people at the event, which is a good thing as maybe Galveston will host Tall Ships again.

We parked our vehicles at Texas A&M University on Pelican Island, and rode a water taxi across and down the harbor to the Tall Ships festival.  The pilots on the water taxi gave a good tour of the harbor during the 15-minute ride.  The view from the window of the water taxi shows a gloomy day, with light rain through most of the morning.

Despite the nasty weather, there were a lot of people at the event. Those people in the picture are standing in line to board the ships.  The ship in the background is the Oliver Hazard Perry, which is a fully rigged ship.  Details on the Oliver Hazard Perry and all the ships participating in the event are here:

Another long line, this time waiting to board Oostershelde, a three-masted schooner.

The Picton Castle is a steel-hulled barque, similar to Elissa, although Picton Castle  is about a half-century newer than Elissa.

Old meets new:  the bow of Elissa is on the right, the stern of Oostershelde on the left, and a Carnival cruise ship in the middle.

Another photo of Oliver Hazard Perry (and another long line of people).

After visiting the ships at the Seaport Museum for a while, we returned back to Texas A&M on Pelican Island.  By this time the rain had stopped for the most part, but it had gotten windy and cold.  Two visiting ships were berthed at Texas A&M; the Lynx, shown above, and When and If.  Both of these ships were giving day sails up and down the harbor, so I jumped at the chance to sail on Lynx.  The ship is a reproduction of a privateer used in the War of 1812.

When and If (above) was commissioned by General George Patton of World War II fame, who is said to have remarked that When the war is over, and If he should survive it, he and his wife intended to sail around the world.  Ironically, Patton would survive the war but be killed shortly afterwards in an auto accident.   With the strong breeze we had blowing, both Lynx and When and If were sailing under reduced canvas.

On board the Lynx under sail.  I’m looking at the boom on the foresail; the staysail ahead of that is boomed which I thought interesting.  The RIB tender hanging alongside was a little anachronistic, but necessary for safety reasons.  Under sail, Lynx seemed to be fast and maneuverable.

Since Lynx was a replica of a privateer, she had to have a cannon.  We fired a salute as Lynx passed the tall ships at Texas Seaport Museum.  Even the cannon had a lot of rigging!

The best way to view a tall ship is from another tall ship.  I’m peering through the rigging on Lynx looking at Elissa.  Elissa is not only the hometown ship, she was also the oldest ship at the event.

Meeting When and If on one bell.

Despite the crummy weather, I had a great time.  It was neat to see all the ships gathered together, and sailing on Lynx was a bucket list item.  I hope the event turned out well for Galveston, and they host Tall Ships again.


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