Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. It is the hub for tall ship activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by Congress as the Sail Training organization representing the United States in the international forum.

The tall ships return to Bay City this July!

Some of the ships include:


Vessel Type: Gaff Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Bay City, MI
Sparred Length: 85’
Draft: 9’ 9”
Beam: 18’ 5”
Rig height: 76’
Sail Area: 3,560 square feet
Power: 135 HP Diesel
Hull: Steel

The schooner Appledore IV is owned and operated by BaySail, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Bay City, Michigan. Tall ship adventures aboard Appledore IV further BaySail’s mission to “foster environmental stewardship of the Saginaw Bay watershed and the Great Lakes ecosystem and to provide personal development opportunities for learners of all ages through shipboard and land-based educational experiences.” Since its founding in 1998, more than 48,000 young people have experienced a BaySail education program.


Vessel Type: Gaff Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Bay City, MI
Sparred length: 65’
Draft: 8’
Beam: 14’
Rig Height: 63’ 6”
Sail Area: 1,444 square feet
Power: 90 HP Diesel
Hull: Steel


The schooner Appledore V is owned and operated by BaySail, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Bay City, Michigan. Appledore V was the fifth in a series of Appledore schooners commissioned by Herb and Doris Smith and launched in 1992. Traverse Tall Ship Company purchased Appledore V from the Smiths and sailed her under the name Westwind. BaySail acquired the ship in 2002 and changed her name back to Appledore V. She joins sister ship Appledore IV as an education and sail training vessel operating around the Great Lakes.

Bluenose II

Vessel Type: Gaff Schooner
Flag: Canada
Homeport: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Sparred Length: 143’
Draft: 16’ 3”
Beam: 27’
Rig Height: 125’
Sail Area: 11,000 square feet
Power: 2 x 330 HP
Hull: Wood

BLUENOSE II is an international sailing ambassador and is home ported in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The vessel’s main purpose is to promote tourism for Nova Scotia and make the ship available for short day cruises when in Nova Scotia. The mission is to promote the history and legacy of BLUENOSE & BLUENOSE II. To teach and promote seamanship and life skills in young Canadians.

BLUENOSE II is a replica of the original BLUENOSE, which was built in 1921 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Under Captain Angus Walters, she became famous as winner of the International Fishermen’s Series of schooner races from that date until the last race in 1938. BLUENOSE was featured on a Canadian postage stamp in 1928 and on the Canadian dime in 1937, where it can still be seen. The original BLUENOSE was lost in 1946 on a reef near Haiti.

BLUENOSE II, built in 1963, is owned by the Province of Nova Scotia. BLUENOSE II is operated and maintained by the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society, which also operates the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.


Vessel Type: 3-masted Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Milwaukee, WI
Sparred Length: 137’
Draft: 8’ 9”
Beam: 24’
Rig Height: 95’
Sail Area: 5,916 square feet
Power: 2 x 180 HP Diesels
Hull: Wood

Over 900 volunteers completed Discovery World’s tall ship, the Sailing Vessel Denis Sullivan. This replica of a Great Lakes schooner, and Flagship of Wisconsin, operates as a floating classroom and goodwill ambassador for the State of Wisconsin. From her homeport in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, the S/V Denis Sullivan offers educational day sails and private charters for people of all ages from May though September and is committed to re-establishing the historical, cultural and environmental bonds between the community and one of its most valuable resources.

She winters in Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean. Three hour LakeWater Expeditions and Dockside Discovery educational programs are offered for 5th through 12th graders. High school and college students can partake in five to 14-day Science Under Sail programs in the Great Lakes, Bahamas and Caribbean.


Vessel Type: Gaff Topsail Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Traverse City, MI
Sparred Length: 92’
Draft: 7’ 7”
Beam: 16’ 2”
Rig Height: 71’
Sail Area: 2,270 square feet

The MHA’s schooner Madeline is a reconstruction of a mid-19th century Great Lakes schooner and one of the State of Michigan’s official tall ships. She was built between 1985 and 1990 in Traverse City, Michigan by volunteer members of the non-profit group, the Maritime Heritage Alliance.

Her mission is to serve as a floating center for the interpretation of Great Lakes maritime history. She is open to visitors in her home port of Traverse City and travels to other Great Lakes ports under local sponsorship. Madeline‘s financial support comes entirely from people who are interested in preserving Great Lakes history. This includes MHA members and others around the Great Lakes who believe in what we are doing.


Vessel Type: Brig
Flag: USA
Homeport: Erie, PA
Sparred Length: 198’
Draft: 11’
Beam: 32’ 6”
Rig Height: 120’
Sail Area: 11,600 square feet
Power: 2×200 HP Diesels
Hull: Wood

The U.S. Brig Niagara is a two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel. In 1813, she had a crew of 155 men and boys who manned her sails, 18 carronades and two long guns. The crew was organized into two watch sections (port and starboard) for routine duties while underway. More experienced sailors were stationed aloft, while others under the direction of petty officers manned the rigging which controlled the sails from deck. In battle, men also manned the guns and carronades. Boys carried the black power charges from the magazine to the guns. Marines and soldiers were assigned to the fighting tops on the masts where they could fire their muskets on the enemy ships. Officers directed setting sails, firing cannon, and maneuvering the brig in response to orders from the captain.

The current Niagara, the third reconstruction of the original vessel, was launched in Erie in 1988, the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. Niagara sails the Great Lakes, preserving and interpreting the story of the Battle of Lake Erie, and acting as an ambassador in her capacity as the flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Vessel Type: Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Traverse City, MI
Sparred Length: 68’
Draft: 6’ 3”
Beam: 13’ 3”
Rig Height: 70’
Sail Area: 1,620 square feet
Power: Perkins Inboard Straight 6 Diesel
Hull: Steel

The schooner Perception, operated by Michigan Challenge Traditional Sail Training, is a 68-foot steel-hulled schooner built in New Zealand in 1985 from plans designed by the famous naval architect L. Francis Herreshoff in 1924. She is gaff-rigged, and her Sitka spruce masts stand 70 feet tall. She is fitted with teak woodwork throughout. The previous owner, a prominent east coast architect, sailed her from New Zealand to AustraliaBrazil, the Galapagos, the Caribbean, and Portugal.

In 2017 Michigan Challenge Traditional Sail Training purchased her to fulfill our mission of teaching traditional sailing methods to Gold Star Teens (children of fallen military heroes), children of deployed, wounded, or ill veterans, grieving youth, and veterans and their families. We intend to provide a memorable and life-changing experience to our clients absolutely tuition-free, with no financial burden upon their families. Those of us on the board know from experience that learning a new skill, being in the company of friends who understand and have had similar experiences, and being with nature on a quiet sailboat on a breezy summer day can have a tremendous effect on one’s state of mind and outlook on life. Youth who have experienced the death of a loved one at an early age live daily with a constant reminder of the tragedy that has affected their family and their world. An experience such as the one we offer gives them the opportunity to get away from that environment for a while. Being on a classic tall ship can transcend time and widen their world of experience. It is easier to see one’s part in the universe, rather than the narrow world of grief.

Picton Castle

Vessel Type: Barque
Flag: Cook Islands
Homeport: Port of Avatiu, Cook Islands
Sparred Length: 179’
Draft: 14’ 6”
Beam: 24’
Rig Height: 97’
Sail Area: 12,450 square feet
Power: 690 HP Diesel
Hull: Steel

The 284-ton Barque Picton Castle is a traditionally rigged and operated sail training ship based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada, but best known for her voyages around the world. Over the past 15 years, the ship has made five voyages around the world, one around the Atlantic Ocean, two trips to the Great Lakes and countless other jaunts up and down the coasts of the U.S. and Canada. Along the way we’ve introduced more than 1,000 people to the rewards of square-rigged sailing.

In 2006, Tall Ships America (then ASTA) named us Sail Training Program of the Year. In 2011, our skipper, Capt. Daniel Moreland, was named Sail Trainer of the Year by Sail Training International. In October 2012, the Picton Castle cast off on an all-new adventure, an 8-month exploration of the Pacific Ocean. Ports of call will include Grenada and Portobelo, Panama on the Atlantic Ocean, then after a transit of the famous Panama Canal it will be on to the Galapagos, Pitcairn Island, Mangareva, Tahiti, Bora Bora, the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga – to name just some of our stops! As a training ship all on board work, stand watch, and learn the ways of a square-rigged sailing ship. Workshops are conducted in wire and rope rigging, sail making, boat handling, navigation, and practical seamanship. The ship also delivers much-needed educational materials and other supplies to the remote islands she visits. She is outfitted to the highest standard with safety gear and equipment.


Vessel Type: Topsail schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Baltimore, MD
Sparred Length: 157’
Draft: 12’ 6”
Beam: 26’ 4”
Rig Height: 107’
Sail Area: 9,018 square feet
Power: 2 x 165 HP Caterpillar Diesels
Hull: Wood

Baltimore Clippers, sleek, fast and maneuverable vessels, gained fame as privateers during the War of 1812. Their success in capturing British merchant ships provoked the Royal Navy to attack Baltimore in 1814. Francis Scott Key, seeing the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry after the 25-hour British bombardment, was inspired to pen the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

One of the most successful privateers was Chasseur, launched from Fells Point. In a daring voyage to Great Britain, her captain declared a solo blockade of the British Isles. This caused the British Admiralty to call vessels back to the British Isles to protect their merchant ships. Chasseur captures or sank 17 vessels before returning home in 1815. Upon her arrival in Fells Point, she was greeted by cheering crowds and dubbed the “Pride of Baltimore.”

Pride of Baltimore II is a reconstruction of this early 19th-century Baltimore Clipper, as was her predecessor, Pride of Baltimore. For nearly four decades, these modern-day “prides” of Baltimore have promoted historical maritime education, fostered economic development and tourism, and represented the people of Maryland in ports throughout the world. Since her commissioning in 1988, Pride II has sailed 250,000 nautical miles and visited more than 200 ports in 40 countries.

NAO Santa Maria

Vessel Type: Square Rig
Flag: Spain
Homeport: Huelva, Spain
Sparred Length: 95’
Draft: 9’
Beam: 25’
Rig Height: 80’
Sail Area: 2,691 square feet
Power: 2 x 234 HP John Deere Diesels
Hull: Fiberglass covered by Iroko wood

The Nao Santa Maria is a replica of a 15th century square sail ship, built to celebrate Huelva’s 525th anniversary. This project embodies the goal of retracing history in an effort to promote the combination of heritage, tourism, and regional culture utilizing a vessel that was once the vehicle of these encounters between worlds centuries ago. The Nao Santa Maria serves as a traveling ambassador for the province of Huelva to all the Spanish, European, and American ports the ship visits.

St. Lawrence II

Vessel Type: Brigantine
Flag: Canada
Homeport: Kingston, Ontario
Sparred Length: 72’
Draft: 8’ 6”
Beam: 14’
Rig Height: 57’
Sail Area: 2,50 square feet
Power: 125 HP Caterpillar 3056
Hull: Steel

Brigantine Incorporated is a registered charity dedicated to empowering, connecting, and inspiring youth through the challenges of sailing a traditionally rigged ship. Through experiential learning and skills development we build confidence, strength, and leadership in our ship’s crew. The unique shipboard environment we provide forges friendships, teamwork, and a sense of responsibility to the community. Our sail training programs broaden horizons and inspire our youth to be a positive force in the world.

Brigantine Incorporated is also committed to preserving rare maritime skills and heritage, promoting respect for our natural environment, and providing the training and experience required to become an outstanding professional mariner.

The S.T.V. St. Lawrence II is a custom built sailing ship that serves as a platform for immersive outdoor adventure programs. The Ship was built by Kingston shipyards in 1953 to a design by Francis MacLachlan and Mike Eames. The ship was designed with a level of complexity built in which requires a high degree of teamwork.

Schedule (as of 2/17/19):


12:00 p.m.  Festival opens (note: no ship boarding permitted & limited activities available)
2:00–4:00 p.m.  Arrival of ships (approximately)
5:00–8:30 p.m.  Parks open for casual viewing; no deck tours
7:00–8:30 p.m.
8:00–11:00 p.m.  

FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2019

10:00 a.m.  Festival opens to the public; deck tours available
5:00 p.m.  Festival closes to the public. Ballads and Brews opens at “The Quarterdeck” in Vets Park
9:00—11:00 p.m.  Parks open for casual viewing; no deck tours
11:00 p.m.  Ballads and Brews closes at “The Quarterdeck” in Vets Park


10:00 a.m.  Festival opens to the public; deck tours available
5:00 p.m.  Festival closes to the public. Ballads and Brews opens at “The Quarterdeck” in Vets Park
9:00—11:00 p.m.  Parks open for casual viewing; no deck tours
7:00—9:00 p.m.  
11:00 p.m.  Ballads and Brews closes at “The Quarterdeck” in Vets Park

SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2019

10:00 a.m.  Festival opens to the public; deck tours available
5:00 p.m.  Festival closes to the public. Ballads and Brews opens at “The Quarterdeck” in Vets Park
9:00—11:00 p.m.  Parks open for casual viewing; no deck tours
7:30 p.m.  Ballads and Brews closes at “The Quarterdeck” in Vets Park

MONDAY, JULY 22, 2019

Ships depart on their own schedule

Musical acts:

Bocca Musica (Michigan)

Bocca Musica is an international, award winning, band based out of the Metro Detroit area. Known for their spicy and raucous sense of humor, they perform a wide range of genres from original pirate and bawdy tunes to Celtic and traditional sea shanties. No matter where Bocca goes or what they sing, one thing remains the same…their love of tight harmonies and making people laugh!

Roane (Michigan)

With a unique acoustic sound and intricate three part vocal harmonies, Roane specializes in Celtic, folk, and maritime music. Their repertoire consists of traditional Celtic melodies, American traditional favorites, and sea shanties with their own personal twist. Roane’s original compositions embrace the spirit of the storyteller. Pouring out heart-felt lyrics and melodies, their music embodies the soul of their Celtic ancestry, while adding their own modern harmonies and instrumentation.

Za Horyzontem (Poland)

Za Horyzontem is a Polish folk group whose songs tell stories about the sea from a female point of view. Their music is inspired by Irish folk music and they play their own original material. Since 2003 they have performed almost 500 concerts both in Poland and abroad. Colorful costumes and feminine charm create performances that are entertaining and engaging.



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