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Sailing on the Brig Niagara, a replica from the War of 1812.

June 21, 2009

Penny wanted to take her father out on an afternoon trip on the Brig Niagara because he likes sailing vessels.  At 84 years old, he gets around remarkably well, so rather than just tour the vessel at dock, we signed up as “Day Students” for a 6 hour cruise around Presque Isle, PA.

The ship is staffed by a few Professional sailors, as well as students that live on her for 2-3 weeks, or the entire sailing season.  Because this isn’t a passenger vessel, anyone that wants to go out on her does so as a “student”, which means that you can participate as much or as little as you want in the operations.

Only those with prior approval and training can go aloft, but there are still many tasks on deck that give you a good feel for what it’s like to have been to crew a vessel in the Golden Age of sail!

We got hit by some heavy down pours and wind, but the Captain avoided most of the T-Storm cells that were lurking around.  At one point, we had to go to anchor and drop all sails because things got a bit fierce, but being able to see and participate in this was a blast!!  Most of the time, the crew doesn’t get to drop anchor much, so it was cool to see the flurry of activity when making the ship ready for the expected squall!

After the storms passed, the ship was put through several maneuvers to demonstrate how to catch wind to isolate and move either the bow or stern around.  The angle on the yard arms was pretty cool to see!

Notice how the yard arm on the left (top)  is at a steep angle and pointed very acutely toward the bow (bottom) mast.

The funding to continue the history is in jeopardy due to the current economy, so support is important if you like this sort of thing.  We hope to do this again if it’s still available next season!

Visit their Brig Niagara website.

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