The year was 2020, and the world had gone mad. So what did sailors do? They used their determination, ingenuity and MacGyvering skills, and came up with creative ideas to keep their sails full. Galveston Historical Foundation and Tall Ships America have joined forces to present the ‘Tall Ships Throwdown’ — a week of virtual experiences surrounding several of the country’s historic vessels, culminating in Saturday’s ‘Tall Ship Throwdown Competition.’
The ships are coming together from across the country to present daily lectures and engage in good-natured competition, while raising awareness and funds for each vessel and its programs.
Participating ships include Pride of Baltimore II, EAGLE, American Pride, Exy Johnson, Alert, Irving Johnson, Spirit of Bermuda, Oliver Hazard Perry, 1877 Elissa, US Brig Niagara, Kalmar Nyckel and Sausalito’s Matthew Turner. Matthew Turner will participate in Friday’s sail-setting competition, on at noon, and crew will also conduct a tour and description of her hybrid regenerative propulsion system.
Then on Saturday the event heats up as the ships compete in the Creative Clash, Schooner Skirmish, Tall Ships Tussle, and Battle of the Barques.
The competition will be judged in three categories by an expert panel consisting of Rear Admiral James A. Watson IV (retired), director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Christina Hammock Koch, NASA astronaut; and Michael Rauworth, Tall Ships America president and board chair. You can imagine they will be tough and following rules to the letter!
- Timed Sail Set Race: Each vessel is allotted a certain number of crew (determined by vessel size and class) and must set and douse three sails, depending on the heat. The time recording will be judged by an expert panel and posted throughout the day. Best time wins – with points awarded for style!
- Creative: The ships that don’t have sails bent on or enough crew are getting creative. This will be something to watch!
- Crowd Favorite: Ships that collect the most donations over the week will be determined the crowd favorite (and will raise necessary funds to support operations).
Tall Ships America is a nonprofit educational organization focused on youth education, leadership development and the preservation of the maritime heritage of North America.
Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization established in 1954 as a nonprofit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County.