Fresh Water Fun: Tall Ships Sail into Great Lakes

tall ships challenge

What does a trans-Atlantic journey, a giant rubber duck, and Erie Insurance all have in common? They’re all part of the 2016 Tall Ships Challenge, taking place now throughout the Great Lakes.

The Norwegian vessel the Draken Harald Hårfagre and Spanish vessel El Galeon Andalucia embarked upon the trans-Atlantic journey from Europe to North America. The giant rubber duck is actually the World’s Largest Duck, and her name is Mama Duck.

And Erie Insurance is the proud Official Race Sponsor of the Tall Ships Challenge. The Tall Ships Challenge is a shining example of honoring the past and celebrating the future among international friends. Erie Insurance is proud to support this meaningful display of dignity and respect among the Great Lakes and international communities. In a way, it's a continuation of the long history between insurance and ships.

In addition to Norway and Spain, Canada and the United States also have sailing vessels. Here are some more interesting stats:

  • 18: total number of vessels participating in Tall Ships Challenge (which varies from port to port).
  • 350: number of crew members working on those vessels (and on top of that, there are “crew exchanges” where someone will arrive at a particular port and relieve another crew member who has already been sailing for an extended time).

  • 8: amount of official host ports participating in the Tall Ships Challenge.

  • 10: the number of high school students in Erie County who Erie Insurance awarded scholarships to participate in a two-week sail training program aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara. (See their video tour of the U.S. Brig Niagara below!)

Erie Insurance has a personal affinity to one tall ship in particular – the U.S. Brig Niagara. The company is headquartered in Erie, Pa., the same port town that has a rich history in ship building that includes building the Niagara. The ship served as the relief vessel for Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. This summer, the Erie Insurance flag will fly from its masts next to the iconic “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag for the Tall Ships series.

For more information about the Tall Ships Challenge and local festivals, visit the official website. You can also follow the ships with this vessel tracker.

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