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Replica Spanish Galeon Andalucia will sail into Bay City with the Tall Ships this summer.

TALL SHIPS, AHOY: Excitement Building for July 14-18 Event Here

March 7, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Bay City will enter the Tall Ship big time this summer.

The Saginaw River, where about 900 ships were built from 1787 until the closing of Defoe Shipbuilding in 1977, is preparing to harken back to the clipper ship era again.

Vessels have been calling here for 350 years since Jesuit Missionary Father Henri Nouvel came into the Saginaw River by canoe in the winter of 1675 en route to an Indian camp near today's Tridge in Midland.

A replica Spanish galleon will join the fleet of Tall Ships slated to stop here.

Newcomers to the festival include the Spanish galleon El Galeón Andalucia, a 170-foot wooden replica of the 16th-century galleons that Spain sent to explore Florida and the West Indies; Draken Harald Hårfagre from Norway, a 115-foot replica of a Viking longboat; and When and If, a 63-foot schooner built in 1939 for Gen. George S. Patton.
Returning ships include the 198-foot U.S. Brig Niagara, a replica of an 1812 warship from Erie, Pa.; the Pride of Baltimore II, a 157-foot reproduction of an 1812 topsail clipper from Baltimore; and the Mist of Avalon, an 83-foot schooner from Canada's Maritimes provinces.

From the Great Lakes, ships include Chicago's Windy, Milwaukee's Denis Sullivan, Traverse City's Madeline and Bay City's Appledore IV.

It will mark the sixth time the Tall Ships will have visited the Port of Bay City on the Saginaw River.

Erin Short, Tall Ships Challenge manager for Tall Ships America in Newport, Rhode Island, said people will start seeing the tall ships cruising the St. Clair River about two to three days before the event in Bay City July 14-18.

Besides stopping at Bay City, the tall ships will be at Toronto July 1-3; Fairport, Ohio, July 8-10; the Navy Pier in Chicago July 27-31; Green Bay, Wisconsin, Aug. 5-7; Duluth, Minnesota, Sept. 17-18; Erie, Pennsylvania, Sept. 8-11; and Brockville, Ontario, Sept. 16-18.

"We're going to have one race in each of the Great Lakes," Short said.

Dow Corning Corp. has signed on to be the "Presenting Port Sponsor" for the 2016 Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City.

Dow Corning has been a major sponsor of the Tall Ship Celebration since 2006 and has been Port Sponsor since 2010. The silicon technology leader recently opened a new facility in Bay City's Uptown development along the Saginaw River.

"We are pleased to support this signature event that honors Bay City's majestic maritime history," said Kristy Folkwein, Dow Corning senior vice president and chief information officer, global business services. "Our new Dow Corning Business Services Center will offer a beautiful backdrop to the tall ships in the Saginaw River. And, it allows us to shine a light on the exciting revitalization of the waterfront in the Uptown development area."

Folkwein, Dow Corning's corporate officer located at the Uptown site, added, "We are committed to seeing this region grow and attract other businesses from around the state and beyond. Tall Ship Celebration, along with other arts and entertainment events, is a major attraction for visitors as well as our 300 employees and potential employees. As Bay City prepares to welcome sailing ships from around the world, we are proud to offer our continued support of the award-winning maritime festival."

Shirley Roberts, Tall Ship Celebration event coordinator, said organizers are pleased to welcome Dow Corning back as Presenting Port Sponsor.

"We have developed a great partnership with Dow Corning and we share a common interest in producing a first-class event featuring family-oriented entertainment that attracts positive attention to our region," Roberts said.

Bay City has produced Tall Ship Celebrations in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2013. Tall Ship Celebration won the coveted "Port of the Year Award" from Tall Ships America for its 2013 maritime festival, the third time the event has received the designation. No other Great Lakes port has received the honor more than Bay City.

"Port of the Year" guarantees the community's place in the Tall Ships Challenge series of races and rallies that will return to the Great Lakes in 2016. Other host ports anticipated to participate are Toronto, Cleveland, Chicago, Green Bay, Duluth, and Erie.

For more information about Tall Ship Celebration, contact Roberts by phone at (989) 895-5193, by email at or visit the organization's website at

The Tall Ships Challenge is a race of tall ships across major bodies of water that spans port cities all the way from Minnesota to Ontario.

Three years ago Bay City's Tall Ship Celebration brought over 75,000 visitors to the Great Lakes Bay Region for four full days of maritime magic, according to a Pure Michigan news report that continued:

"And as 2013's Port of the Year, Bay City will once again have the honor of being a host port when the Tall Ships Challenge returns July 14-18, 2016.

"So what can you expect when the Tall Ships make their voyage back to Bay City in 2016? Watching the majestic ships dock on the waterfront of the Saginaw Bay in Downtown Bay City. Touring their decks and cabins. Meeting their fearless crews. Even kicking back to enjoy Michigan craft brews and maritime and folk music at the annual Ballads & Brews event.

"Thankfully, you don't have to wait until 2016 to start enjoying the waterways of the Great Lakes Bay. That's because Bay City and the entire Great Lakes Bay Region are packed with waterfront recreation throughout the seasons. Bay City's own Appledore Tall Ships celebrates amazing sailing experiences every year, not just during the Tall Ship Celebration.

"In fact, you can hop aboard the Appledore IV or Appledore V schooners for all sorts of sails throughout the season, including BBQ and Gourmet Dinner Sails, complete with live, onboard maritime music, and Stargazer and Moonlight Sails. The Appledore schooners even raise their sails into autumn to offer the color tour of a lifetime a two hour upriver cruise complete with hot cider, chili, cornbread, and cozy quilts to keep you snug while you spot the beautiful fall hues. Check out the seasonal sailing schedule and set sail.

"Still searching for more waterfront ways to kick off your travels this season? Bay City is also home to Bay City Boat Lines, which offers public tours and cruises as well as private charter services aboard Princess Wenonah and The Islander."

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Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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