Tall Ships Are Coming!® Tall Ships® Galveston Sets Sail For New Maritime Festival April 5-8, 2018

For the first time, a fleet of tall ships will sail and race their way along the Gulf Coast to participate in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Gulf Coast 2018 series of races and public maritime festivals. Kicking off this new event, Galveston Island will play host to the first stop of the 2018 challenge from April 5-8, 2018. Produced by Galveston Historical Foundation, in partnership with Tall Ships America, this family-friendly event will showcase Galveston’s rich maritime history through unique programming and the visiting tall ships. Tickets, ship information, and special event details are available at www.tallshipsgalveston.com.

“We are pleased to welcome some of the most beautiful tall ships in the world to our port for the Tall Ship Challenge in 2018,” explains Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. “This first-time event for the Gulf Coast will bring the world of sailing historic vessels to Galveston Island. It’s a rare opportunity to step aboard a historic tall ship and learn about our maritime history.”

While in port, the ships will be open to the public for viewing, and many will feature dockside exhibits and lively interactions with crew. Each ship has its own educational program and mission, providing the public with a wide array of ways to participate and sail. In addition to touring the ships, visitors will also have the opportunity to embark on the ships for exhibition sails during the festival. Between each of the ports, the ships will race to the next event.

TALL SHIPS® GALVESTON will welcome visiting ships with an exciting Parade of Sail down Seawall Boulevard on the afternoon of Thursday, April 5. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for ship tours (onboard tours available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), live music, vendors, and more. Festival tickets are $10 admission or $20 admission + onboard tours for adults, $5 or $10 for youth ages 7-12 and free for children 6 and under. Tickets are discounted 10% through April 1, 2018.


ELISSA (1877) – Galveston Historical Foundation brought ELISSA, an 1877 square-rigged iron barque, from a scrap yard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978. By 1982, GHF staff and volunteers completed restoration and transformed this rare, historic vessel into a floating museum that would actively sail. Today, ELISSA is one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually. She also serves as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, a National Historic Landmark and a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s historic beginnings as a sea port and active waterfront.

LYNX (2001) – In 1997 Woodson K. Woods embarked on a journey to build a privateer inspired by the original historic tall ship from the War of 1812 – The Privateer Lynx. His goal was to create a living history museum to educate children and adults alike about American history through active sail training aboard a real wooden sailing ship. What went into Lynx was not just wood, rope, brass and canvas, it was something that goes far beyond history, ambition, inspiration, determination, and commitment. On July 28, 2001, in Rockport, Maine, Woods’ vision was realized. Past and present converged as Lynx was launched in a gala event ordaining a magnificent future on the high seas. The creation of Lynx embraces eternal truths: passion, sacrifice, perseverance, honor, and courage. Please note LYNX will be operating as a sail away vessel and not available for general tours.

OLIVER HAZARD PERRY (2015) – SSV OLIVER HAZARD PERRY is the largest civilian Sailing School Vessel in the United States and the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in the U.S. in over 100 years. The ship is named for US Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Perry led the first US naval victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie; War of 1812. Based out of Fort Adams, Newport Rhode Island, the ship features educational programs focused on growth with leadership development opportunities for students of all ages. Programming includes team building in the form of practical sail training as well as customizable leadership workshops. OLIVER HAZARD PERRY is 200 ft. in length with 7 miles of rope, 160 belaying pins, and 20 sails.

OOSTERSCHELDE (1918) – The three-masted topsail schooner OOSTERSCHELDE was built in 1918 as a sail-powered freighter. The vessel plied the European waters and was regularly seen off the coast of Morocco and on the Mediterranean Sea. In 1930 heavier and modern diesel engines were placed, and the rigging was reduced. From 1939 the vessel sailed under foreign flags and underwent a drastic conversion in 1950 into a modern coaster. In 1988, the OOSTERSCHELDE was brought back to the Netherlands. The Rotterdam Sailing Ship Foundation took charge of the fundraising necessary for the financing of the restoration of the vessel to its authentic condition. The OOSTERSCHELDE is now the only remaining representative of a large fleet op topsail schooners that used to sail under the Dutch flag at the beginning of the previous century. She is registered as a monument by the Dutch Ministry of Culture.

PICTON CASTLE (1928) – The PICTON CASTLE is registered in the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, and is owned and operated by the Windward Isles Sailing Ship Company, Ltd. The ship’s mission is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Her North American homeport is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The ship is a completely refitted barque that observes the rigorous standards of Germanischer Lloyds for steel-hulled Cape Horners. She is 179 feet overall, with a riveted steel hull, clear oiled-pine decks, steel masts, wooden and steel yards, and carries 12,450 square feet of canvas sail. The PICTON CASTLE is a true working tall ship. Sail trainees participate fully in the ship’s operation: handling sails, scrubbing the deck, taking a turn at the wheel, raising anchor, hauling on lines, helping in the galley, going aloft, and keeping lookout.

WHEN AND IF (1939) – When General George S. Patton commissioned one of America’s greatest designers to conceive him a boat to be built by F.F Pendleton of Wiscasset, Maine in 1939, he had the ultimate ambition in mind: When the war is over, and If I live through it, Bea and I are going to sail her around the world.” WHEN AND IF was a new idea: a yacht which would maintain all her classic beauty and hold her own in recreational racing while being sturdy, comfortable, safe and luxurious enough to take a family on the voyage of a lifetime. Early in 2012 Doug Hazlitt, well known in yachting circles, purchased the WHEN AND IF with plans to return the vessel to its original and Bristol condition. Following an extensive two year restoration, she is back in all her glory and ready for you to come and sail her away! Please note WHEN AND IF will be operating as a sail away vessel and not available for general tours.


Ready to feel the wind in your face on open water? Guests to the 2018 TALL SHIPS® GALVESTON will be able to do more than just walk across the decks of visiting ships! A select group of participating ships will be available as sail away vessels. The Privateer LYNX and WHEN AND IF will both offer special sail tours through Galveston Bay throughout each day of the festival. Pricing and times for Parade of Sail, Daysail, and Twilight Tours are available online.


In addition to the festival, special events will be featured daily, giving guests unique opportunities to tour and interact with the visiting ships.

SALUTE TO SUNSET PARTY – Toast the ending of the day and beginning of the evening with tickets to our special Salute to Sunset party. Ticket holders will enjoy access to tour one of the participating tall ships after daytime tours conclude, complimentary craft beer, light hor d’oeuvres, and an unmatched setting at the Texas Seaport Museum. Tickets are $50 per person, do not include festival admission, are only good for the day of purchase and are available online.

CAPTAIN’S TABLE PLANKOWNER’S DINNER – Your presence is requested for an evening of drinks, food and more at our exclusive Captain’s Table night. Enjoy dining with the captains of our festival Tall Ships, live music, an exciting live auction featuring original works of art from regional artists, private access onboard one of our visiting Tall Ships, open bar and much more. Tickets are $250 per person and available online. Proceeds from this event go directly towards Galveston Historical Foundation’s 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, the official Tall Ship of Texas. ELISSA will be sailing from Galveston to Pensacola and New Orleans as part of the 2018 TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® as the Texas Gulf coast’s ambassador. Attire is nautical chic, and your reservations also include a Saturday pass for admission to the festival and onboard the ships during the day.

VIP FESTIVAL PACKAGES – The TALL SHIPS® GALVESTON VIP package is your best way to make sure you don’t miss any of the weekend’s incredible opportunities. Located on the festival grounds and steps away from the pier and our visiting ships, this package includes everything you need to make your weekend unforgettable! This package includes accommodations at the Harbor House Hotel & Marina at Pier 21 (two-night minimum required), daily festival admission and onboard tour tickets, two tickets to the Salute to Sunset party and complimentary parking. VIP tickets start at $800 for two and are available online.


Tall Ships America’s TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® is an annual series of Tall Ships® races and maritime port festivals that rotates on a three-year cycle between the Atlantic Coast, Great Lakes, Pacific Coast, and Gulf Coast. These events celebrate our rich maritime heritage and traditions, and inform the general public about the transformative power of Adventure and Education Under Sail®.

Coordinated by Tall Ships America in collaboration with local organizers, the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® fleet will be hosted at festivals in four ports of call: Galveston, Texas (April 5-8), Pensacola, Florida (April 12-15), New Orleans, Louisiana (April 19-22), and St. Petersburg, Florida (April 26-29).

“The member vessels of Tall Ships America help young people develop confidence, competency, and courage through the authentic challenges and adventures of seafaring,” said Tall Ships America Executive Director Bert Rogers. “The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series is a celebration of our maritime heritage.”

“Students and trainees will sail the ships the same way they were sailed in great Age of Sail” added Rogers. “These races follow long-distance courses on the open ocean; the ships sail without using engines, all to promote goodwill through friendly competition.”

For more information about Tall Ships America or to learn how to sign aboard a tall ship, visit www.tallshipsamerica.org or contact Lori Aguiar at lori@tallshipsamerica.org or 401-846- 1775.


Tall Ships America is the hub for tall ships activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by the United States Congress as the national sail training organization representing the United States. Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a 501c3 non-profit membership organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public and support education under sail.

Tall Ships America supports the people, ships and programs of sail training through professional development grants, sail training scholarships, conferences, education, publications, regulatory and licensing information, public events and advocacy.


Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life, and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.

For more information, please contact Will Wright, Director of Communications and Special Events at 409-765- 3404 or will.wright@galvestonhistory.org.

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