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Posted: September 11th, 2010
Day sail for the Parade of Sail

A day aboard the Brig Niagara is not an experience one is bound to forget.

Yesterday, I took half a day sail with the Niagara crew and a collection of local and international members of the media to inspect the lake before the Parade of Sail. The weather started to change from a friendly fall to a frightfully frigid once we got moving. But did I have a good time? Hands down, 100% yes.

Never mind that the wind was rough. Forget that the waves were larger than I or the crew had seen on Lake Erie. Who cares that I ended up looking like the Blair Witch Project in my video blogs (which you can see in the player to the right) because of all the warm layers I had to put on?

I had a blast.

I got to talk to the crew, each one important to the proper and efficient running of the ship, from the 1st mate to the ship’s cook. In order to hoist or unfurl the sails, a ship needs an entire line of individuals pulling in time together. To the untrained eye, a ship’s rigging is a tangled web of lines. Utilized correctly these lines can help move a ship forward against harsh wind.

We definitely moved around the lake yesterday, as much as the lake moved us around.  Several of the crewmembers had to take time out below deck with upset stomachs because of the rough waves. Thankfully, one crewmember passed out pieces of ginger, which naturally settles a stomach, to those on board to make sure the rest of us stayed shipshape.

Watching the crowds gathered for the Parade of Sail onboard was such a unique experience, made even more special when we were greeted by the Erie community as we sailed back through the bay. Seeing people gathered in less-than-hospitable weather from Perry Monument to the Bayfront Convention Center was unbelievable. See if you can see your friends in our Parade of Sail photo galleries, capturing those gathered to watch the ships.

Valerie and friends aboard the Unicorn

Valerie and friends aboard the Unicorn

After the sail, the crew hurried with their chores aboard the Niagara so they could attend the crew after party with the rest of the Tall Ships. I headed over to the Unicorn to see the troop of five Erie women who participated in a training sail from Macinaw Island. They stood by the ship’s side, laughing together, looking thrilled at the experience they just had.  Read Valerie Weaver’s on-ship updates at HerTimes. Check out their photo gallery, and see if they answered their big question.

Come down to the bayfont this weekend, and visit us at the GoErie photo booth—we’ll be taking pictures all weekend. Check back here to get our live Twitter updates and latest information on what’s happening.

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