The Festival of Sail started this past Friday and continues through Labor Day on the downtown harbor front at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Check the Museum’s web site for entry fee, times, and updates.
Normally I take the San Diego Trolley from my place to the Maritime Museum and watch the parade.
This year I also took my bike, and instead of watching the parade from crowded downtown, I rode from the Maritime Museum all the way out to Shelter Island where I set up on the pier to get some of my best pictures ever of the tall ships.
Too bad this was the first overcast Tall Ship Parade that I can remember.
Always something, it is.
Pictures from the parade follow. Only tall ships were in the parade, so anything that’s not a tall ship is just a sight I saw while going to, watching, and coming from Shelter Island.
View of downtown San Diego from North Harbor Drive at West Laurel Street:
One of the reasons I chose to go to the Shelter Island pier is because I know lots of pelicans hang out there. You can get within a couple of feet of many of them to get great pictures.
The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) was coming into San Diego at the same time the parade was getting underway.
The USS Arleigh Burke is the lead ship of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, so you’re looking at the first of her kind. It was built at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, in 1988-89, launched on September 16, 1989, and commissioned on July 4, 1991. Since it is based in Norfolk, Virginia, it’s a pleasure to have it visiting San Diego.
The Californian, the official tall ship of the State of California and based right here in San Diego:
The Californian is a replica of the C.W. Lawrence, a revenue service cutter that operated off the California coast in the 1850s. It is 145 feet long and was built in 1984. In 2003, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Bill No. 965 making it the official state tall ship. It provides sail training and sea educational programs up and down the California coast, and is open to the public for harbor sailing every Saturday during the summer. No, I have not sailed on it yet, but it’s on my bucket list.
Next up is the Tole Mour, the longest ship in the parade at 156 feet.
The Tole Mour is the largest active tall ship on the West Coast. It was built in 1988 as a self-contained primary health care support vessel to operate in the Marshall Islands, a U.S. protectorate. The name of the ship was selected by a competition of Marshall Islands school children and means ‘A Gift of Life and Health’ in the Marshallese language. It is part of the Guided Discoveries’ Catalina Island Marine Institute, offering sail training, oceanography and marine biology education to hundreds of school-aged participants each year.
Up next is the Exy Johnson:
The Exy Johnson, a brigantine, is a state-of-the-art sail training vessel from the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Youth Program. Later on you’ll see her twin, the Irving Johnson. The Johnsons were pioneering sail trainers. From the 1930s to the 1950s, they circumnavigated the globe seven times on two different boats, both named Yankee, with each trip using a new group of boys and girls who possessed only a sense of adventure and curiosity.
Up next is Jada, a 65′ yawl built in 1938.
The Jada has raced the Transpac to Hawaii five times and won the Tahiti race in 1969. Originally built as a schooner, it was converted to a yawl in the 1950s to meet new racing rules. It is based in San Diego and is available for whale watching and chartered adventures.
Next is the SSV Robert C. Seamans, a 134½-feet-long brigantine built in 2001.
SSV Robert C. Seamans is owned and operated by the Sea Education Association (SEA) of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. SEA is a leader in undergraduate ocean education while exploring ports of call in Europe, the Caribbean, Polynesia, or Oceania. It is a sophisticated sailing school vessel outfitted with hydrographic winches, bathymetric equipment, biological and geological sampling equipment, a wet/dry laboratory, and a computer laboratory.
If you want to take one of the best tours of the San Diego harbor, make a splash on the SEAL:
The SEAL is a combination land vehicle/boat. It starts on land at Seaport Village, takes the roads around to Shelter Island where I was, and slowly makes its way into the water where it then takes you on a harbor cruise. Yes, I have done it. It is the coolest thing!
Another great way to see the harbor is the various harbor cruises:
Some of the harbor cruises have dinner and sunset cruises, which are a lot of fun. If you have the time, take the complete tour of the harbor, from Point Loma to the Coronado Bridge. If you don’t have as much time, take the north tour to Point Loma as it’s much more interesting. If you’re active duty or retired military, you’ll probably enjoy the south tour since it takes you by the NASSCO ship building docks and the huge 32nd Street Naval Station where dozens of warships are docked. Both cruises take you by the North Island Naval Station where you’ll often see nuclear-powered aircraft carriers berthed.
Up next: American Pride.
American Pride is a 3-masted schooner, 130 feet long, based in Long Beach, California. It was originally a 2-masted schooner-dragger named Virginia. Her first forty years were spent commercially fishing the Grand Banks and George’s Banks, searching the New England coasts for cod, haddock, flounder and ocean perch. It was purchased in 1996 by the American Heritage Marine Institute, renamed the American Pride, and operates as a private charter for the general public and school groups for the Children’s Maritime Foundation.
One of the smaller tall ships did not make the parade, and that threw my documentation off. The ships were not flying name flags, didn’t have names on the side of the vessels, and I can’t find any good pictures to help me with identification. So the following pictures are probably of the “Bill of Rights,” the “Irving Johnson,” and the “Spirit of Dana Point.”
When the parade ended, I hopped on my bike for the ride back to the Maritime Museum. I got interrupted by lots of helicopters taking off and landing at the North Island Naval Station.
Once I got back to the Maritime Museum, I watched the tall ships plow the harbor waters.
There you have it, 2013’s Tall Ship Parade from the Festival of Sail hosted by the Maritime Museum of San Diego. There is a lot still going on today and tomorrow. Many of the ships offer cruises around the harbor, there are cannon battles, and there is a special passport that you can get stamped by each of the ships that you visit, including all of the ships owned by the Maritime Museum.
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