USPS sails tall with Tall Ships


By Don Stark and others

At the 2014 Annual Meeting, USPS signed a memorandum of understanding with Tall Ships America, agreeing to support its operational and educational mission. During the year, squadrons on the West Coast took the lead in furthering this agreement and the relationship between USPS and Tall Ships America. Through this developing partnership, USPS hopes to forge one-on-one relationships between ships and individual squadrons and districts.

 Tall Ships Challenge

Tall Ships America’s annual Tall Ships Challenge series of races and public maritime festivals came to the West Coast last year, and USPS squadrons stepped up to help.

With California stops at Los Angeles (San Pedro), San Diego and Dana Point, the challenge offered squadrons the opportunity to support Tall Ships America while furthering the USPS mission of promoting boating safety and education.

District 13 Commander Dick Daybell coordinated the USPS presence in San Pedro and put together a team that escorted the 61-foot yellow duck that led the parade of sail. His team also coordinated and staffed a 10- by 30-foot USPS booth throughout the Tall Ships Festival. The booth showcased USPS educational programs and boating expertise. With the aid of two Boating Skills Virtual Trainers and the BullEx laser fire extinguisher, District 13 members interacted with hundreds of visitors at the show.

The challenge ended at Dana Point, where Balboa Sail & Power Squadron/28 Commander Eric Gritzmacher coordinated the USPS shore-side booth. Squadron members engaged the public during the three-day event using one of the Boating Skills Virtual Trainers.

 Lady Washington

As the sun peaked through the haze at the Everett Marina on 16 Aug. 2014, members of Districts 16 and 32 boarded the Lady Washington for a morning sail to celebrate USPS’ 100th anniversary.

A professional and volunteer crew under the auspices of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority operates the tall ship Lady Washington, a full-scale reproduction launched in March 1989. In 1776, General George Washington directed the building of the original Lady Washington to defend the Hudson River from the British.

After the war, Lady Washington became a trading vessel that brought black pearls and sandalwood from Honolulu, Hong Kong, and Japan. Instead of pearls and sandalwood, the new Lady Washington hauls students and adults interested in the history of merchant trading, sailing life and early sailing adventures.

During our sail, the wind quieted, but the crew members didn’t. When they weren’t managing lines and sails, they regaled us with stories about the Lady, sang sea shanties (songs sung by sailors in rhythm with their work) and fired one of the guns. Smitten with the ship, USPS members enjoyed sailing aboard the grand lady. –Annette Ferguson, Everett Sail & Power Squadron/16 commander


Point Wilson Sail & Power Squadron Commander Robert Olbrych arranged for a cruise aboard the Adventuress, a 133-foot gaff-rigged schooner, on 2 Sept. 2014. In a ceremonial exchange of colors, the ship accepted the USPS ensign while the squadron accepted the flag of Sound Experience, the organization that sails Adventuress and coordinates its education programs. USPS colors flew high in the rigging of the 101-year-old ship during this grand celebration. Forty-five District 16 members from several squadrons enjoyed a spirited sail during changing conditions and gusts that enabled the tall ship to demonstrate its agility. The three-hour sail culminated in a rainbow stretching from Port Townsend across Admiralty Inlet.

With Captain Joshua at the helm, Adventuress’ crew provided an enjoyable afternoon enhanced by their teamwork and professionalism. Our local tall ship is a historical landmark and wonderful sailing vessel. Point Wilson Sail & Power Squadron looks forward to collaborating with the ship on educational endeavors to benefit the community. –Robert Olbrych, Point Wilson Sail & Power Squadron/16 commander

Next year the Tall Ship Challenge returns to the East Coast. We hope that every district and squadron along the route will get involved. You can find a list of host cities on the Tall Ship’s America website,

Look for a tall ship on your horizon.

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The Ensign magazine is an official channel of United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, a volunteer organization whose members teach boating skills and best practices to help improve the safety of our nation’s waterways. Learn more.