Eleven ships confirmed for festival

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND – March 15, 2012

Excitement is mounting for the Ocean State Tall Ships®Festival 2012, scheduled for July 6 – 9, 2012, at the waterfront in downtown Newport. There are presently eleven ships scheduled to attend the festival, which is expected to bring thousands of spectators and visitors to Newport, Rhode Island.

As an official host port for the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® series on the Atlantic Coast, the festival promises to be a tremendous economic generator for Newport and the State of Rhode Island. In 2007, when the Tall Ships® last sailed to Newport, an estimated 200,000 attended, delivering an economic impact of over $20 million to the State of Rhode Island.[1]

“We are so excited that many of the nation’s premier vessels have signed on to attend the festival this summer,” said Erin Donovan, Executive Director of Ocean State Tall Ships Festival 2012. “This event will be enjoyed by people of all ages, and will provide a much needed economic boost to Newport and the state,” she concluded.

The immensely popular HMS Bounty, built for the 1962 movie, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, and most recently featured in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest”, will take part in the festival. Additionally, the Picton Castle, Mystic Whaler, the Pride of Baltimore II, the Tree of Life, Unicorn, Lynx, Providence, Gazela, the Spirit of Massachusetts and Summerwind are certain to bring inspiration and educational experiences for all ages. The brief description below is only a sampling of the rich history of these magnificent ships.

About Ocean State Tall Ships® Festival 2012

In July of 2012, the pageantry of the tall ships will sail into Newport Harbor once again for the Ocean State Tall Ships® Festival. The scenic and historic waterfront of Newport is the idyllic setting to observe the splendor of the tall ships, and families will delight in the majesty of the Parade of Sail through Newport Harbor. This event will also feature exhibits, food, music and family entertainment. Children especially enjoy boarding these remarkable vessels, and the opportunity to meet international crew members provides all visitors with insight into the many unique cultures that have helped to shape the past and future of sailing.

For more information, contact Erin Donovan at 401.474.7009 EDonovan@OceanStateTallShips.com.


The HMS Bounty
Known for the storied mutiny that took place in Tahiti in 1789 on board the British transport vessel, the current Bounty is one of the largest and most famous tall ships in the world with 18 sails and over 180 feet long. This storied vessel is a vehicle for teaching the nearly lost arts of square-rigged sailing and seamanship.

The Pride of Baltimore II
Pride of Baltimore II is a reproduction of an 1812-era topsail schooner privateer. Berthed in Baltimore, the privateer is Maryland’s working symbol of the great natural resources and spectacular beauty of the Chesapeake Bay region. Pride of Baltimore II’s mission is to educate the public on U.S. maritime history and Maryland commerce opportunities.

The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life was first launched in 1991 from Nova Scotia, Canada. With its 4,800 square feet of sail, this beautiful schooner has a paneled interior of koa and teak. The Tree of Life has circumnavigated the globe and now sails up and down the New England coast from its home port of Newport, R.I. The crew of the ship conducts sail training for volunteers and trainees and provides sea education in marine science and maritime history. ;

The Lynx
The Lynx is an interpretation of an actual privateer named The Lynx built by Thomas Kemp in 1812 in Fell’s Point, Md. It was among the first ships to defend American freedom by evading the British naval fleet then blockading American ports, and serving in the important privateering efforts.

The Spirit of Massachusetts
In 1984 the Spirit of Massachusetts was launched from Boston, MA, and modeled after the 1889-fishing schooner, Fredonia. The Fredonia was known for its speed, which is fully embodied in the Spirit of Massachusetts.

The ship’s original owners built it as a sail-training vessel for young people, and the vessel has continued to be used by Ocean Classroom for students and teachers where traditions, values and adventures of maritime life are taught.

The Picton Castle
First built as a fishing trawler in Wales, the Picton Castle has worked as a minesweeper and a freighter. The ship was later converted into a square-rigged barque and has since completed 5 circumnavigations of the globe. Today, the ship’s main mission is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Sail trainees participate fully in the ship’s operation as well as in training classes in seamanship and navigation.

The Mystic Whaler
The Mystic Whaler is a reproduction of a late 19th century coastal cargo schooner. With its warm interior featuring Italian oak floors, fir wainscoting and mahogany accents, the schooner will allow adults and children over the age of five to learn first hand how to raise sail to a sea chant and experience the thrill of turning the ships wooden wheel.

The Unicorn

Unicorn was originally built in 1947 as a motor fishing vessel andwas converted into a sailing ship in 1979. The current owners of the Unicorn created the leadership program, Sisters-Under-Sail, in 2005. The program is aimed at mentoring teenage girls, and the Unicorn is now sailed by an all-female crew. Daughters of U.S. military, ages 13 – 18, whose parent is either Active Duty or on Active Status, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard, have been invited to sail aboard Unicorn to honor their parents’ service for our country.

The Gazela
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The Gazela was built in Portugal, and her records date back to 1901. It was originally built to carry fisherman to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The Gazela’s movie career has included “Interview with the Vampire”; the PBS documentary, “The Irish in America: The Long Journey Home” and “La Veuve de St. Pierre,” a French film released in Paris.

The Providence
This 110-foot fully rigged sailing vessel is the faithful replica of the first commissioned ship into the Continental Navy, and John Paul Jones’ first command. The replica was built in 1975 in Portsmouth, R.I. for the bicentennial of 1976. The Providence is the official flagship and tall ship ambassador for the state of Rhode Island, and has won the “Best Dressed Vessel” award from the Sailing Ambassador.


The Summerwind
The schooner Summerwind was built in 1929, served during WWII as part of the Coastal Picket Patrol and was instrumental in the classic yachting movement that began in the late 1960’s as older vessels were joined by newly built replicas. As the newest vessel to join the fleet at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., the Summerwind provides sail training to the Midshipmen of the academy.



[1] According to a study commissioned by Tall Ships America®, which highlighted multi-year attendance of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® 2001-2010.