Photo Gallery | Tall Ships Leave Jacksonville: Racing To Nova Scotia, Canada

On Monday, April 30, 2012, the French Navy training schooner Etoile (“star”) along with her sister ship, La Belle Poule (“Beautiful Chick”) sailed into downtown Jacksonville to commemorate Captain Jean Ribault’s landing in the New World 450 years ago.  On May 1, 1562, Ribault’s expedition landed at the mouth of the St. John’s River, and now the National Park Service’s Fort Caroline Memorial commemorates this history.  The ships have been participating in the Tall Ship Race since 1958.  In 2009, the Etoile and La Belle Poule crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the first time during the Tall Ship Atlantic Challenge.  In recognition of their service during World War II, both vessels are permitted to fly the French ensign with the imposed Cross of Lorraine. 

Miller on Sports was downtown on Wednesday morning, May 2nd, to watch as the ships left their docking stations in front of the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.  Very few people were up early for their grand departure.  With such spectacular weather and a very calm St. Johns River, their excursion up the river against the backdrop of Jacksonville’s South Bank was a sight to behold.   

Both ships are now headed to Savannah, Georgia, for the Tall Ships Challenge, an annual event organized by the Tall Ships America, alternating in a three-year cycle among the Great Lakes, the Pacific, and the Atlantic coasts of North America.  Tall Ships America is a nonprofit group focused on leadership development, youth education, and the preservation of the maritime heritage of North America.  The organization encourages character building through sailing training.  Many of the vessels that are participating in the challenge serve as classrooms at sea and are manned by crews, ranging in ages from 13 to 25.  These young students are enrolled in sailing programs with Tall Ships America.  In the images with this story, you can see some of the crew members as they work tirelessly to ensure a safe departure from Jacksonville.

The event attracts thousands of onlookers to witness the beauty and grace of these Tall Ships from the age of sail.  The event provides a very special opportunity for the attendees to interact with the crews of the vessels as they race from port to port.  

 

With the arrival of 13 high-masted sailing ships and one special little tug boat, the 2012 Tall Ships Challenge in Savannah begins on Thursday, May 3, 2012.  The event ends on Monday, May 7th, with the Parade of Sail, as the vessels set out to sea from River Street to begin an ocean race that will end in Nova Scotia, Canada, in July.        

THIS INFORMATION WAS COMPILED BY RADIO SPORTS TALK HOST AND JACKSONVILLE GIANTS TELEVISION PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER RICHARD MILLER.  AT 26, RICHARD MILLER IS THE YOUNGEST RADIO SPORTS TALK HOST IN THE NATION.  HIS SHOW, MILLER ON SPORTS, AIRS WEEKDAYS FROM 4:00 TO 6:00 P.M. ON AM 1600 WZNZ.  LISTEN TO MILLER ON SPORTS.   “EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST TALK.”  All photographs and images are the property of Miller On Sports.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Photos by:  B.L. Miller

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