Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tall ship to stop in Houghton July 24-27 on way to Duluth CHALLENGE

The tall ship Denis Sullivan on Lake Superior during a previous visit to the Keweenaw. (Photo courtesy Discovery World)

HANCOCK -- The tall ship Denis Sullivan and her crew have had a busy July with more to come. With a home port of Milwaukee, Wis., the S/V Denis Sullivan is making a brief visit to the Keweenaw on its way to Duluth, Minn., to participate in the Great Lakes United TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® 2010 race series. The S/V Denis Sullivan is Wisconsin’s Flagship and the world’s only re-creation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner.

This US Coast Guard certified Sailing School Vessel serves as a floating classroom for environmental awareness of freshwater resources and appreciation of maritime history.  This modern educational sailing vessel has two 180 hp diesel engines, a scientific laboratory, computer workstations and modern communication and navigation equipment. The vessel can carry up to 21 participants overnight and 50 passengers on day sails, with a professional crew of ten.

The S/V Denis Sullivan was built in 2000 by professional shipwrights and about 1,000 volunteers. This tall ship travels over 18,000 nautical miles every year from her summer home at Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, along the East Coast to her winter home in Southern Florida. The journey is an unparalleled exploration of the Great Lakes, East Coast and Caribbean, and the hydrological cycle in its entirety.

When it arrives in Houghton this Saturday, July 24, high school students from three states will disembark the Denis Sullivan after a week sailing from Bay City to Houghton. These students participated in Michigan Technological University's Summer Youth Program,  which arranged for students to study Great Lakes biology during the tall ship journey. 

The Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT) is hosting the tall ship during its stay from July 24-27 and is offering an opportunity for the public to experience two-hour day sails on Portage Lake at Noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday, July 26. The vessel will be tied up at the Houghton waterfront and the community is encouraged to come by and view the ship up close.

"These day sails are really fun and informative," notes Evan McDonald, Keweenaw Land Trust executive director. "The crew welcomes participation in on-deck work to raise and trim the sails, and they’ll answer questions about how the vessel is constructed and operated. Being aboard the Denis Sullivan is like stepping back in time more than a century.”

About to pass under the Portage Lift Bridge, the Denis Sullivan gets underway for a 2009 day sail. (Photo courtesy Evan McDonald)

This schooner passing under the Portage Lift Bridge is a spectacular sight, and people on both sides of the Keweenaw Waterway will have excellent viewing of the tall ship navigating our local waters, much like schooners of the 19th century copper trade that sailed here before.

Regular ticket prices for the day sail are $40/adult, $25/child. KLT Member discount: $30/adult, $20/child. Group discount: Groups of four or more save $10. To purchase tickets for day sails on July 26 or to obtain more information contact Keweenaw Land Trust at 906-482-0820 or email Tickets are first-come first-served; available tickets can also be purchased at the vessel.

After its visit to the Keweenaw, the Denis Sullivan sails for Duluth and the Great Lakes United TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® organized by the American Sail Training Association and Great Lakes United to bring a fleet of international tall ships to the Great Lakes. The S/V Denis Sullivan has been selected as the signature vessel representing Great Lakes United for this year’s event. For more information about the S/V Denis Sullivan visit

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