Reflecting on Green Bay

August 17, 2010

Approaching the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal

Pride of Baltimore IIhas left Green Bay. Issues with our fresh water pump kept us alongside until near sunset yesterday and the festival grounds were all broken down by the time we left, but we are underway and sailing for the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, and then the start of Race Four in the Great Lakes Tallships Challenge Series.

Leaving last and seeing only empty space where the festival had been was a bit bittersweet. After such a flury of activity, seeing the place empty felt a bit hollow, like the circus being gone. But then I realized that all the people were there just to see the ships we sometimes take for granted. And the idea of inspiring that sort of response is inspiring itself.

And Green Bay certainly responded. A total of 8360 walked across our decks during the three-day event, and the reception from the town itself was excellent. Green Bay is an inviting place, with lots for the crew to do ashore, and the festival organizers even arranged for a few free tickets to the Packers Saturday Night Pre-season game versus the Cleveland Browns. During the game, Captain Robin Walbridge of Bounty asked me, “How many people you think this stadium holds?”

 “About 70,000,” I said. (I was wrong, Lambeau Field can seat 72,928.)

“What do you think to population of Green Bay is?” Captain Walbridge asked.

 “About 70,000,” I said, marveling at the idea that the entire town could go see a game together. (I was also wrong, Green Bay’s Population is 101,025.)

 But it isn’t just for football that Green Bay turns out. An estimated 50,000 people came to see the 12 ships that made the event last weekend. And in the same fashion that Packer-Mania seems to involve the whole state, the Tallship event started 46 nautical miles away from the dock. All the attending vessels paraded through the town of Sturgeon Bay at 0800 on the day of arrival, then raced down a flat calm Green Bay under power to reach their moorings in the Fox River.

Weather made for some challenges as the wind filled in Southerly on Friday, then Westerly on Sunday. But throughout the festival, the lines kept filing aboard. Sunday marked our busiest day this summer with 3130 visitors.

And now the fleet is gone. Pride II’s sunset sailing out the Fox and into Green Bay was the last departure. It will be a week of before the fleet gets together again in Chicago – in the meantime we are breaking up into smaller squadrons and visiting ports off the beaten path. Pride II will join a four other vessels in Port Washington, WI.

 But first, there is Race Four of the Tallships Challenge Series, and the Series itself to try and win. Pride II trails Europa by one point entering race four. Wish us luck.

All best,
 Jamie Trost and the race course bound crew of Pride of Baltimore II


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