I have no use for modern yachts, with their motorized roller furlers, chromed fittings, shiny hulls, and 'diesel mizzens'.
Give me a tall ship, with masts to climb, rigging to tar, sails to handle, and rust to bust.
Give me a cloud of sail set by hands, not machines, and the thunder of heavy canvas sails catching the wind.
Give me the creaking of timbers to sing me to sleep.
Nothing turns heads or stops traffic like a tall ship.
To see one is to see living history. To work one is to live history.
Masted vessels from the Age of Sail seem to stir something in all of us. These are the ships that conquered nations, moved our ancestors, and facilitated global trade.
There are probably few things that have not been somehow touched by these vessels in some way. Businesses that flourished by shipping on them, families that emigrated on them.
The history of the world, for better or worse, was sketched on their decks.
'HMS Rose' was bought to make the film Master and Commander. I had the privilege of crewing on her last trip as the Rose. She was re-christened 'HMS Surprise' for the making of the movie. Having been in contact with several people involved with the 'Surprise' restoration project, I have learned she is seaworthy and is working towards a USCG cert for sail training. She is fitted with royals and a suit of stun'sls. (see her site)
'Pride of Baltimore': In fall of 2005 the Pride of Baltimore was completely dismasted in a gale off the coast of France. Miraculously there were no injuries and the boat was repaired. The Captain is said to have commented, "It was the most complete failure of rigging I've ever seen".
'HMS Bounty': Words can't express the sorrow over her loss in 2012. The lost included Captain Robin Walbridge and crewman Claudene Christian, who is reputed to be a descendant of Fletcher Christian of the original Bounty.The boat was built for the 1962 MGM movie 'Mutiny on the Bounty'. It is rumored that when Brando discovered they were going to burn the boat during the filming of the movie, he threadened to stop work unless they built a facade to burn instead. MGM complied; allowing the Bounty to sail for another 52 years.
'Oliver Hazard Perry' has launched at Newport, RI in 2013. She's a full rigged, steel-hulled ship. (see her site.)