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Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 1:55am

Tall Ships Challenge, 1941


The second Tall Ships Challenge was originally intended to take place in the far east, intended to call at Cam Ranh Bay (Indochina), British Hong Kong, and Shanghai (China). However, with the start of the South China Sea War in 1940, a number of participants requested a change in schedule or location, being concerned about the thread of naval combat in the course of the planned race. The association thus made alternate plans, choosing a course in the eastern Mediterranean as they were able to receive expedited permissions for the port calls.

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Alexandria Review
Race Leg One
Valetta Review
Race Leg Two
Rhodes Review
Honorary Awards
Final Times


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 1:55am

[SIZE=3]Alexandria Review[/SIZE]
As with the Tall Ships Race earlier in the year, participation was high but saw no participation from Asian ships, as had occurred in the previous event. The Mediterranean venue, however, attracted a large number of small vessels which might not have otherwise been able to participate. One unusual participant was the French yawl Mutine, which was sailed by an all-female crew.

The Alexandria Review was held in the Western Port of Alexandria, and attracted large crowds of Egyptians, many of whom crowded into locally-owned fishing boats to row out to see the ships. No official figures were available for the crowds, particularly as some of the vessels were unable to tie up at wharfs; however, authorities speculated that upwards of 140,000 persons visited the ships during the Review.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 1:56am

[SIZE=3]Race Leg One[/SIZE]
Each ship left Alexandria individually, beginning the race as soon as they passed the buoys at Alexandria. Weather conditions remained clear and breezy throughout the race, with a steady northwesterly wind that gave a good advantage to fore-and-aft rigged vessels on the first race leg. The Iberians in Juan Sebastian Elcano, being veteran Mediterranean sailors, started in the wee hours of the morning and established an early lead, although the recently completed barkentine cruise ship High Seas maintained a decent pace for the first day, although she fell behind later; the Danmark and the Nordish Statsraad Lehmkuhl also showed respectable times. The other vessels filtered out of Alexandria over the next few hours. The Colombian schooner Llanero left harbour early, but returned to Alexandria a few hours later due to issues with her purified water system, which had started pumping salt water into the purified water tanks, requiring immediate maintenance before she could proceed. The Balgarski Lav also suffered a navigational error from a faulty compass.

The small Yugoslavian barque Pelikan made a ferocious pace throughout Race Leg One, and due to a very early start and efficient sailing, reached Malta only five minutes behind the Juan Sebastian Elcano. The smaller ships, particularly those rigged fore-and-aft, made faster progress into the wind, and the sloop Jolie Brise, despite not sailing from Alexandria until well after dawn, arrived at Valetta in record time. The female crew of the French Mutine defied their naysayers and also arrived after a very respectable fast passage.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 1:58am

[SIZE=3]Valetta Review[/SIZE]
As laid down in the rules, each of the contenders was required to spend a minimum of twenty-four hours in Valetta before sailing on, although a number of ships stayed longer in port. British port authorities estimated that upwards of eighty-five percent of Valetta's population, and over half the population of the island, crowded their way through to visit the tall ships.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 1:58am

[SIZE=3]Race Leg Two[/SIZE]
Although the wind had blown against the westward-bound ships for Race Leg One, enabling the fore-and-aft rigged vessels to show to best advantage, this same wind served to speed the square-riggers along in Race Leg Two. The Danmark and Statsraad Lehmkuhl, which had both established a decent ranking in the first leg of the race, used the opportunity to solidify their lead. Statsraad Lehmkuhl eventually turned in the best time in the Class A races, closely rivaled by the Yugoslavians in the racy Pelikan, only fifteen minutes behind. The Romanian crew of Mircea challenged the Juan Sebastian Elcano for her position in the rankings, but the Iberians finished with a comfortable seventeen-minute margin over the Romanians. Constitution and Alala won first and second in their division, with the American crew particularly gleeful to beat the renowned speed of the Alala. However, in the Class B category, the Atlanteans won their revenge when the crew of the topsail schooner White Bull, to the shock and surprise of all her competitors, outsailed them all and turned in an astonishingly quick time. In the Class C category, the Jolie Brise turned in the quickest time of the entire race. The women of Mutine took second place, celebrating even more raucously than the victorious Jolie Brise. Mutine's male-crewed sister-ship Malice, by contrast, finished an embarrassing second-to-last, although the Greek-crewed Apostolis and Miaoulis performed well.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 1:59am

[SIZE=3]Rhodes Review[/SIZE]
The ships were well-received by the inhabitants of the fabled city of Rhodes, and a number of small Aegean Sea ferries brought thousands of Greeks and Turks from the mainland to tour the ships. Hundreds of young sailors received a warm welcome as they toured the city, including the archaeological digs of the city, such as the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes and the excavated Acropolis of Rhodes.

The award ceremony was held on the Atlantes on the afternoon of September 5th, with the ceremony attended by most of the ship captains and race organizers. The Statsraad Lehmkuhl won the TSC White Banner, the Pelikan received the TSC Green Banner, the Constitution received the TSC Green-and-White Banner, White Bull won the TSC Red Banner, and Jolie Brise received the TSC Blue Banner. All winners additionally received a gold cup as a trophy.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 2:00am

[SIZE=3]Honorary awards:[/SIZE]
- Youngest overall crew: Atlantean schooner Flamme (average age of 24 sailors is 20.125 years)
- Most popular ship: United States frigate Constitution (received largest number of visitors in port calls)
- Oldest ship: Latvia's L'Esperance (laid down 1759) (runner up is Constitution, laid down 1794)
- Newest ship: Greek Yawl Miaoulis, completed December 29th, 1940.
- Biggest ship: Atlantean barque Atlantes, five masts, displ 13,800 tons full load (largest sailing ship in the world)
- Smallest ship: French and Greek yawls Malice, Mutine, Apostolis, and Miaoulis (sisterships) displacing 16 tons full load.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 2:00am

[SIZE=3]Final Times[/SIZE]


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 2:30am

An interesting set of results to say the least.

The Yugoslavs have much to be happy with - and certainly the film crew caught some good footage for the newsreels.

For the Kriegsmarine, well, there is always next year. In the interim, they will go back to their primary purpose of training the next generation of Seekadeten.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 10:24pm

Greece is very proud of the performance of it's crews, and graciously thanks the French Government for their gift of the two yawls so we could compete.


Tuesday, December 20th 2011, 10:43pm

Greece is most welcome. :)


Saturday, December 24th 2011, 10:31am

Nice write up as ever Brock.

The Brits haven't done that badly, but certainly the Presidente Sarmiento is an overall good runner at every event. Nice to see my cadets in both nations are getting some good seatime in!


Saturday, December 24th 2011, 4:55pm

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

Presidente Sarmiento does seem to do pretty well overall - usually top third, which is pretty decent.