About Tall Ship Celebration

Thank you, everyone!

This year truly was a tall ship experience like none other. See you in 2019...


About Tall Ship Celebration

Thank you, everyone!

This year truly was a tall ship experience like none other. See you in 2019...


Background & Sponsors

Background &  Sponsors



Background & Sponsors

Background &  Sponsors




Bay City is a host port for the TALL SHIPS® CHALLENGE, a series of races and rallies organized by TALL SHIPS AMERICA. In 2016, Bay City celebrates fifteen years of award-winning maritime festivals having hosted the fleet every time it has visited the Great Lakes in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2013. Bay City has been awarded the designation “Port of the Year” by TALL SHIPS AMERICA more than any other community in all of North America.

Welcome to Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City, the best tall ship festival in North America!


Please take a moment to learn about the generous businesses and organizations that support Tall Ship Celebration by investing in our sponsorship program. The following Major Ship Sponsors make it possible to recruit and support the backbone of our award-winning event, the fleet of visiting tall ships.

Many other businesses and organizations support Tall Ship Celebration by sponsoring the many activities that occur throughout the festival. Look for them below and throughout the website.



Dow Corning Corporation

Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. Dow Corning is a global leader in silicon-based technology and innovation, offering more than 7,000 products and services. Its operations include science & technology centers, manufacturing sites, warehouses and customer service centers in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Dow Corning has been the presenting port sponsor of Tall Ship Celebration in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016.



McLaren Bay Region

McLaren Bay Region is a 404-bed acute care hospital in Bay City, MI, providing specialty, primary and preventive services including cardiovascular, neuroscience, oncology, orthopedics, Family BirthPlace/women’s health, surgery, outpatient services, rehabilitation, home health and hospice care, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and Emergency Department. McLaren Bay Region’s Main Campus is located at 1900 Columbus Ave. Our West Campus is located at 3250 E. Midland Rd., Bay City, which is also home to Karmanos Cancer Institute and McLaren Bay Special Care hospital. McLaren Bay Region is the only accredited Chest Pain Center in the Great Lakes Bay Region, is a Primary Stroke Center, Neuroscience Center of Excellence, and has earned a Patient Safety Excellence award from Healthgrades.

MLive Media Group: The Bay City Times

MLive Media Group is an audience first, digitally focused media company encompassing all content, sales and marketing operations for MLive.com and eight major newspapers including The Bay City Times, the Michigan Press Association Newspaper of the Year for 2015. We are the largest news company and digital marketing agency in Michigan. In addition to delivering Michigan’s best news, sports, business and entertainment information 24/7, MLive Media Group provides best-in-class marketing services: advertising, media planning, search solutions, mobile ads, digital ad networks, behavioral targeting and creative services.



Wildfire Credit Union

Wildfire Credit Union offers a fresh approach to banking as usual and provides a full range of financial solutions in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Delivered with passion and enthusiasm, every member encounter goes beyond the expected. A Wildfire Credit Union experience is a difference you’ll notice immediately. Wildfire Credit Union has been a Major Ship Sponsor of Tall Ship Celebration since 2010.

Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy is one of the nation’s largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to more than 6 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents, with the help of more than 7,500 employees - 1,000 of them located right here in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, an international corporation that is a leader in energy infrastructure businesses. Each day, Consumers Energy employees work to safely deliver affordable, reliable energy to customers throughout Michigan. The company is committed to operating sustainably and caring for the communities they serve. Consumers Energy has been a Major Ship Sponsor in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016.

St. Mary's of Michigan

For over 140 years, St. Mary’s of Michigan has inspired hope by providing the best care to all people we serve across the state. We share the belief that the very best care starts with a faith-based mission – with friends and neighbors caring for friends and neighbors in a variety of ways and settings. We believe better care means better communities. As a member of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the United States and the world’s largest Catholic health system, St. Mary’s of Michigan is a leader in transforming healthcare to provide high-quality, person-centered healthcare to all. St. Mary’s of Michigan has been a Major Ship Sponsor in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016.



Independent Bank

Independent Bank was founded as First National Bank of Ionia in 1864. Today, Independent Bank Corporation is a Michigan-based bank holding company with total assets of approximately $2.4 billion, and 63 locations across Michigan’s lower peninsula. Independent Bank provides a full range of financial services, including commercial banking, mortgage lending, investments, and title services, with a commitment to providing exceptional service and value to customers, stockholders, and the community.

FirstMerit Bank

At FirstMerit, we want to get to know you and provide the financial services that will help you achieve your goals. Whether you are saving or paying for a child’s education, purchasing a home, building and expanding a business or planning for retirement, we want to help you. We offer a wide range of products and services; a focus on your goals; and sound financial advice – all delivered with the responsive, personal service of a community bank. Let us put you first.


Chemical Bank

Chemical Bank is excited to support Bay City’s Tall Ship Celebration and welcomes maritime enthusiasts from across the Region to Bay City. Since 1917, Chemical Bank has supported Michigan and all of the people, organizations, and events, like the Tall Ship Celebration, that make each community unique. Member FDIC.

Additional Activity Sponsors



Tall Ships Challenge®


Tall Ships Challenge®

TALL SHIPS AMERICA is the hub for tall ships activity, information, and expertise in North America, and is commended by the United States Congress as the national sail training organization representing the United States.  As a national membership organization, TALL SHIPS AMERICA supports the people, ships and programs of sail training and tall ships through professional development grants, sail training scholarships, conferences, education, publications, regulatory and licensing information, public events and advocacy. 

Tall Ships America organizes the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® annual series of tall ship races and maritime port festivals to celebrate our rich maritime heritage and traditions and to inform the general public about the transformative power of adventure and education under sail®. In 2016, the tall ship races are officially sponsored by Erie Insurance Group. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company, a Barron’s 500 company and has been recognized by Forbes as one of America's 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies. 

                                         OFFICIAL RACE SPONSOR

                         OFFICIAL RACE SPONSOR

Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. It is the hub for tall ship activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by Congress as the Sail Training organization representing the United States in the international forum.

The sailing ship logo, Tall Ships®, Tall Ships America®,Tall Ships Are Coming!®, Adventure and Education Under Sail® and TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®, are registered trademarks of the American Sail Training Association (dba Tall Ships America).


2016 Bay City Tall Ship Fleet

Explore the
2016 Tall Ships

2016 Bay City Tall Ship Fleet

Explore the
2016 Tall Ships



Vessel Type: Gaff Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Bay City, MI
Sparred length: 65’
Draft: 8’
Beam: 14’
Rig Height: 63’ 6”
Sail Area: 1,444 square feet
Power: 90 HP Diesel
Hull: Steel


The schooner Appledore V is owned and operated by BaySail, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Bay City, Michigan. Appledore V was the fifth in a series of Appledore schooners commissioned by Herb and Doris Smith and launched in 1992. Traverse Tall Ship Company purchased Appledore V from the Smiths and sailed her under the name Westwind. BaySail acquired the ship in 2002 and changed her name back to Appledore V. She joins sister ship Appledore IV as an education and sail training vessel operating around the Great Lakes.

 Appledore IV will offer sail-away excursions during Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City. Click here for purchase your sail-away tickets today!


Vessel Type: Gaff Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Bay City, MI
Sparred Length: 85’
Draft: 9’ 9”
Beam: 18’ 5”
Rig height: 76’
Sail Area: 3,560 square feet
Power: 135 HP Diesel
Hull: Steel

The schooner Appledore IV is owned and operated by BaySail, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Bay City, Michigan. Tall ship adventures aboard Appledore IV further BaySail’s mission to “foster environmental stewardship of the Saginaw Bay watershed and the Great Lakes ecosystem and to provide personal development opportunities for learners of all ages through shipboard and land-based educational experiences.” Since its founding in 1998, more than 42,000 young people have experienced a BaySail education program.

Appledore IV will offer sail-away excursions during Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City. Click here to purchase your sail-away tickets today!


Vessel Type: 3-masted Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Milwaukee, WI
Sparred Length: 137’
Draft: 8’ 9”
Beam: 24’
Rig Height: 95’
Sail Area: 5,916 square feet
Power: 2 x 180 HP Diesels
Hull: Wood

Over 900 volunteers completed Discovery World's tall ship, the Sailing Vessel Denis Sullivan. This replica of a Great Lakes schooner, and Flagship of Wisconsin, operates as a floating classroom and goodwill ambassador for the State of Wisconsin. From her homeport in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, the S/V Denis Sullivan offers educational day sails and private charters for people of all ages from May though September and is committed to re-establishing the historical, cultural and environmental bonds between the community and one of its most valuable resources.

She winters in Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean. Three hour LakeWater Expeditions and Dockside Discovery educational programs are offered for 5th through 12th graders. High school and college students can partake in five to 14-day Science Under Sail programs in the Great Lakes, Bahamas and Caribbean.


Vessel Type: Viking Longship
Flag: Norway
Homeport: Haugesund, Norway
Sparred Length: 115’
Beam: 26’
Rig Height: 78’
Sail Area: 2,798 square feet
Power: Sail, Oars
Hull: Wood

The Vikings left almost no record of how they built their ships and how they sailed them. There are many who have tried to recreate Viking ships, some of the are replicas of the ships which have been archaeologically found and some of them are inspired from the norse sagas. Draken Harald Hårfagre is built with inspiration from the Gokstad ship, the ships mentioned in the sagas and from knowledge of traditional boatbuilding tradition.

Draken Harald Hårfagre is 35 meters long,  8 meters wide and the mast reaches 24 meters. She is sailed with a 260 square meter large sail and rowed with 25 pairs of oars. During the trial sailing the summer of 2014 she reached a top speed of 14 knots. When sailing Expedition America she will be crewed by 33 skilled sailors.


Vessel Type: Galleon
Flag: Spain
Homeport: Sevilla, Spain
Draft: 10’ 6”
Beam: 33’
Rig Height: 121’
Sail Area: 10,010 square feet
Power: 2x380HP
Hull: Fiberglass

The Galeón Andalucía is a replica of a 16th-17th century galleon, the only one in the world that sails in present days. These ships were the type of vessel used by the Spanish Crown for maritime expeditions during the 16th through the 18th centuries. Galleons were intended to discover and then establish trade routes between Spain, America and the Philippines islands, and formed what was then called the “Fleet of the Indies”. For three centuries, these Spanish galleons crossed the Atlantic Ocean back and forth, sailed around the Caribbean Sea and the American coasts, and covered the Pacific route as well. They carried plenty of seamen, merchant traders and settlers, while their holds bore the fabulous loads resulting from American and Asian trade. It took three years to research the main historical and maritime archives in Spain and compile all necessary information about galleons’ shapes, details and measures so that this replica could be built. Since her launching, a crew between 15 to 35 people has manned her across the seas and oceans around the world. She has navigated the Pacific and Indian oceans, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and her wake has spread over the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the South and East China seas, the Aegean Sea, the Bosphorus strait, the Caribbean Sea and the whole East Coast of the US, covering thousands of nautical miles in an attempt to evoke her ancestors.


Vessel Type: Gaff Topsail Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Traverse City, MI
Sparred Length: 92’
Draft: 7’ 7”
Beam: 16’ 2”
Rig Height: 71’
Sail Area: 2,270 square feet

The MHA's schooner Madeline is a reconstruction of a mid-19th century Great Lakes schooner and one of the State of Michigan's official tall ships. She was built between 1985 and 1990 in Traverse City, Michigan by volunteer members of the non-profit group, the Maritime Heritage Alliance.

Her mission is to serve as a floating center for the interpretation of Great Lakes maritime history. She is open to visitors in her home port of Traverse City and travels to other Great Lakes ports under local sponsorship. Madeline's financial support comes entirely from people who are interested in preserving Great Lakes history. This includes MHA members and others around the Great Lakes who believe in what we are doing.


Vessel Type: Gaff Schooner
Flag: Canada
Homeport: Liverpool, Nova Scotia
Sparred Length: 100’
Draft: 10’
Beam: 20’
Rig height: 85’
Sail area: 3,668 square feet
Power: Unknown
Hull: Wood

The ship began her life in 1967 as the Motor Vessel "Liverpool Bay". She was built with the strong native timber and the skilled hands of the shipwrights at MacLean Shipbuilding, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her captain and crew worked the Banks off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, fishing for the cod that were her reason for being. After twenty years working in the harsh environment of the North Atlantic, with fish stocks declining and her machinery and equipment well past their prime, in 1987 this once proud vessel was left abandoned at a Halifax pier. Another five years of neglect added to her decline, but under the layers of paint and algae, behind the rotting timber and planks, was a gracious schooner hull waiting to return to sea.


Vessel Type: Brig
Flag: USA
Homeport: Erie, PA
Sparred Length: 198’
Draft: 11’
Beam: 32’ 6”
Rig Height: 120’
Sail Area: 11,600 square feet
Power: 2x200 HP Diesels
Hull: Wood

The U.S. Brig Niagara is a two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel. In 1813, she had a crew of 155 men and boys who manned her sails, 18 carronades and two long guns. The crew was organized into two watch sections (port and starboard) for routine duties while underway. More experienced sailors were stationed aloft, while others under the direction of petty officers manned the rigging which controlled the sails from deck. In battle, men also manned the guns and carronades. Boys carried the black power charges from the magazine to the guns. Marines and soldiers were assigned to the fighting tops on the masts where they could fire their muskets on the enemy ships. Officers directed setting sails, firing cannon, and maneuvering the brig in response to orders from the captain.

The current Niagara, the third reconstruction of the original vessel, was launched in Erie in 1988, the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. Niagara sails the Great Lakes, preserving and interpreting the story of the Battle of Lake Erie, and acting as an ambassador in her capacity as the flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Vessel Type: Brigantine
Flag: Canada
Homeport: Toronto, Ontario
Sparred Length: 72'
Draft: 8'
Beam: 15'
Rig Height: 56'
Sail Area: 2,600 square feet
Power: 150 HP Diesel
Hull: Steel

The Pathfinder was the original vessel of Toronto Brigantine, a charitable organization founded in 1962 to develop leadership, discipline, and citizenship in a maritime environment. The men and women who founded Toronto Brigantine believed that exposure to the challenge of the sea-going lifestyle could benefit young people. From standing watch to coordinating daily operations, from preparing meals to repairing systems, the entire ship’s complement is between 13 and 18 years of age aside from the Captain. Toronto Brigantine celebrates its 54th Anniversary in 2016.


Vessel Type: Brigantine
Flag: Canada
Homeport: Toronto, Ontario
Sparred Length: 72'
Draft: 8'
Beam: 15'
Rig Height: 57'
Sail Area: 2,600 square feet
Power: 110 HP Diesel
Hull: Steel

Playfair joined Toronto Brigantine in 1974. She was christened in 1973 by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and is the only Canadian ship to be commissioned by a reigning monarch. Since the founding of Toronto Brigantine in 1962, thousands of young people have participated in the organization’s character building programs that foster and reward self-confidence, teamwork, responsibility, custodianship and leadership. By working together, sailing and managing square-rigged ships, they have discovered important lessons about life and themselves.


Vessel Type: Topsail schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: Baltimore, MD
Sparred Length: 157’
Draft: 12’ 6”
Beam: 26’ 4”
Rig Height: 107’
Sail Area: 9,018 square feet
Power: 2 x 165 HP Caterpillar Diesels
Hull: Wood

Baltimore Clippers, sleek, fast and maneuverable vessels, gained fame as privateers during the War of 1812. Their success in capturing British merchant ships provoked the Royal Navy to attack Baltimore in 1814. Francis Scott Key, seeing the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry after the 25-hour British bombardment, was inspired to pen the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

One of the most successful privateers was Chasseur, launched from Fells Point. In a daring voyage to Great Britain, her captain declared a solo blockade of the British Isles. This caused the British Admiralty to call vessels back to the British Isles to protect their merchant ships. Chasseur captures or sank 17 vessels before returning home in 1815. Upon her arrival in Fells Point, she was greeted by cheering crowds and dubbed the “Pride of Baltimore.”

Pride of Baltimore II is a reconstruction of this early 19th-century Baltimore Clipper, as was her predecessor, Pride of Baltimore. For nearly four decades, these modern-day “prides” of Baltimore have promoted historical maritime education, fostered economic development and tourism, and represented the people of Maryland in ports throughout the world. Since her commissioning in 1988, Pride II has sailed 250,000 nautical miles and visited more than 200 ports in 40 countries.


Vessel Type: Schooner
Flag: USA
Homeport: New York, NY
Sparred length: 83’
Draft: 9’
Beam: 15’
Rig height: 78’
Sail area: 2,700 square feet
Power: 170 HP Diesel
Hull: Wood

When and If is an 83’ Alden schooner, commissioned by General George S. Patton in 1939. Her name is attributed to the quote, “When the war is over, and if I live through it, [my wife] Bea and I are going to sail her around the world.” With General Patton’s death in December 1945, it was unlikely that When and If would ever fulfill her original purpose. But in 2012, Doug Hazlitt (known for his compete restoration of another historic Alden schooner) purchased the vessel with the mission to restore her to her former glory. With enough support and sponsorship, the Captain and crew intend to make General Patton’s dream for this sailboat come true. As Patton’s will requested, they plan to repurpose the vessel for sail training and education by taking on apprentices along their journey and donating a portion of their proceeds to a sailing scholarship program.


What is a Tall Ship?

What is a Tall Ship?

What is a Tall Ship?

What is a Tall Ship?


The term “Tall Ship” has been used occasionally since Shakespearian times. Most agree, though, that the term was first used regularly following the organization of the first Tall Ship races. Today, the term is used frequently as a generic description of traditional sailing vessels of all rigs.

There are many different types of sailing ships, but they all have certain basic things in common. Every sailing ship has a hull, rigging, and at least one mast to hold up the sails that use the wind to power the ship. Ballast weighs down the bottom of the ship so the wind does not push it over. At one time the convention was that only a vessel with three or more masts was called a “ship”. A single or two-masted vessel was called a “boat”. Little notice is now taken of this supposed rule.

In 1955 a London solicitor, Bernard Morgan, had the idea of organizing a race to bring together the last of the world’s great square-rigged ships. He obtained the support of Earl Mountbatten and together with influential people in the sailing world an organizing committee was formed and went to work. The result was a spectacular race from Torbay to Lisbon in 1956 which caught the imagination not only of the public but also of the media who coined the phrase “Tall Ships’ Race.” It was judged to be such a success that the Committee drew up articles of association and formed the Sail Training Association (STA) in order that the Races could be put on a permanent footing.


Sail Identification

Know your Sails

Sail Identification

Know your Sails

1. Fore mast
2. Main mast
3. Mizzen mast 
4. Flying jib   
5. Outer jib
6. Inner jib
7. Fore topmast staysail
8. Fore course
9. Fore lower topsail
10. Fore upper topsail
11. Fore lower topgallant sail
12. Fore upper topgallant sail   


13. Fore royal
14. Main royal staysail
15. Main topgallant staysail
16. Main topmast staysail
17. Main course
18. Main lower topsail
19. Main upper topsail
20. Main lowr topgallant sail
21. Main upper topgallant sail
22. Main royal   
23. Mizzen royal staysail
24. Mizzen topgallant staysail

25. Mizzen topmast staysail
26. Main spencer
27. Crossjack, mizzen course
28. Mizzen lower topsail
29. Mizzen upper topsail
30. Mizzen lower topgallant sail
31. Mizzen upper topgallant
32. Mizzen royal
33. Spanker

Note that “Mizzen” is a more modern spelling of “Mizen” and that “sail” is frequently abbreviated to “s’l” as in “tops’l” and “stays’l”


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Where can I see the ships come in and/or under sail?

The ships will arrive in downtown Bay City on Thursday, July 14 from 1:30-4:00 p.m. (approximately). Guests can purchase a Daily Admission Ticket to enter the parks at noon and watch the ships parade in. 

However, the ships will not be under sail. Unfortunately there is not a place to see the ships under sail from shore.

What do I need to purchase to access the festival?
Guests are required to pay a daily admission fee to enter the park for each day you wish to attend. This provides access to all standard festival activities and services. Required for each day you wish to attend the festival.

To board and tour the visiting tall ships, guests must also purchase a Souvenir Passport. Passports are issued to each guest and are not transferable. They are good for the entire 4 days of the festival and allow the bearer to board and tour each visiting tall ship one time. Souvenir Passports are not valid for admission to the festival. Guests much also purchase a daily admission ticket for each day they wish to attend.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the festival?
All festival attendees are required to purchase a daily admission ticket for each day you wish to attend the festival. Children 36” and under are admitted free of charge and must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Each sail-away passenger is required to have a daily admission ticket to enter Tall Ship Celebration. A free admission ticket will be issued to each sail-away passenger - via email - prior to Tall Ship Celebration. 

There is no age limit to enter the festival or sail aboard Appledore IV or V. However, children 6 years old and under are required by Michigan law to wear a lifejacket at all times while aboard the vessel. We strongly advise that you bring your own lifejacket. BaySail and Tall Ship Celebration will not be responsible for providing them to sail-away passengers.


What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
FREE PARKING is available for festival attendees at Uptown Bay City (East Main Street), just south of Veterans Bridge on the East side of Bay City. This is the best location for our handicap guests to park. A FREE shuttle service is provided to/from the Uptown parking area to the main festival gate at Wenonah Park on Water Street. 

There will be an additional shuttle route taking guests from Wenonah Park (East side) to Veterans Memorial Park (West side) and vice versa. 

Shuttle service is provided by Bay Metro. Schedule TBD and will be posted soon. 

If you are participating in a sail-away excursion, please remember to allow yourself plenty of time to park and navigate the festival grounds. We recommend arriving 45 mins - 1 hour prior to your scheduled departure time. Ships depart on-time and tickets are not refundable.

What can/can't I bring to the event?
We strongly recommend dressing for the weather. The festival grounds are exposed to the elements and have limited areas of shade/cover from the sun. Sunscreen is essential and should be applied multiple times throughout your time in the sun. In case of emergency, dial 9-1-1 immediately and give your location within the festival.

Absolutely no weapons, coolers, alcohol or illegal substances are allowed within the festival grounds. The no weapons policy extends to guests with a CPL license. All backpacks, purses and bags will be searched by festival security at admission gates.

Can I camp at the festival?

Yes! A limited number of trailer/motorhome spaces is available in Veterans Memorial Park south of the bridge. These “dry camping” spots do not include water or electricity and are not available for tents. There are 22 riverfront sites at $40 per night and 40 additional sites for $30 per night. Proceeds support programs of the Association for Youth Outdoor Adventures. For information or make a reservation, please email: YouthOutdoors@gmail.com.

What are my other lodging options during my time in Bay City?

Two hotels are located within walking distance of the festival: DoubleTree by Hilton & Courtyard by Marriott. More information about local lodging options can be found at www.gogreat.com or by calling the Great Lakes Bay Region Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800.444.9979. 

What is your refund policy?
All sales are final. Daily admission tickets and souvenir passports are not refundable.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
For information about Tall Ship Celebration, contact us at (989) 895-5193 or info@tallshipcelebration.com.