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The Tall Ships in St. Petersburg, FL

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The SHARQ Express under the shadow of the Cisne Branco
Small ship: The SHARQ Express under the shadow of the Cisne Branco. [larger version]
On Thursday, June 27, a fleet of tall ships paraded into Tampa Bay and docked in St. Petersburg, FL. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was involved on several fronts. Our center chief, Lisa Robbins, received a couple of passes to ride aboard the U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle as it led the parade of ships, and she invited Terry Edgar to join her. Reluctantly, Terry said he would go, and put on a remarkably realistic display of enthusiasm. They joined St. Petersburg's Mayor Rick Baker and most of the city council on a small Coast Guard boat that took them to the ships outside the bay, where they transferred to the Eagle.

The bay was littered with small boats participating in the parade, which were kept at least 50 m from the tall ships by various authorities with lights and horns. The Eagle is a magnificent sailing ship, capable of speeds as high as 17 knots under full sail. Unfortunately, the wind did not join the festivities, and so all the ships with square sails motored into the bay under bare poles. A couple of sloop-rigged ships were able to raise their sails, but they also had to parade under power.

Tall ships in Tampa Bay: (from left to right):
The Eagle approaching the Skyway Bridge at the entrance to Tampa Bay. [larger version]
The Cisne Branco passing under the Skyway Bridge. [larger version]
Just a few meters of the 8 km of rigging needed to sail the Eagle. [larger version]
The Eagle cruising east under bare poles. [larger version]
Eagle approaching the Skyway Bridge at the entrance to Tampa Bay Cisne Branco passing under the Skyway Bridge Just a few meters of the 8 km of rigging needed to sail the Eagle Eagle cruising east under bare poles

The ships paraded past downtown St. Petersburg and reversed course to return to the port. At this time, the Eagle fired a few shotgun shells from a small cannon (30-cm barrel), and the Brazilian Cisne Branco (White Swan) responded with a few attention-getting blanks (we think) from its life-size cannons. The Cisne Branco was built a few years ago and is a copy of the Eagle. These two large vessels were docked by tugs in the port, and they and the other tall ships were on display and open to the public on Friday and Saturday. The Eagle departed early Sunday morning, but all the others remained through the weekend.

The Eagle was built in Hamburg, Germany, in 1936, was commissioned as the Horst Wessel, and was one of three such vessels used for training. Only five were built. During World War II, the ship served as a transport and training ship in the Baltic Sea, reputedly shooting down three aircraft. At the end of the war, the Eagle was taken by the United States as a war prize and sailed from Germany to the United States by an American and German crew. The crew of the Eagle must handle more than 22,000 ft2 of sail and about 8 km of rigging.

The USGS also had its "tall ship" docked with the visiting tall ships. Dennis Krohn managed to get Kim Yates' houseboat SHARQ Express along the dock, where it was visited by many people interested in research in Florida, particularly in Tampa Bay. (See article about the SHARQ Express in May 2002 Sound Waves.) USGS hosts on the SHARQ Express included Kim Yates, Nate Smiley, Marci Marot, Bob Halley, and Terry Edgar. One of our group put an appropriate sign on the side of the aluminum superstructure that said "This side up," with a red arrow, fortunately pointing up.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Floating Support Facility—a Boat Only a Scientist Could Love
May 2002

Related Web Sites
Tampa Bay Pilot Study
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The Majesty, the Beauty, of Tall Ships
St. Petersburg Times, June 27, 2002

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrate

Tampa Bay Coring

North Carolina Coastal Erosion

Endangered White Abalone

Marbled Murrelets

Research Sediment Core Drilling Proposal

African Dust Microbiology

Outreach Tall Ships

Gulf of Mexico Teacher Workshop

Coastal Louisiana Interview

MRIB Makes Headlines

Meetings U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

Numerical-Modeling Workshop

Staff & Center News WHFC Employees Farewell

Sound Waves Staff

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