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U.S. Brig Niagara arrives at Canalside

by jmaloni


Wed, Jul 9th 2014 11:20 pm

Tours and sailing trip available to the pubic

The historic U.S. Brig Niagara arrives at Canalside at 3 p.m. Thursday. The Brig Niagara will come into port firing her 32-pound carronades, and carrying as much sail as conditions permit.

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. invites everyone to gather on the boardwalk to welcome the Brig Niagara to Buffalo. She is a reproduction of the relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in a major naval battle of the War of 1812.

"The U.S. Brig Niagara is a sight to see, especially when she is under sail," said Robert Gioia, ECHDC chairman. "We welcome her captain and crew to Canalside, and invite the public to tour this excellent example of a two-masted squared-rigged sailing vessel that tells the story of an important part of Western New York's history. This is one of hundreds of activities families can enjoy at Canalside this summer."

On Sept. 10, 1813, nine small ships - six of them, including Niagara, constructed in Erie, Pennsylvania - defeated a British squadron of six vessels in the Battle of Lake Erie. A pivotal event in the War of 1812, it secured the Northwest Territory, opened supply lines and lifted the nation's morale.

At 198 feet long, The U.S. Brig Niagara is a two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel, referred to as a "brig." She was launched in 1988 and completed in 1990. Niagara sails with a crew of 18 professional merchant mariners and up to 30 crew and trainees. She carries four carronades, which are fired during educational day sails and for historical demonstrations. Original 1813 timbers, which were recovered from the 1913 and 1933 reconstructions, are incorporated into her construction. (http://www.flagshipniagara.org/).

Public tours of the ship will be available at specified times during her visit, with tickets available to purchase dockside. Prices are $7 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and under.

A public educational sail day will be offered on Monday, July 14, providing participants with an introduction to square rig and traditional seamanship.

Sailing onboard Niagara is an unusual opportunity to experience the long-vanished world of the wooden square rigged sailing ship. You are stepping into a pre-industrial society, to see first-hand, and to lay your hands on an ancient set of traditions. The ship is a wind- and muscle-powered machine full of the sights, sounds and smells of maritime history. The underway experience gives some insight into the problems faced and challenges met by our forbears.

Participants in the one-day program receive frequent short talks explaining the various tasks and maneuvers performed by the crew. Hands-on participation is voluntary and typically limited to walking away with the halyards to hoist the topsails. This program is an introductory overview for the completely uninitiated.

Day sail tickets are $100/person and can be purchased directly from the Brig Niagara's website: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/754152.

Tour/Day sail times are as follows:

Friday 7/11/14

10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Public Tours

Saturday 7/12/14

10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Public Tours

Sunday 7/13/14

10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Public Tours

Monday 7/14/14

1 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Public Day Sail

In addition to the Niagara, on Saturday July 12, the Buffalo Maritime Center will host an in-the-water display of classic and antique boats from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the same location.

For more information, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.

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