On April 1 — the first day that tickets went on sale for Tall Ships Duluth 2013, July 25-29 — every single ticket for the two-hour day sails on these old beauties had been sold. Latecomers (by which I mean the lazy folks who logged on for tickets on April 2) had to content themselves with dock or onboard tours.
Fortunately for fans of old-time wooden ships (and their modern-day reproductions), the Schooner Halie & Matthew upped her offerings. Now, you can still land tickets to step aboard this 118-foot, 100-passenger vessel and soar over Superior waters propelled by the wind.
My advice: Buy now. Day sails run $95. On-board and dockside tours of the ships cost $17 and $6, respectively. To order tickets, call 1-877-435-9849 or go to www.visitduluth.com and click on the “Tall Ships Are Coming” link.
Given the rapid ticket sales and past experience, Duluth is never more popular than when these Tall Ships grace its harbor. The last such event, held in 2010, drew 250,000 visitors.
In 2008, the first year Duluth held a Tall Ships festival, three boats came. Ten ships will appear this year. Among them are the Pride of Baltimore II, the Sorlandet, a 1927 Norwegian ship, and the Brig Niagara, a reproduction of a ship that helped defeat a British squadron in the Battle of Lake Erie, an event that secured the Northwest Territory.
Depending on conditions and the ships’ speeds, the Parade of Sail — when the vessels enter Duluth’s harbor — is scheduled for July 25, about 2 p.m. Festivities will run all weekend, until July 29, at noon, when the Tall Ships Challenge race will find the vessels blowing out of Duluth Harbor.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.