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Great Lakes Article:

A Skyline Filled With Sails
By Danielle Quisenberry
Times Herald
Published August 18, 2006



Greeted by people clutching cameras and lining the St. Clair River, the high-masted ships moved slowly into Port Huron Thursday.

One at time they slowly moved south from Lake Huron, passing beneath the Blue Water Bridge to assigned slots along the St. Clair and Black rivers for this weekend's Sail Port Huron festival, sponsored by Acheson Ventures.

Some had their sails open and flapping, while others sounded cannons to announce their long-awaited arrival.

Five ships - the Royalisteof San Francisco; Unicornof Perth Amboy, N.J.; Pride of Baltimore IIof Baltimore; Niagaraof Erie, Pa.; and Picton Castleof Lunenburg, Nova Scotia - sailed into the city.

There they joined Port Huron's Highlander Sea, already docked at the Seaway Terminal for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday festival.

It is the first time tall ships have been in Port Huron since 2001. Tall ships were last in the immediate area when they docked in Sarnia in 2003.

For Thursday arrivals, people armed with binoculars and curiosity gathered all day at spots along the river to catch their first glimpses of the vessels.

"I like the water no matter what is on it, but this is a treat," said Marilyn Abernathy of Port Huron, as she watched the Picton Castlemaneuver into a spot at the Seaway Terminal.

Abernathy, who lives on the city's north end, said she saw one of the ships moving south on Lake Huron and chased it in her vehicle to the Seaway Terminal.

Once there, she watched the ships from the terminal's upper parking lot and chatted with her former neighbor, Dorothy Schutt of Lexington.

The ships are "spectacular," Schutt said.

At the same spot earlier in the day, Sue Reinbold of Lapeer waved enthusiastically as the Pride of Baltimore IIarrived at the terminal.

Her friend, Syd Maysilles, 65, of Lapeer, boarded the ship in Chicago and sailed with it to Port Huron.

"It was wonderful," Maysilles said. "I'd do it again in a flash."

Maysilles said sailing aboard a tall ship was one of the activities on a "life list" of things she wanted to accomplish.

"It's just something I've wanted to do," she said, taking a break from the lunch awaiting her below the ship's deck.

The toughest part of the trip was understanding the sea "lingo," she said.

Crewmembers would tell her to do something, and she'd have no idea what they were talking about, she said.

The trip, especially sailing past Mackinac Island, was a "hoot," she said.

It takes people back to a different era, said Bob Paddock of Arlington Heights, a Chicago suburb. He also rode aboard the Pride of Baltimore II.

Arthur Crawford Jr., 83, of Port Huron Township has never sailed for a long period aboard a ship.

But, cruising up and down the walkway at Vantage Point, he seemed excited about the ships' arrivals.

He said he waited at the Blue Water Bridge for a long time before driving to Vantage Point.

"I am just interested in tall ships," he said, chasing with his camera the Unicornas it moved up the Black River.

Contact Danielle Quisenberry at (810) 989-6274 or dquisenberry@gannett.com.

 

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