Tall Ship Frederyk Chopin limps back to port after losing both masts in storm (video)

It might not be as dramatic as the footage that would have been shot during the casualty but this RNLI video of the tall ship Frederyk Chopin is a stark reminder that it’s an ocean out there!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Earlier this year we devoted alot of coverage to the amazing story of the sinking of the tall ship Concordia which coincidently was also a Polish built ship that in the past has sailed for Class Afloat.

Very happy that this too is a story with a happy ending.

Why I created this long post about Concordia sinking

Concordia by Wojtek Voytec Wacowski

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask why have I gone to great lengths to create this long post about the high school tall ship Concordia sinking. There are lots of reasons.

  1. Personal – I spent my high school years on a tall ship called Tabor Boy and launched The Tabor Boy Project, a website/living history project/social network, about that experience. So as a product of a long established, successful sail training program, I passionately believe in the power to transform young lives.
  2. Professional – I was the executive director of the American Sail Training Association from 2001 to 2008. During that period I had the opportunity to work with hundreds of different sail training vessels and tall ships from around the world.
  3. Professional/Personal – When speaking with the public or media at big tall ships events, I was invariably asked which was my favorite. As ASTA executive director, the only answer could be that “Like parents love their children,  I love them all equally.” (politically correct)  However, each sail training vessel and tall ship is unique in its own way and back on April 2, 2008, I wrote “I had the great fortune to spend my 4 years of high school sailing on a tall ship. If there was one educational sailing experience I could be jealous of, this (Class Afloat on Concordia) would be it.” By the way, I still feel that way today.
  4. Leadership – Over the years, I had the opportunity to work with Class Afloat’s founder Terry Davies and believe that it would be difficult to find another educational leader more professional and caring about young people and more knowledgeable about ships.  Similarly, my experience working with various captains and crew members of the Concordia was always very positive.  Leadership defines the success of a program and Terry Davies charted a proper course for Class Afloat.
  5. Reference – Today modern technology and media allow information to be distributed fast, far and wide. Unfortunately, accuracy isn’t always one of the characteristics but that might be a fair trade under many circumstances. Over time, inaccurate reports are generally weeded out and tossed aside.  I’ve attempted to collect as many of the stories told to and by the media as possible. Going back later and trying to find this kind of information would be a gargantuan task. Doing it in real time is slightly easier. This is the web and many of these links will die but overall the post can serve as a pretty comprehensive reference for anyone interested in learning more about the casualty.
  6. Lessons to Be Learned – The Concordia sinking is a sad story with a happy ending. And while it’s very early days in the investigation, it presents a great opportunity to try to figure out what happened without the usual high emotion that surrounds an incident involving casualties or fatalities. In some respects, this is similar to the Miracle on the Hudson. As Sergeant Joe Friday used to say, “All we want are the facts” and there are more than 64 individual stories that can be told today but which over time will consolidate into one overall narrative from which we will hopefully learn some valuable lessons for the future.

Up to this post, I’ve avoided editorializing, analyzing or making any judgement about what actually happened on the Concordia on February 17, 2010. I think that I’ll continue to leave the technical analysis to the professional investigators and others with more direct experience and knowledge about these things. I will continue to collect links about the sinking but anticipate (and hope) the pace of stories slows down so that I can get back to Sea-Fever’s regularly scheduled programming.  I will also try to interpret/translate some of the technical findings so that non mariners can get a better understanding of the issues. I believe my Tabor Boy and ASTA experiences leave me well suited to the task. Finally, I will continue to champion sail training because I believe more than ever that there is no greater teaching platform than the tall ship and or campus than the sea.

High School Tall Ship Concordia Sinks Off Brazil

I will continue to update this post with articles about the sinking of the Concordia. There’s a lot of duplicate content out there so I’ll do my best to curate the best, most relevant. While I am a huge fan of the Class Afloat program you may see posts with different opinions since I think examining this incident from different perspectives can be valuable and instructive. Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Why I created this long post about Concordia sinking Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 24, 2010

Update March 24, 2010

Student Survival Story from High School Tall Ship Concordia Sinking (video) Sea-Fever blog – March 24, 2010

Update March 15, 2010

Sinking of ship and skiing out of bounds not similar Calgary Herald March 15. 2010

Class Afloat plans to sail again Calgary Herald March 12, 2010

Safety board interviews Concordia captain, officers The Chronicle Herald March 12, 2010

Students granted free use of town recreation facilities SouthshoreNow March 8, 2010

GME EPIRB credited for saving all 64 in schoolship sinking SailWorld.com March 8, 2010

Survivor talks of shipwreck experience Battle Creek Enquirer March 4, 2010

Canadian TSB Investigates The Sinking Of Concordia Off The Coast Of Brazil The Gov Monitor March 3, 2010

Bearspaw student reflects on shipwreck experience Cochrane Eagle March 3, 2010

Crew waited 40 hours for rescue: Concordia officer Toronto Sun – March 3, 2010

Tall ship passed stability testing, owners say Globe and Mail March 2, 2010

Class Afloat Sails On Southshore Now – March 1, 2010

BC Man Helped Others Off Sinking Ship WoodTV8 – Feb. 28, 2010

Buoyed by Coverage Calgary Herald – Feb. 28, 2010

Update Feb. 27, 2010 11:00 EST

Young heroes surfaced in high seas ordeal – Emergency training aboard tall ship helped produce maritime miracle Calgary Herald – Feb. 27, 2010

Ship Sinks, West Michigan Man Helps Passengers Evacuate FOX17 – Feb 26, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Update Feb. 26, 2010 8:00 PM EST

Class Afloat to celebrate safe return – Reception planned to reunite students, staff who survived sinking of SV Concordia Chronicle Herald – Feb. 26, 2010

Safety, preparation go together EMC South Ottawa – Feb. 26, 2010 *must read!

Back on land, but not for good TVNZ – Feb. 26, 2010

Local teenager’s sailing trip abroad ends in open water NC Advertiser – Feb. 26, 2010

Sailing days over, says wreck survivor CBCNews – Feb. 26, 2010

Update Feb. 25, 2010 10:00 PM EST

Interview with Tall Ship Concordia Captain Bill Curry on Sinking Sea-Fever blog Feb. 25, 2010

Update Feb. 25, 2010 noon EST

Whitehorse girl home from tall-ship ordeal CBCNews Feb. 25, 2010

How to be prepared when disaster strikes The Globe and Mail – Feb. 25, 2010

Tall ship crew well-prepared for emergency, says survivor from Gatineau Ottawa Citizen – Feb. 25, 2010

The Sailing Yacht Concordia (Tall ship) due to call at Tristan da Cunha in March sinks off Brazil The Tristan Times (Brazil) Feb. 25, 2010

Tall ship sinking probe focuses on response time TheStar.com – Feb. 24, 2010

Cowichan Bay student at home after shipwreck off Brazil Times Colonist – Feb. 24, 2010

Agency investigating sinking of Concordia to interview ship’s captain this week MetroNews Vancouver – Feb. 24, 2010

Captain of sunken ship to face questions The Edmonton Sun – Feb. 24. 2010

Update Feb. 24, 2010 noon EST

Local native has ties to sunken SV Concordia Standard Freeholder Feb. 24, 2010

Local teen survived tall ship disaster Northumberland Today – Feb. 24. 2010

Class Afloat Ponders the Future The Chronicle Herald – Feb. 24, 2010

Survivors tell tales of 40-hour ordeal at sea The Windsor Star – Feb. 21 2010

NZ student on way home after boat capsized Otago Daily Times – Feb. 24, 2010

West Van teen survives 38-hour life raft ordeal North Shore News – Feb. 24, 2010

Class Afloat prof recounts shipwreck MetroNews.ca – Feb. 23, 2010

Grandmother relieved after hearing from granddaughter who was aboard SV Concordia The News (Pictou) Feb. 23, 2010

Incident Photo of The Week – Tall Ship Capsizes, Students Rescued At Sea gCaptain – Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb. 23, 2010 11:00 PM EST

Brazilian navy faults Canadian ship for sinking The Montreal Gazette – Feb. 23, 2010

Could the Brig Prince William Replace the Barkentine Concordia Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 23, 2010

The Story Behind the Story Lloyd’s List Feb. 24, 2010

Two MOL-owned Woodchip Carriers Rescue Shipwrecked Students PRLog – Feb. 23, 2010

Probe to shed light on sinking of S.V. Concordia The Globe and Mail Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb.23, 2010 6:00 PM EST

Lost-at-sea student describes 41 hours on life raft Peace Arch News – Feb. 23, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Trenton teacher survives ship sinking Trentonian – Feb.23, 2010

N.S. teacher stays calm on rough seas – The Chronicle Herald – Feb. 22, 2010

Emotional bonds forged during 40 hours adrift at sea Calgary Herald – Feb. 23, 2010

Unanswered questions about the sinking Globe and Mail – Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb. 23, 2010 10:00 AM EST

Concordia Liferafts via AMVER blog courtesy of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd

Concordia Rescue Photos via AMVER Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 23, 2010

Exclusive photos of the Concordia rescue – AMVER blog – Feb. 23, 2010

Dead calm to screaming winds – South Atlantic weather changes in seconds, says Brazilian sailor The Chronicle Herald Feb. 23, 2010

‘I didn’t think we would be rescued’: British teenager reveals how she spent two days in a lifeboat in middle of Atlantic after tall ship capsized – DailyMail – Feb. 23, 2010

Tall Ship Teens Saved After Two Days In Ocean SkyNews – Feb. 23, 2010

Concordia’s Voyage and Sinking (Graphic from The Globe and Mail) Sea-Fever blog Feb. 23, 2010

Raising children entails exposing them to risk – Vancouver Sun Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb. 22, 2010 10:00 PM EST

First-hand account of the sinking of the Concordia Globe and Mail Feb. 22, 2010

Former Acadia prof recounts sinking of SV Concordia The Chronicle Herald – Feb. 22, 2010

Calgary teen watched ship go down CBCNews – Feb. 22, 2010

Two rainy nights singing Disney: How Class Afloat survived at sea National Post – Feb. 22, 2010

Burlington teen recounts shipwreck ordeal TheStar.com – Feb. 22, 2010

Islander safe after ship sinks off Brazil The Guardian – Feb. 22, 2010

Teen home after 41 hours on a life raft Peace Arch News – Feb. 22, 2010

Rescued teens reunited with families at Pearson (+video) TheStar.com – Feb. 22, 2010

Concordia, AMVER, EPIRBs and At Sea Rescues Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 22, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available. more about “Students Survive Two Days at Sea – CB…”, posted with vodpod

Update Feb. 22, 2010 Noon EST

Interview with Ben Strong of the United States AMVER unit regarding epirbs and at sea rescues.

AMVER (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) website | blog | Twitter | iPhone App

Update Feb. 22, 2010 9:00 AM EST

School awaits investigation into ship sinking CBCNews Feb. 22, 2010

Students who survived ship sinking arrive back home CTVEdmonton Feb. 22, 2010

Parents of rescued students say full tale of ordeal yet to be told Calgary Herald – Feb. 22, 2010

Students who survived ship sinking arrive at Pearson TheStar.com – Feb. 22, 2010

Rescue light in sky ‘best feeling in world’ for shipwrecked group Vancouver Sun – Feb. 22, 2010

British teenager saved after drifting for two days in Atlantic on a lifeboat London Evening Standard – Feb. 22, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 10:00 PM EST

Message from Class Afloat About Returning Concordia Students – Feb. 21, 2010

Class Afloat program classes to continue Calgary Sun – Feb. 21. 2010

Concordia Timeline: From Abandon Ship to RescueSea-Fever blog via Calgary Herald – Feb. 21. 2010

Shipwrecked teens to reunite with families in Toronto – Toronto Sun – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 8:00 PM EST

Survivor tells sister of ship ordeal The National – Feb. 21, 2010

Uncertainty over whether sea school program will continue after ‘miracle at sea’ Calgary Herald – Feb. 21, 2010

High school on the open seas – Globe and Mail – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 3:00 PM EST

Brazil defends its search efforts in shipwreck – The Washington Post – Feb. 21, 2010

Shipwrecked students drifted in rafts for 24 hours – News3 New Zealand – Feb. 21, 2010

Survivors of Canadian ship sinking prepare for return home from Brazil The Canadian Press – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 12:00 EST

Survival Stories: Pride of Baltimore Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 9:00 AM EST

Concordia, sailing ships and microbursts Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 21, 2010

Domino effect of bad luck led to sinking The Globe and Mail Feb. 21, 2010

Survivors tell tales of 40-hour ordeal at sea – Vancouver Sun – Feb. 21, 2010

Ship’s survivors recall scramble to safety The Globe and Mail – Feb. 21, 2010

Class Afloat attracted only top students Calgary Herald – Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 10:00 PM EST

Shipwrecked Students Feared Remote Death at Sea New York Times Feb. 20, 2010

64 People from Shipwrecked Canadian Sailboat Concordia Arrived Safe in Rio Latin American Herald Tribune Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 8:00 PM EST

“It was like the Titanic” Passengers drifted for 30 hours before rescue TheStar.com Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 5:30 PM EST

We’ve made it! British teenagers survive 40-hour ordeal after ship is sunk by towering waves Mail Online Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Ship sinking was like the Titanic, student tells dad The Star.com Feb. 20, 2010

Survivors say Canadian tall ship sank in minutes (video/audio)  CTV Edmonton – Feb. 20, 2010

Captain of floating university: Sudden ‘microburst’ knocked ship onto side off Brazilian coast The Canadian Press – Feb. 20, 2010

Scorza AFP Getty images

Rescued Canadians dock in Rio – The Globe and Mail – Feb. 20, 2010

Rescued students arrive in Rio – CBC News – Feb. 20, 2010

Training helped save students as Canadian ship sank: teacher The Star.com – Feb. 20, 2010

‘Absolute nightmare’ ends well for students Edmonton Journal – Feb. 20, 2010

Canadian agency won’t play big role in probe The Chronicle Herald – Feb 20, 2010

Updated  Feb. 19, 2010 – 11:00 PM EST

Students safe after capsizing of N.S.-based ship CBC – Feb. 19, 2010

Canadian School Ship Sinks Off Brazil; All Rescued NPR – Feb. 19, 2010

Updated Feb. 19, 2010 – 10:00 PM EST There is still so little information available about what happened but the following story at least let’s us know that some communication has occurred with the captains of both the Concordia and the rescuing ship and that there are no serious injuries. The rest at this point is all speculation and conjecture. One thing that we do know for sure is that going to sea has always been and will always be fraught with risk and that’s one of the reasons why the experience can be so powerful.

Nova Scotia school ship sinks off Brazil; all safe but parents want answers The Canadian Press – Feb. 19, 2010

——————————————-

Very sad news today about the sinking of the high school tall ship Concordia sinking off the coast of Brazil in heavy weather. Thankfully all students and crew were rescued.

This story is still developing so not a lot of details are available; however, here are a few news reports.

Students rescued from sinking ship – CBC News Feb. 19, 2010

Canadian students ‘safe’ after boat capsizes off Brazil – TheStar.com Feb. 19, 2010

64 rescued after ‘catastrophic problems’ strike Canadian ship off Brazil – The Gazette – Feb. 19, 2010

I’ve posted about Concordia’s amazing program in the past and know the former owner and several of the captains and crew from my American Sail Training Association days. If you are not familiar with the Concordia or Class Afloat, please take a few minutes to watch this video about their amazing life forming programs for young students.

During a time when so many sail training vessels and tall ships are experiencing challenges, this is even more sad news. Concordia was a wonderful ship that did great work over the years and she will be sorely missed.

Tall Ships Sailors Never Do Anything Easy

Think sailing a tall ship is challenging? That’s nothing compared to building one. Think building one is difficult, that’s nothing compared to finding the trees, cutting them down, dragging them out of the jungle, loading them on another tall ship and sailing them halfway around the world. Tall ships sailors never do anything easy.

Grab a beer and some popcorn because this will be the best reality TV that you’ll watch this week.

Flag dip to my friend Voytec on Facebook.

Sad News from the Tall Ships Semester for Girls Today

 Tall Ship Education Academy

From the Tall Ship Education Academy blog:

The Tall Ship Education Academy, like many wonderful non profits, has been losing significant funding over the past year of economic turmoil. Because of this, our Board of Directors recently made the tough decision to suspend operations of the Tall Ship Education Academy for the next year or two.

During this suspension, we will not run our programs: Tall Ship Semester for Girls, Girls Summer at Sea or Women’s Challenge. We will become a fully volunteer organization and close our office at SF State.

This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the very first Tall Ship Semester for Girls. As many of you know, the Tall Ship Education Academy began with a pilot project in 1998 run by Caitlin Schwarzman as part of her Masters Thesis at SF State University. Due to its success, Mercy High School supported Caitlin in expanding the one week pilot to a full semester program. In the spring of 1999, twelve girls explored the California and Mexico coast aboard the Californian. The next year, Nettie Kelly joined the 2nd Tall Ship Semester for Girls, as an instructor and the following year became the director of the program.

We are very proud of the work that we have done in providing a life-changing experience for over 125 girls. Our continued contact with these girls shows that they are confidently pursuing education, participating in their community and exploring the world. We will look to this core group of people to be a part of our research efforts in the near future, and as integral members of the next phase of this organization.

In ten years, the Tall Ship Semester for Girls has evolved into a Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredited non profit educational organization. We are recognized for providing powerful developmental experiences for Bay Area young women. We are truly a community based organization, depending on the support of individuals, organizations, foundations and institutions for our existence. The suspension of our programs is in some ways a symptom of the health of our community.

We want to thank you for your interest in and support of the Tall Ship Education Academy. We have done our work because you have been a part of our vision for girls’ education. We hope you will continue to play that vital role in our community.

Hopefully their suspension will be short-lived because this is exactly the type of program which we should be encouraging, promoting, supporting and celebrating. It’s where sail training can do it’s best work.

This is what will be missed.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysn4i6chMYk]
YouTube – Tall Ship Semester for Girls

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Every college student in America could benefit from this experience…

Every college student in America the world could benefit from this experience…

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EttobEpldO8]
YouTube – A Five Minute Look at SEA Semester

Great video by Ryan Maneri, an SEA alum and founder of Oystercatcher Media. Ryan also produced SEA Semester – Pursue it!

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Tallest Ship Brings High Hopes to Littlest State

Oliver H. Perry by Onne Van der Wal

While the title of this post sounds a bit like a children’s story, it’s really all big business.

On January 23, 2009, Ariana Green wrote an article in the NY Times titled In Rhode Island, Hoping a Tall Ship Can Help a Sagging Economy about a nonprofit organization, Tall Ships Rhode Island, purchasing a less than half finished tall ship from a foundering Canadian organization with the hopes boosting their tiny states economy, among other things.

Tall ships in America got their start in Newport, RI back in 1973 when Barclay Warburton III, along with a group of like minded maritime enthusiasts including Bart Dunbar, also member of the current group, established a new nonprofit to advance the concept of sail training and organize the US Bicentennial Tall Ships Celebrations in 1976. The American Sail Training Association was founded and over the years has grown to become a national and international nonprofit whose mission is to “encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public and support education under sail.” (I was the executive director of the ASTA from 2001 through 2006.)

Warburton and the ASTA founders actions were very important to the local community because up until 1973 Newport was a Navy town. However, in that year, the fleet left, the base was downsized significantly and Newport was left pondering a potentially dismal economic future. Tall Ships and the Americas Cup would end up saving the day by transforming the city into one of the sailing capital’s of the world and a maritime heritage tourism destination.

Fast forward 36 years and can the current group pull another miracle out of their duffle bag? Green writes:

As Rhode Island struggles with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates, city and state officials hope that turning the hull into a tall ship will create jobs, attract tourists and spur interest in the state’s maritime history.

“Today cities realize they benefit from having a flagship for their community,” said Timothy Walker, who teaches maritime history at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. “It’s a way to be really visible and make an impression that can travel. It can literally fly the flag for a community.”

But not everyone is aboard with an optimistic assessment:

But Jeff Bolster, a professor of maritime history at the University of New Hampshire, said officials should not overestimate the economic contribution a ship project would make.

“A vessel of this scale is not going to be a huge help to the ailing economy,” Mr. Bolster said. “It has a modest operating budget, so it alone can’t solve the state’s fiscal problems in a major way.”

It will be all very interesting to watch. This is a very experienced group being led by Captain Richard Bailey who for years ran popular sail training programs aboard the HMS Rose until to she was sold to Fox to star in Master & Commander as the HMS Surprise. Today the Rose/Surprise is part of the San Diego Maritime Museum’s fleet of historic ships.

On the downside is that the Oliver Hazard Perry is a very large ship, second only to the USCGC Barque EAGLE in the United States. Ships this size are very costly to run and often difficult to fill. While nearly anyone who has sailed aboard a tall ship will vouch for it’s power in being a life changing experience, marketing the concept to wider public has always been challenging. The current projected cost of the project is $5 million and her scheduled launch is 2011, but I have yet to see a ship of this scale come in on budget and on time. Tall Ships Rhode Island has always been good at raising money and in this economy and for the foreseeable future, they have to really count on all of the contacts, connections and tricks they can pull out of their ditty bags.

This is a very exciting project for the City of Newport, the State of Rhode Island, the entire region and even the nation. While it seems pretty ambitious in scale, it’s no less so than what Barclay Warburton III pulled off in the early 1970’s. I bet he’s looking down and giving Tall Ships Rhode Island a big Huzzah for their efforts.

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