the Lakes May 18, 2005
Stops in Oswego
Richard Palmer jpalme11
After a successful voyage through
the Barge Canal, the Milwaukee-based
Lake schooner "Denis Sullivan"
off in Oswego for nearly a week to be rigged. The scenes are reminiscent
of old sailing days in Oswego, and
the "Sullivan" is the type of schooner built at by George Goble in the
The vessel, "Denis Sullivan"
back up through the Barge Canal and had to be fitted out and masts stepped
before proceeding to Milwaukee.
After wintering and touring the Bahamas, the Milwaukee-based tall ship,
"Denis Sullivan," returned to the Great Lakes via the Barge Canal to
Lake Ontario in May, 2005. The Sullivan is a replica of a 19th century
three-masted Great Lakes schooner. It was a rare opportunity for
Oswego residents to view the three-masted schooner, and several days
were spent at the dock adjacent to the H. Lee White Marine Museum
while the crew stepped the masts and installed her standing and running
Spring in upstate New York, more frequently than not, means
chilly temperatures, and there was still ice in the Mohawk River and the
canal as the vessel made its way west from Albany. After a restful stop
in Little Falls, the third day on the canal brought the vessel another
48 miles to Sylvan Beach. The tug "Governor Roosevelt" towed the schooner
across Oneida Lake. They docked at Brewerton for the night, and the
following day were only able to make it to Three Rivers, about five
miles above Phoenix. The Oswego section had been closed due to high water.
The Sullivan made it to Oswego on May 9, and by 9:30 a.m., crews
were stepping the masts in a flurry of activity, with the help of a crane.
The vessel was then moved to the west side of the H. Lee White Marine Museum
dock to fit out the schooner with the standing and running rigging.
While this was occurring, many people, including school groups, toured
the vessel. It is interesting to note that three masted schooners similar
to Sullivan were built in Oswego in the 1870s.
A few entries from Captain John Lorenz's log:
May 15 - We have finally finished re-rigging
the Sullivan. With 44 passengers aboard,we slipped the dock lines in the
Oswego Harbor and set sail for Sodus Point. As we sailed along we experienced
every kind of weather you can imagine rain, sleet, and sunshine. Everyone
onboard enjoyed the sail despite the crazy weather.
"On our way into Sodus Point we were greeted by a local fireboat and a
Sodus Bay Yacht Club boat who escorted us past the lighthouse and into
the harbor. At the dock we were welcomed again with a party at the Kaitlynn
Marina. The entire crew received packets of information all about Sodus
Point from the Marina manager to help us feel right at home. Thank you
to everyone in Sodus Point for the warm welcome!
"After a warm shower and a bit of laundry we settled in for a relaxing
evening just as it began to rain. It rained hard all night, while we slept
in our warm dry bunks.
"In the morning we set sail for Erie Pennsylvania. Our cruise track will
take us through another canal located between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie
called the Welland Canal. There are eight locks in the Welland Canal that
lift boats of all kinds up to Lake Erie or down to Lake Ontario. Once we
enter the Welland Canal, depending on the amount of traffic, it will take
us anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to reach Lake Erie."
"Wednesday, May 18 - Today was a cool sunny day with very little
wind. We docked at the Maritime Museum in Erie, Pa., next to the Niagara,
a tall ship that served in the battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
The present Niagara is a reconstruction of the original vessel and it is
an amazing ship. We took a tour of the ship and of the Maritime Museum
today it was fantastic!
"We bent on, or attached, the topsails today. The last sail to go up was
the raffee, the triangular sail on the foremast that is unique to Great
Lakes schooners. We now have all ten sails ready to set! Hopefully, when
we leave tomorrow morning we will be able to set them all.
"Friday, May 20 - Yesterday we set all 10 sails! The boat was beautiful!
We were flying across Lake Erie at 6.5 knots. As the sun began to go down
so did the topsails, hopefully we will have many more days of sailing under
"While sailing across Lake Erie yesterday we noticed a lot of small dead
fish floating in the water. So…we took a quick water sample to test hoping
to find out what was causing the fish to die. Everything was normal except
for the pH. The average pH reading has been 6.6, but today it was 6. Near
us the "Lake Guardian," a research vessel, was also sampling the
water. We radioed them to see if they had an answer for us. To our surprise
they too were trying to find out what was causing the fish to die.
"With good winds all day and through the night we reached the Detroit River
ahead head of schedule. The river is really neat because on one side
of the river is the U.S. and the other side is Canada. As we entered the
river we fired a cannon salute to both sides."
"Sunday, May 22 - The ever changing weather brought us warmer
temperatures and sun. We even brought out our shorts again. However, we
expect rain later on today. Our next stop is Alpena, Mich.
located on the northern shores of Lake Huron. In Alpena we will spend a
couple of days at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
" Yesterday, while we were docked in Algonac, we finished up some painting
on the boat. Michael and Meridith even painted part of the hull which meant
they spent the entire afternoon in a small boat tied to the side of the
Sullivan. At the end of the day we stood back to admire our work. The new
coat of paint glimmered in the sunlight. The Sullivan sure looks good in
her new coat of paint! "
At Algonac, Capt. Lorenz turned the vessel over to Capt. John Tiffany,
who would carry the voyage through to Milwaukee. Here, the vessel entered
The log continues:
May 26 - Today in Alpena it is sunny but cool. We plan to finish
our sanding and painting projects before dinner and after dinner we will
slip the dock lines and set sail for Port Washington.
"Yesterday we took a group of folks sailing from the Thunder Bay National
Marine Sanctuary. Everyone helped raise the sails and some even took a
turn at the helm. It was a good time for all. Thunder Bay is really a beautiful
place to sail!
"Everyone in Alpena has been so kind to us. We have had quite a few people
come by to say hello and visit while we painted. Some even wondered if
we were available for public sails while we were here. Unfortunately our
stay did not allow for public sails this time, but in the fall there will
be many opportunities to sail on the Sullivan. A couple of school groups
stopped by too! They had lots of questions about the Denis Sullivan. We
answered their questions and gave them a tour of the ship from the dock.
We wish everyone in Alpena a great summer and we look forward to visiting
again in the fall."
A day-long celebration including presentations and other events
highlighted the arrival of the Sullivan in Milwaukee on June 4, 2005.
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June 2005 Richard Palmer, Photo's and article
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