Chicago became the financial powerhouse because of its location to the center of the country and to the West, with its major shipping port on the Great Lakes in its early days and connected sailing shipments to the massive rail hub of Chicago. All sorts of goods sailed into Chicago, furs, lumber, etc. The Chicago River was filled with Great Lakes Schooners making their trade.
Today, we generically call these older vessels “Tall Ships.” Maybe you’re a history buff and want to understand the trade of the 1800’s on the Great lakes. We have five Tall Ships on Lake Michigan available for you to step on board and go sailing, all within a 2 hour drive of Chicago, except the Manitou in Traverse City, as well as the Chicago Tall Ships Festival where you may board and inspect a number of Tall Ships at Navy Pier all in one day. These five Lake Michigan Tall Ships are the longest sailboats on our Lake, and they don’t get any bigger around here.
These boats do move around the Great Lakes during the summer, check to see if they are in port before you go, or catch up to them in a foreign port!
Michigan Schooner Festival, Traverse City, MI
September 19,2014 – September 21, 2014
Most of Lake Michigan’s Tall Ships in one place with pirates, music, presentations, food, craftsmen, and more!
- Inland Seas
- Denis Sullivan
- Friend’s Good Will
148′ “Windy” at Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
A four masted gaff topsail schooner.
101′ “Friends Good Will”, South Haven, MI
Friends Good Will had been chartered by the U.S. Government to supply Fort Dearborn in Chicago during the War of 1812. Not knowing the British had captured the Mackinac Island a short time before, in a ruse, the British flew an American Flag at Fort Mackinac. Friends Good Will sailed into port and was easily captured in a surprise attack. The British renamed the vessel “Little Belt” and turned her into a man-o-war. Today’s Friends Good Will is a replica.
77′ “Red Witch”, Chicago, IL
Having started her career in 1986 and sailed in Hawaii and San Diego, she came to the Great Lakes about 10 years ago.
62′ Edith M. Becker, Sister Bay, WI
Galf-rigged schooner that twice sailed around the world.
137′ “Denis Sullivan”, Milwaukee, WI
This Great Lakes Schooner, launched in 2000 was named after one of the most prominent ship captains who plied the Great Lakes.
114′ “Manitou”, Traverse City, MI
This replica of an 1800’s cargo schooner was built in Portsmouth, NH in 1983.
63′ Wind Dancer, Grand Haven, MI
Double Gaff Rigged Schooner
77′ “Inland Seas”, Suttons Bay, MI
This two masted schooner was designed for science learning with overnights aboard.
52′ “Champion”, Traverse City, MI
1870’s style gaff-rigged cutter
87′ “Welcome”, Traverse City, MI
Armed Sloop built for Fort Michilimackinac’s 200th anniversary of Independence Day. Currently awaiting sale to Emmet County, MI.
92′ “Madeline”, Elmwood Township, MI
Tall Ships Chicago 2016
July 27 – 31, 2016
For one person to buy tickets to go on a couple hour sailing trips on the first five listed Lake Michigan Tall Ships, and to visit the Tall Ships Chicago will set you back less than $200 not including gas money to get to the boats. You can spend days sailing on the biggest sailboats Lake Michigan has to offer.
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