Since we did not sail today we decided to explore a little of the waterfront in Erie. We spent time at the Maritime Museum, where a replica of Perry’s ship, the Niagara is docked. We toured the ship with a very interesting tour guide. He sailed on this particular ship for ten years. The ship goes to different cities on Lake Erie for tours, and does day cruises. Niagara has a crew of forty, including twenty students learning to sail a square rigger. The ship was beautiful and the tour was very educational.
A brief history lesson…
After the American Revolution, England was not happy with the independence of the thirteen American Colonies, and still had ideas about expansion in America. One of the areas of disagreement focused on the area around the Great Lakes, the border between British Canada America. On June 18, 1812 America declared war on England…sometimes referred to as the second war for independence. It is a historical fact that America was unprepared for war. Initially the war did not go well for America with the British taking Detroit and Mackinac, as well as Ft. Dearborn, (Chicago). President Madison was very interested in retaining control of Lake Erie. He ordered a naval fleet of ships to be built. Construction of the fleet was mostly done by hand in Erie, Pennsylvania. Presque Isle Bay was an ideal spot to build the fleet because British Ships could not get in because of their deep draft. Oliver Perry took charge of the operation in the Spring of 1813. The battle took place near Put-in-Bay, on September 10, 1813. Even though the British cannons could fire a distance of one mile and the American cannons could only fire one half of a mile, Perry and the Americans still won the battle. There were many reasons for the victory, but one was that the British officers would dress as officers making themselves targets, while Perry wore a seaman's coat. “We have met the enemy and they are ours”…remember Perry’s quote from American History? The victory secured Lake Erie, which is now part of the largest unguarded border in the world. If you are interested in reading more about this battle just google The Battle for Lake Erie. It is fascinating.
Masts and rigging...
How is this for a long board?
One of the cannons that would only shoot 1/2 mile. I was thinking that this would be useful to help enforce a no wake zone.
Isn't this little sailboat cute?
Tomorrow we hope to sail to to Dunkirk New York, and then Saturday on to Buffalo. The winds are out of the Northeast right now...the direction we want to go. They are supposed to shift to the East by morning.
So far the trip has been great. We are feeling some urgency to get across New York before it gets too cold.
Thanks for checking out the blog.