Thursday, September 27, 2012

A bit of history...

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.

The Niagara 

 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.


  1. Twenty students learning to sail ... what a great opportunity! Looks like a great tour.

  2. Hey, bring that cannon back to "C" dock. There is a cannon smith on "C" but they are too small. Maybe "Assualt Weapon" can get us into a little more history making. Champagne corks just don't sink ships.

    FYI, is Connie's 60th birthday.

    Stay safe out there in the fresh water sea. Loved the history lesson.

    Brad and Glo

  3. Pretty cool! keep em' comin'. (bear)

  4. Britain viewed America as traders and often pulled men from US flagged ships which angered Washington. Britain was fighting Napoleon (Waterloo) and had zero interest in expansion in America.Your president said "taking Canada is just a matter of marching north". It occurred to the "Hawks" that Britain was too busy to put up a fight. Your revisionist history makes the USA look like a victim which is wrong. After Commodore Perry won the Battle of Lake Erie he ordered his men to sail back to Erie and anchor in a bay. He ordered them to remain with the ships and left for Washington and the fame that came with it. His men suffered horribly and many died waiting for his return. The bay has been called Misery bay ever since. Earlier in the year Perry could not get out of Erie Penn because the British maintained a blockade. An army commander died back in Amherstburg and the British admiral sailed back to "escort" his widow across lake Erie and try to convince her to marry him on the way. Perry got out. Cannons were fired using goose quills as fuses. they were left in the ran the night before the battle and the British Tars had to fire their cannon with pistols which didn't work. A hot chick and a dumb fuse maker cost them the battle.


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