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Tuesday, April 26, 2016


A courageous crew of sailors from around the world set sail aboard the world’s largest Viking ship. Departing from her homeport in Haugesund, Norway, on Sunday, April 24. Draken Harald Hårfagre and her crew committed to the daring journey to cross the North Atlantic for her Expedition America. The great ship will be joining the fleet of international tall ships in Toronto for the Redpath Waterfront Festival presented by Ports Toronto from July 1 to 3.

The Expedition America project curator, Sigur Aase, wanted Draken Harald Hårfagre to follow in the wake of one of the most challenging Viking explorations – the Viking discovery of the New World. Built with archaeological knowledge of ships, extensive research of Norse literature and using boatbuilding traditions, Draken Harald Hårfagre is what Vikings considered a “Great Ship.” Before casting her sails for Expedition America, Draken Harald Hårfagre was celebrated with a Dragon’s Head Ceremony. The dragon’s head is traditionally not mounted until departure for long journeys to defend the ship and her crew from sea monsters, bad weather, evil creatures and unexpected raids. The ship’s mythological head was revealed in the ceremony, and the great adventure of sailing the historical route was wished “Fair winds and following seas.”

"Even though she is a great sailing ship, no one can predict the weather conditions along the way and the crew will face a real challenge," states Björn Ahlander, captain of Draken Harald Hårfagre. "It’s hard to say which stretch will be the toughest before we’ve set sail, but the waters of Cape Farewell by the coast of Greenland are among the most dangerous waters in the world. It’s extremely windswept and there will probably be a lot of ice."

Draken is crewed by 32 sailors from Norway, Sweden, USA, Canada (Jeff Lievre, Vancouver Island), Estonia, Russia, Spain, France and the UK, all of who were chosen from over 4,000 male and female applicants worldwide. Draken Harald Hårfagre does not provide any shelter for the crew other than a tent where the rotating crew sleep, 16 at a time, four hours work and four hours sleep. The crew will take on the challenge of crossing the North Atlantic Ocean, taking the same route the original Vikings travelled 1,000 years ago from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and finally the USA.

"It is a challenge to tame the Dragon, which makes reliable seamanship extremely important for the expedition," adds Ahlander. "The work onboard is heavy, wet and cold, therefore it demands a great physical and mental condition. There will be no privacy for the crew, they will be exposed to rain and cold weather with only short breaks to sleep."

Draken Harald Hårfagre is 114 ft long and has an oak hull, a Douglas fir mast, hemp rigging and a 260 square metre silk sail. If there is not enough wind, Draken Harald Hårfagre is equipped with 50 oars that take two oarsmen per oar to row. For voyage updates, visit HERE.



Step back in time aboard El Galeón, a breathtaking 1:1 scale reconstruction of a 16th century Spanish galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet. Built in Spain by the Nao Victoria Foundation to be a unique vessel where tradition and modernity meet and represent the Spanish culture, El Galeón is a replica of the Spanish galleons that linked Asia, America and Spain for three centuries. El Galeón will participate in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2016 series, and the Festival will be the first port to launch the series. With more than 3,400 square feet, the ship has six decks to explore, 164’ long and has three masts and seven sails.


Built in Baltimore’s inner harbour, Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, which is a reproduction of an 1812-era topsail schooner. Distinguished from other topsail schooners of the time by its backward-raked masts, the Baltimore Clippers had the speed and agility to outmanoeuvre the heavier ships of the Royal Navy. Pride of Baltimore II has sailed nearly 200,000 miles and visited over 200 ports in 40 countries in North, South, and Central America, Europe, and Asia. The Pride of Baltimore II has a sail area of 9,018 sq. ft. and is 157’ long.


Harbour Square Park will be host to four Canadian Brigantines at this year's RWF, the STV Fair Jeanne (Ottawa), St. Lawrence II (Kingston), TS Playfair (Toronto), and STV Pathfinder (Toronto).


Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the decks of two of the Navy’s 55-metre coastal defence vessels, Her Majesty's Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and HMCS Goose Bay, throughout the weekend. Early risers can come to Harbour Square Park and join the Navy for a fun and motivating 5 km run, July 1 and 2 at 8 am. Join the Royal Canadian Navy at Toronto’s HMCS York! They are actively recruiting for a variety of exciting careers and opportunities.

For information on the Redpath Waterfront Festival, contact:

Peggy Sheffield/Peggy Sheffield & Associates Inc.
Office: 416 246 0474 Cell and text 416 822 8511
Posted by at 11:54 AM

Monday, April 25, 2016


A marine supply store sticker and engine serial number allowed authorities identify the boat of two Florida teens who went missing at sea last summer. The discovery of the single-engine vessel on which 14 year olds Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos got lost at sea during severe weather on July 24 2015 was confirmed by the Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The 19-foot Seacraft vessel was found March 18, 2016 by the Norwegian supply ship Edda Fjord about 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda. There was no indication of what happened to the missing boys. The boat, floating in the shipping lane, was removed from the water by the crew of the Norwegian ship, which was returning to Norway, Doss said. Personal items, including a cell phone and plastic tackle boxes, were found on board.

The families of the two boys have been notified and the boat is expected to arrive by shipping container in the United States from Norway on May 16, 2016. The personal effects that were onboard the boat will be returned to the families of the victims. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will examine the vessel for new information and return the boat to the family.

Days after the boys went missing, searchers located the boat dozens of miles off Florida’s Atlantic coast, well north of Jupiter, the community the pair left days earlier. The Coast Guard attached a data marker buoy to the boat because the water was too deep for an anchor. One life jacket was found in the water, but there was no sign of the boys. It’s unknown whether they were wearing life jackets. The boat drifted away by the time investigators arrived with salvage equipment to tow it about 67 nautical miles off Florida’s Ponce de Leon Inlet. The data marker buoy malfunctioned, and the craft was not located again until its retrieval by the Edda Fjord.

The Coast Guard estimated that someone could survive in the warm Atlantic waters for a long as five days at that time of year. Austin and Perry left Jupiter on July 24, 2015. The Coast Guard said it had information that the boys may have told others through social media that they planned to travel to the Bahamas, but officials and family members say they’re not sure of the purpose of the boys’ trip and the destination. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said a significant squall hit the area about the time they left — one that that could have disabled or even capsized their boat. The National Weather Service posted special marine warnings, telling boaters to seek shelter about the time they departed. Later that day, when one of the boys’ grandmothers didn’t hear from them, she reported them missing.

Posted by at 4:01 PM