Updated Feb 16, 2012:
Toronto Brgiantine’s vessels, STV Pathfinder and TS Playfair, have participated in a number of international events. The most recent being in 2010 with the 2010 Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge. The next one will be in 2013.
In 1976, we participated in OP Sail’76 in New York City. This was one of the greatest gatherings of tall ships from around the world. The 1976 event was the second in a series of 6 events so far, with the next one planned for 2012. The Ops Sail has the goals of promoting good will and cooperation between countries while providing sail training and celebrating marine history.
Toronto Brigantine’s journey to OpSail began in Toronto with a ceremony to send off Pathfinder and Playfair and their crew. TBI’s boats then joined up with our “sister” St. Lawrence II in Kingston, for another send off with the three boats.
Here is a copy of the Program from these ceremonies.
All three of the vessels are listed in the Operation Sail 1976 Program guide in TBI’s archives [received from Mike Leigh]:
- Pathfinder. Built in Kingston Ontario in 1963, this 71′ brigantine is operated as a schoolship by Toronto Brigantine Inc of Toronto. She brings 21 Canadian sail trainees to Opsail ’76.
- Playfair. Launched this year at Kingston Ontario, this 72′ brigantine is another sailtraining vessel operated by Toronto Brigantine Inc. Like Pathfinder, she brings 21 Canadian sea cadets to Opsail ’76.
Here is a picture of a Christmas postcard that shows the boats in the sail. The picture was posted to Facebook by Warren Jones.
Both the STV Pathfinder and TS Playfair sailed with our sister ship, St-Lawrence II from Kingston, through the Bras d’Or and down the east coast to New York City.
Below, Is a picture of the three ships from St-Lawrence II’s website.
Richard Birchall was aboard the Pathfinder as they participated in the Bicentennial Fleet Review and the Parade of Ships on the Hudson River and New York Harbour on July 4th.
Mark Collins, another TBI alumni remembers his Op Sail ’76 adventures as well – while he wasn’t part of the sail down to NYC, he did bus down to join the boats and host “Open Ship” day, explore New York city and do part of the sail back around Island to Sag Harbor before taking the bus back to Toronto. He started and ended the summer at Waupoos Island. Click here for his memories of the trip.
Bill Stewart also remembers Opsail: “actually I did march – tickertap parade up Broadway – fantastic.”
David Carlson sailed to Opsail 76 with fellow crew John and Arnie Mierins and Gad Perry among others. His memories were recorded in an article “Those Who Go Down to the Sea In Ships” in the Ashbury College yearbook, Ashburian 1977. There were memories of seasickness, running aground, being tossed about by the waves of passing tankers in the St Lawrence and salty ways of the ocean, heavy seas and fog … and finally getting a MacDonalds hamburger after a stretch of missing fresh water …and he categorized it overall as “a peak experience”. See the article here.
This photo was provided by Jurgen Braunohler and is believed to have been taken by Ken Elliott while on the Atlantic passage to NYC in 1976 and click here to see other photos of the brigs taken by Ken Elliot.
We look forward to hearing more stories and getting more pictures from this event from our Toronto Brigantine alumni!
I can imagine that there was always something new and interesting to see and until we get a chance to review our photo archives and connect with other Alumni that were there that might also have some photos, here are links to sites with photos on the internet.
- John Cerre posted some pictures from the event on SmugMug .
- GerryMcGee also posted some pictures from the event SmugMug.
- There is even a book “The Tall Ships: Official OpSail ’76 portfolio by Frank Osborn Braynard who was co-founder of the Ops Sail. I wonder if our Pathfinder is in it! There is a copy of the book is available at a number of different book stores in the US and one here in Toronto, CMG Books. (check out Alberis in case you want to buy one of them). I sent a note to see if they would donate the copy to a silent auction. Lets see what we hear!
An interesting bit of Trivia…. The Christian Radich, from Norway, also participated in the Operation Sail parade in New York Harbor on July 4, 1976. The founding of Toronto Brigantine was actually inspired by the film, Windjammer, by J Garfield Lorriman and his wife Mary back in 1960. And after seeing that movie, the dream to build a youth sail training ship for Toronto was born and the launch of our first ship the Pathfinder in 1964. This picture of the Christian Radich was taken by Jim McNitt “off Cape Bay near Philadelphia in 1975. Jim has quite a portfolio of pictures, some that he has posted here.
And for those interested in seeing some of the Navy Ships from the Op Sail ’76, some of the same vessels may be participating in Op Sail events being planned on the Great Lakes in 2013 as part of the Bicentennial of 1812 celebrations.
- In 2010, Toronto was planned to be part of a launch event org by US Navy with Op-Sail working up to the Bicentennial 1812 celebrations. Specifically a bunch of US Navy fleet will be in Toronto Sep 1-5 with CNE and Air Show as part of an overall tour including Norfolk, Boston, Baltimore, NY and Toronto. The Brigantine’s will be out-of-town on the summer sail schedule so will miss it.
- In 2012, US Navy will make Great Lakes Tour – Kingston, Toronto (Battle of York in April), ending in Chicago and coincides with much of the Toronto Brigantine summer sail schedule, so we should be able to participate in some capacity in the Op Sail activities in the Great Lakes.