One of the Great Lakes Bay region’s most popular events is the Tall Ship Celebration. Every year, tall ships from all over the world visit Bay City, Mich., but there are two ships that call the Saginaw Bay home.
Docked downtown, the 85-foot-long schooner, the Appledore IV, is Bay City’s home ship.
“People are fascinated by history. They're always intrigued by it, it's interesting to know where we came from and where we're headed,” said Scott Ellis, director of marketing for BaySail, a nonprofit operating both the Appledore IV and V.
She was built in 1989 in Florida but spent the first few years of her life in the Grand Traverse Bay.
“She was actually built for a private family and their private use. They commissioned five total ships, the Appledore series one through five,” Ellis said, “they commissioned them to sail around the world with their family, it was a real passion of theirs.”
However, 20 years ago, Appledore IV and V made their way to the Saginaw Bay region.
“Bay City has a rich maritime history so it made sense we work to bring a tall ship here,” Ellis said.
One of the major functions of the Appledore IV and V is education. Students will bring their science and biology lessons onto the open water.
“We also do sail training programs for teenagers, that's where they go out on board for a week to ten days at a time and get to learn all aspects of living aboard and working on a tall ship,” Ellis said.
In fact, their senior deckhand trained in that program and moved to a paid crew position. The crew works full-time during the sailing season: a captain and four or five deckhands.
“It is a physically demanding job,” Ellis said.
With two decades of non-profit experience, we asked, what’s the secret to BaySail’s success?
“It’s the support of individuals, businesses, who believe in your mission and really want to do something to impact positive change,” Ellis said.
The Appledore tall ships are celebrating 20 years in Bay City this August with free public sails. To learn more or sign up, please click here.
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