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I post this as the race is approaching its finish; see live tracking at the bottom here.

Twenty-fours hours ago Baltimore-based Chock WYTL-65602 was leaving Annapolis to go on station as pin boat 1 . . . the west side of the starting gate.  Pin boat here takes on a whole new meaning.  For a Chock-sibling with a different mission, see bowsprite’s latest here.

Norfolk Rebel, currently itself transformed into a schooner and sailing, was the other pin boat.  Here the jaunty captain and crew relax as schooners arrive at the starting line midday yesterday.

Condor was our platform, dashing around trying to catch the arriving schooners as they plotted a “red-carpet” course toward the pin boats.  No offense to the smaller, class B boats . . . the faster ones . . . but we focused on the larger class A boats.  First in was A. J. Meerwald.  Links to many of the vessels can be found here for full info, but Meerwald is 84 years afloat.

Next across the red carpet . . . Sultana . . .

Lady Maryland . . . whom I sawsome years back in the sixth boro,

Some of the class B boats like the one in the distance . . . I never could identify.  Any help?  RORO is Rigel Leader.

Mystic Whaler and unidentified in background.

And the two vessels  (sort of) that started it all . . .  From l to r, 1916-launched, Tottenville NY-built Virgina  and Pride of Baltimore 2.

Kings Pointer . . .  Summerwind, a 1929 Alden schooner, and unidentified smaller vessels.

Anyone identify these?

Libertate.

A part of the field just minutes before the starter-cannon.

When a schooner races starts on a day with little wind, vessels crowd on all manner of sail, and yet . . . the “natives” on SUPs pass them.  I believe the schooner is Prom Queen, now vying for first across the finish line.

Mystic Whaler and Summerwind, with bulker Clipper Emperor in the distance.

Part of the field follows.  Notice the difference between the start of a schooner race and a tug race.

First Coast bypassed the schooners towing a barge and was already in Norfolk by the wee hours today.

The natives sat down on their boards and hung out at pin boat Chock,

as racers rocket south toward Norfolk.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Thanks to anyone who can identify some of the vessels I could not.

More from the race’s start tomorrow.

Here’s  some of my May 2010 coverage of Fleet Week’s arrival.  So Fleet Week and OpSail 2012 have converged, commingling state-of-the-art with traditional vessels.   Now add  into the mix F/A-18s and Hudson river water pumped through the system of  1931 John J. Harvey.  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

Leading the fleet is Eagle.

And leading the tall ships is J. S. de Elcano (1927).

The day was blessed with atmospheric light

…and acrobatic and disciplined sailors.

Not as common a name to our ears as Magellan, Elcano was Magellan’s second-in-command and the one who completed “Magellan’s circumnavigation” more than a year after Magellan was killed in 1521.

Vessels included destroyer USS Roosevelt (commissioned 2000),

Gazela (1901), (Get tickets to this weekend’s Gazela theater here.)

USS San Jacinto (commissioned 1988),

and Dewaruci (launched 1953, keel laid 1932).

I wondered what these crew would do if the ominous sky sent thunder and lightning.

Etoile, I believe, was there as were

La Belle Poule (1932),

and Cisne Branco  (2000) and   HCMS Iroquois (1970, 1992).

Crew rode high in the rigging of Cisne Branco.

Cuauhtemoc (commissioned 1982) passed in review with

more crew in the rigging.

Emily Miller made the parade and in the distance, it’s  USS Gonzalez (commissioned 1996).

Click here for info on the namesake for DDG-66.

Appledore 5 crosses JS Shirane (commissioned 1980).

The sailing vessel heeled over is Summerwind (1929) and approaching is James Turecamo  (1969), prepared to handle white hulls.

Pride of Baltimore II is especially significant, given that the rationale for an OpSail event this year is the bicentennial of the war of 1812.   This fact also makes significant the participation by a Canadian and a British vessel in Fleet Week.

And huge flag . . . says it’s Gloria  (commissioned 1968), passing

RFA Argus, container ship turned floating hospital.

Colombian crew –men and women–in the rigging

and on the jibbom put on a colorful show.

Guayas (commissioned 1976)

had skyscraper crew at the very top of the mast.

And finally . .  a return for USS Wasp.   Notice the tug midships port side.  Know it?

I was surprised to learned it was neither Charles D. nor Responder but Roderick (1967) !  Generally, Roderick is not a sixth boro tug.

And here’s another unusual sight, commingling the power of a McAllister and a Moran  assisting Wasp into the berth.

Parade over, Catherine heads back to the dock, as does Pioneer (commissioned 1885!!)

And a final shot for today, TWO French handiworks, Belle Poule and the Statue of Liberty.

All fotos by will Van Dorp.

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My job . . . Summer AND Fall 2014

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