|Schooner When and If, owned by General Patton|
Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden was one of the most anticipated history events of the year. Tall ships would be visiting from all over the world, centering around the visit of L'Hermione, a reproduction of the frigate that Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, used to aid the Continentals during the American Revolution. The other big draw was the World's Largest Rubber Ducky, the 11 ton duck hoping to promote wetland protection.
Even before the festival started issues were cropping up. I heard that Colonial Reenactors were wanted for L'Hermione. I considered going but heard reenactors were being turned away at the gates. Then the website stated that all parking for 2 miles surrounding the event was already reserved. We were stuck taking public transit into the city. I would spend most of the day leading tours on Gazela, Philadelphia's tall ship.
The festival was special as we had two ships visit with a lot of history. Barques Eagle (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite ships) and one of her sister ships, Sagres were reunited. The Eagle was built in 1936 as the Horst Wessel in Germany. She was dedicated by Rudolph Hess in the presence of Adolph Hitler as a training ship. She was taken at the end of WWII by the U.S. as part of the reparations. Sagres has a similar history but hit a mine in 1944 and eventually ended up in Brazil but now sails under Portugal's flag. They are both now training ships for their respective navies.
Above visitors take cover on Gazela during a torrent of rain. A belly of water formed on the tarp every 15 minutes and needed to be emptied before it hit the visitor's head. I ended up getting caught on Sagres during a particularly wet spot later in the day, my clothes soaked through as I tried to protect my camera. The deck of Sagres contains wooden buckets that were used to swab the deck in the 1940s. They are just for show now but were all full of water.
|L'Hermione next to Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild's Jupiter|