Tall ship arrives in Guysborough

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – Just as the citizens of Guysborough sat down to catch their collective breath after a whirlwind of Come Home Week activities, news of tall ships brought everyone to the Guysborough Waterfront on Wednesday, August 2 to see the majestic Mist of Avalon.

The 100-foot, two-masted gaff schooner, captained by Tim Ryan, currently has a crew of eight including First Mate Taeo Tsagkaris who spoke with The Journal after the ship was secured at the Guysborough Marina for an overnight stay.

The Mist of Avalon was built in 1967 in Mahone Bay and was originally named the Liverpool Bay. Its purpose was to serve as a fishing vessel and was initially built as a motor vessel with a sailing hull. In the 1990s the ship saw the addition of two masts and converted to a sailing vessel. It has spent recent years cruising the east coast of the United States and Canada as well as the Great Lakes.

Tsagkaris has been sailing for 10 years and started this season on the Mist of Avalon on June 29 in Toronto, participating in the Tall Ships Rendez-vous 2017, making stops along the St. Lawrence Seaway, Halifax and smaller ports such as Guysborough. After leaving Guysborough the vessel continued its tour onto St. Peter’s, Shelburne and Saint John, N.B.

When asked about day-to-day life and operation on the schooner, Tsagkaris said that the crew has assigned jobs such as cook and navigational watch. “Watches run six hours on and six hours off. Other crew duties include cleaning, maintenance onboard, sail handling and boat checks.”

When sailing or underway, the ship runs two navigational watches, the number of people per watch depends on crew size, which is currently eight, a large compliment as the ship only requires a crew of four to operate.

Maintenance on the Mist of Avalon is not necessarily about making all the brass shine. “On this boat it is making sure all the ropes are in working order, machinery is in working order, keeping things clean, painted and varnished,” said Tsagkaris.

The current owner of the Mist of Avalon is Doug Prothero, executive chairman and founding trustee of Sail Training International. The boat is registered in Liverpool, Nova Scotia but has spent the last six years in Toronto. More information on the schooner can be found at http://www.mistofavalon.org/.