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08/21/13 10:00am
08/21/2013 10:00 AM

FILE PHOTO | The Tall Ships Challenge could be returning to Greenport in 2015.

The Tall Ships Challenge could be returning to Greenport Harbor in 2015.

During Village Board work session Tuesday night, Mayor David Nyce said he received a letter from the Tall Ships of America indicating interest in returning to the village.

The ships drew more than 60,000 people when they ported in the village last year during The Tall Ships Challenge 2012 tour. Mr. Nyce has said the village made about $20,000 above the $190,000 it cost to host it.

Tall Ships of America did not provide any schedule for the 2015 tour, however, more details on the event are expected to be provided to the village in the coming weeks, Mr. Nyce said.

The village needs to respond with a request for proposal by next month, he added.

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08/22/12 4:58pm
08/22/2012 4:58 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The American Privateer Schooner Lynx fires a cannon during its grand arrival in Greenport Harbor on Tuesday afternoon.

The Privateer Lynx, a replica of a historic ship from the War of 1812, is visiting Greenport again this summer and is considering making the waterfront village its new home port.

Lynx was one of six vessels that sailed into Greenport Harbor over Memorial Day weekend in this year’s Tall Ships Challenge. It is also visiting ports along the East Coast to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Lynx Educational Foundation executive director Jeff Woods said the ship’s crew has decided to return to Greenport because of the warm welcome and hospitality it received.

“We’ve grown very fond of Greenport,” Mr. Woods said. “We thought Labor Day weekend would be a great time to come back.”

Lynx’s affection for Greenport is so strong that when Mr. Woods was asked if it might become the ship’s home port, he said, “It’s a possibility. Her home port is on the West Coast, but she’s a traveling vessel now.”

The 114-ton Lynx, launched in 2001 in Rockport, Maine, is an interpretation of the original, built in 1812 by Thomas Kemp in Fell’s Point, Md. — the same place the ship that inspired Pride of Baltimore II was launched.

Privateers built during wartime were used to prey on enemy ships and their cargo. That required special permission, known as “letters of marque.”

The original Lynx was commissioned less than a month before the War of 1812 began, making it one of the first American ships to set sail. Lynx was captured by the British the following spring at the mouth of the Rappahannock River in Virginia and renamed the HMS Mosquidobit.

The current Lynx is operated by a not-for-profit educational foundation based in Newport Beach, Calif. It spent the winter in Mystic, Conn., undergoing extensive maintenance, including work on its engine, spars and rigging.

A 122-foot square top-sail schooner, Lynx will sail from Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., into Greenport on Aug. 30 at 3 p.m.

In addition to ship tours, a “sailaway” through the harbor will take place where visitors can experience sailing on a tall ship, and help the crew hoist the sails and steer the ship.

Tickets for ship tours are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 3 to 12. Sailaway tickets are $65 for adults, $55 for seniors and active military and $35 for children ages 4 to 12.

Lynx is expected to depart Greenport Sept. 4 for a five-day stay in Jamestown, R.I. The ship will return to Greenport Sept. 20 and stay until Sept. 24.

For more information, visit privateerlynx.org.

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06/03/12 3:00pm
06/03/2012 3:00 PM

PETER BOODY PHOTO | The Tall Ships in Greenport Harbor from an aerial view Sunday.

Asked if he could finally relax a little bit with the first day of the Tall Ships Challenge 2012 behind him Saturday night, Greenport Mayor David Nyce paused for a moment.

If the skies were clear again Sunday, if lots of people came pouring into village businesses that day and if no more snafus popped up, he estimated that he might finally be able to feel a sense of relief come Sunday afternoon.

His projection was off — by 48 hours.

It was Tuesday afternoon when the mayor was finally able to settle in and digest the fact that the biggest party he’d ever thrown was not just well-attended, it was a success in many ways for the Village of Greenport, even financially.

“We definitely did better than break even,” Mr. Nyce said of the three-day event, which cost the village an estimated $190,000.

While the mayor said the village plans to release a complete accounting of the Tall Ships Challenge at a board meeting next month, he said early projections show that as many as 60,000 people roamed the streets between Saturday morning and Monday night.
The streets were so crowded Sunday afternoon many locals say it’s the busiest they’ve ever seen the village, the mayor said.

Village officials are not expected to know exactly how many tickets were sold for the event until the end of this week at the earliest.

And even then, that number won’t accurately reflect just how many people came to the village this Memorial Day weekend.

Tickets allowed visitors to tour the ships, but a ticket was not required to walk village streets, listen to the bands playing on two stages or visit any of the vendor booths. Mr. Nyce said that for every person who bought a ticket, he estimates three more people attended the festival.

Using that formula and whatever information he had available by Tuesday afternoon, the mayor was willing to call the weekend a financial success, even if he stopped short of giving actual revenue estimates.

He did say tall ships ended up costing the village approximately $190,000, about $15,000 above the initial budget. Of that money, $130,000 went toward appearance fees for the ships.

This was the first time the village charged for admission to a Tall Ships Challenge. In 2004, when the tour last visited, the village was awarded a state grant that helped offset the cost of ship appearance fees. But that grant came through the now-defunct “I Love New York” tourism marketing program.

Tickets to this year’s event cost as much as $15 for adults, a fee that allowed visitors to tour the ships. Sailaway excursions throughout the weekend on the tall ship Roseway cost $50.

Although he feels confident the village more than broke even, the mayor said he’s waiting to receive revenue-sharing payments from the Roseway excursions and the Long Island Rail Road, which offered ticket bundles to commuters, before he can fully realize just how much money the village made. The village is also awaiting payment from a handful of sponsors.

In all, seven tall ships made it to Greenport this year, with many arriving in Orient Harbor Thursday afternoon and all of them reaching the Greenport docks by Friday morning. They departed Monday and Tuesday.

The Tall Ships Challenge 2012 tour, which began earlier this month in Savannah, Ga., continues on to Newport, R.I., and will finish in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

One major reason behind bringing in the ships was to provide a boost for village businesses at the start of a busy season.

Aldo Maiorana of Aldo’s coffee shop on Front Street said the many visitors kept him on his feet all weekend long.

“I was at my espresso machine all day on Saturday for maybe 10 hours,” he said. “Sunday was like murder and my body was in pain at the end of the day, so it was good.”

Monica Smith, assistant manager at Creations By Lisa on Main Street, said the store was the perfect kind of busy.

“It probably wasn’t as crazy as we’d imagined it would be, but it was good,” she said. “It was a good crazy.”

Local business owners and their staffs said the event brought new faces to their stores, while a lot of local regulars shopped outside the village to avoid the crowds, creating a ripple effect of good business to the surrounding communities.

Bill Fish, the head pro at Island’s End golf course outside Greenport Village, said the locals who scheduled tee times on the always busy holiday weekend told him they were doing their best to avoid the crowded village.

George Giannaris at the nearby Hellenic Snack Bar in East Marion said it was perhaps the busiest Memorial Day weekend his restaurant has seen in 36 years. He estimated his staff served as many as 3,000 meals to a mix of locals, regulars and out-of-towners.

“It was the triple crown [of visitors] and we reaped the benefits,” he said. “Without tall ships it still might have been a busy Memorial Day weekend, but that definitely sent us over the edge.”

Considering the heavy crowds, village and police officials believe the number of snags that occurred over the weekend was minimal.

Perhaps the biggest hiccup came when an eastbound Long Island Rail Road train couldn’t unload in Greenport Saturday afternoon due to cars parking too close to a pocket track used when multiple train cars are in service at the station. This led to Southold Town Police being called in to assist, as many passengers who boarded from Riverhead, Mattituck and Southold to avoid traffic were stranded for more than an hour. The train was added specially to accommodate tall ships visitors from the East End.

The parking problem also led to one train from Riverhead being canceled — passengers were instead driven in buses — and delays of more than an hour on the 1 and 2 p.m. trains departing Greenport Saturday. The cars that parked too close to the track weren’t cleared until after 4 p.m.

Southold Town Police announced three arrests in the village over the course of tall ships weekend — two alcohol related arrests and another for a fight in which a 42-year-old Medford man threw a glass plate at a Nassau County man inside Claudio’s restaurant.

Mr. Nyce said that police and other emergency officials told him it was actually the calmest they’d ever seen the village during a major event, something he believes can be largely attributed to the family-oriented nature of the Tall Ships Challenge.

The mayor said that in the days since the event, he’s heard almost entirely positive feedback.

“There’s always going to be a couple people with complaints,” he said. “But in this instance it’s just that — a couple of people.

“Everyone really seemed happy. They were calm, polite and they spent money. It was a great way to showcase the village, and that’s exactly what we set out to do.”

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05/27/12 6:24am

A Medford man was arrested on felony assault charges at Claudio’s Restaurant in Greenport Saturday evening after he allegedly threw a glass plate at a man from North Woodmere, cutting his face, according to Southold Town Police.

Police said Thomas Frangidane, 42, got into an altercation with the victim, who was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital for treatment of his injuries, at about 6:45 p.m.

Mr. Frangidane was charged with 2nd degree assault and taken to Southold Police headquarters, where he was held for arraignment.

That incident occurred about three hours after an 18-year-old from Orient was busted for resisting arrest on charges of marijuana possession and underage drinking.

While on patrol, officers say they observed Andrew Semon walking in an apparent intoxicated condition and observed him enter a parked vehicle while carrying an open container of alcohol.

Upon interview, police say they determined that Mr. Semon was under the age of 21. Police also said they later found marijuana in his vehicle.

While attempting to place him in handcuffs, Mr. Semon struggled with the arresting officers, police said.

He was taken to Southold Town Police headquarters, where he was processed and released on bail for a later court date.

05/26/12 12:00pm
05/26/2012 12:00 PM

The barque Picton Castle is the most traveled of the tall ships that dropped anchor in Greenport Harbor on Friday. The Picton arrived about 2:30 p.m. along with The Roseway.

In addition to many other trips, the Picton Castle has completed five global circumnavigations in the past 15 years, according to a spokesman for the ship, visiting the Galapagos Islands, Pitcairn Island, Mangareva, Takaroa, Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Bora Bora and other spots in French Polynesia. Soon, it will follow the wind to Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, ending up in Rarotonga a year from now.

The ship and four others were built in 1928 as motorized fishing trawlers named after castles: Picton Castle is in Wales. The ships were hailed as marvels of their time by contemporary newspapers for their modernization — Picton Castle, for example, had electric lights and a depth finder. The vessel operated out of Wales for its first few years and later underwent several notable transformations.

Refit by the Royal Navy, the ship became a minesweeper during Word War II. After the war, it was renamed Dolmar and used as a freighter in the North and Baltic seas.

During the 1990s, Captain Daniel Moreland, who still commands the vessel, acquired Picton Castle and transformed it into a barque, a sailing vessel with at least three masts. The aftmost mast on a barque-rigged ship is fore-and-aft rigged and all other masts are square-rigged

The multi-million dollar refit took place in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, the ship’s home port. Picton Castle completed its first global circumnavigation in 1999, with Capt. Moreland at the helm. He has led all of the ship’s subsequent circumnavigations.

The ship’s website describes Capt. Moreland as one of the most respected sailing ship masters at sea today. He holds, it reports, “the rarest license issued to Merchant Marine officers today: Master of steam, motor, or auxiliary sail vessels of any gross tons upon oceans.”

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | The Picton Castle arrived in Greenport Harbor shortly after 2 p.m. Friday.

05/26/12 7:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Kip Skrezec of Stanley F. Skrezec Contracting hooks up a sewer line on Main Street in Greenport on Tuesday as Whitey Skrezec looks on.

Bill Claudio remembers just how busy a tall ships weekend can get.

In 1995, the last time the Tall Ships Challenge made a weekend stop in Greenport, tables in his Claudio’s restaurant were filled each day. He estimated recently that his staff served more than 4,000 sit-down dinners that weekend.

So as this Memorial Day weekend approached, Mr. Claudio, like all business owners in the village, was making sure he’s ready for the crowds that are sure to fill the streets of Greenport.

“We’re just making sure we’re properly staffed,” he said.

From Mr. Claudio’s perspective, feeding the estimated 60,000 visitors to the village is the biggest challenge.

“When I was running the Maritime Festival, we were expecting something around 25,000 to 30,000 people and we’d usually get that number,” he said. “But when you [add up] all the seating in the area’s restaurants, you get something like 1,500 seats.”

With that in mind, he’s expanding his reach to customers and offering food and drinks at more than just his restaurant and clam bar.

“We’re setting up our wine tasting and additional food booths in the parking lot,” he said. The booths will serve pretzels, popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs, beer, wine and soda.

Mr. Claudio said he’ll even have two big refrigerated trucks with extra food from suppliers at the event, standing ready should they need anything.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s head brewer, DJ Swanson, said his company has been brewing extra beer for the festival. The brewery’s cold room is stocked and Mr. Swanson’s fingers are crossed for good weather.

“I know we’re expecting a big crowd,” Mr. Swanson said. “It’s exciting. There’s going to be a beer garden downtown selling our beer, so that’s great.”

He said many downtown businesses will be pouring Greenport beer from jockey boxes, coolers with attached taps for outside service.

Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce said festival attendees need to understand that drinking will only be permitted in restaurant areas, and open container laws will be enforced.

Both Mr. Nyce and Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said they see parking as the biggest challenge and they urge locals to car pool and use the LIRR, which will be running extra eastbound trains from Riverhead to help ease traffic problems.

“It might seem silly taking a train for that short of a distance, but it’s a really good alternative to driving to the event, because you don’t have to worry about parking,” Chief Flatley said.

Greenport High School is the sole designated off-site parking area for guests looking to park away from the street, according to Chief Flatley.

He said anywhere from 12 to 15 Southold Town police officers will be in Greenport during the event. State police will also lend a hand during the weekend.

Chief Flatley said the department will try to reroute eastbound Cross Sound Ferry traffic off Route 25 and encourages those people to use Route 48 and Chapel Lane. Any westbound ferry traffic will be encouraged to remain on Route 48 and use alternatives like Chapel, Peconic, Depot and Elijah’s lanes.

Mr. Nyce said the village feels well-prepared for such a big event this week.

“Oddly enough, yes, we are prepared,” he said. “We had a steering committee meeting last week going over final details and I think we’ve got everything in place. It’s not going to be perfect, it never is, but I think we’ve covered just about everything. We had our first volunteer meeting last Sunday and that’s very important because without these volunteers, this event would not have happened.”

Mayor Nyce said if the weather cooperates he expects the village could get as many as 16,000 to 20,000 visitors on any of the festival’s three days. “I don’t see why we wouldn’t do that much or more,” he said.

The weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the low 80s, with thunderstorms possible on Sunday.

The event kicks off with a 10 a.m. opening ceremony in Mitchell Park.

The ships Summerwind, Picton Castle, Pride of Baltimore II, Lynx, Unicorn, Roseway and Bounty will all be there, ready for festival-goers to take dockside tours of the ships’ epic innards.

Tickets are on sale at greenportvillage.com, but can also be purchased at the event’s three ticket booths between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Concierge services, sponsored by the Business Improvement District, are available in the village’s little red schoolhouse on Front Street and can direct attendees to any one of several events being held along Greenport’s waterfront, including dockside tours of the ships, street performances, airbrush tattoos, booths, musical acts and even a carnival in the evening.

All seven tall ships are participating in this year’s Atlantic Coast Tall Ships Challenge, sailing up the coast, touring ports and racing between each one. They started in Savannah, Ga., and will visit Charleston, S.C., before stopping at Greenport Harbor. The tour will then continue to Newport, R.I., and finish in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“This is going to be a fantastic event,” Mr. Nyce said. “It’s going to be over and I’m going to think, ‘Wow, what happened?’ ”

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