Tall ships visit Charlottetown for Founders Week

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 29, 2014

Sam Drinnan can look way up from his days paddling a canoe as a boy growing up in Ottawa.

For the past five years, Drinnan, 25, has been at the helm of the tall ship Fair Jeanne.

From April to October, he captains the majestic boat that was designed and built by Capt. Thomas Fuller, one of Canada’s most decorated Second World War heroes. The rest of the year Drinnan studies to become a civil engineer.

As captain of Fair Jeanne, he works for Bytown Brigantine, a not-for-profit operation that offers the opportunity for youth, teens and adults to have fun and learn new skills through tall ship sailing adventures.

The programs range from weekend Black Jack camps on the Ottawa River to 21-day voyages of discovery aboard Fair Jeanne, sailing through the Thousand Islands and Great Lakes.

For more information, visit www.tallshipsadventure.org.

Drinnan maps out routes, checks up on the crew, and takes the helm for coming in to port and heading out.

However, the job is growing increasingly more administrative with great attention placed on making sure the boat is in top-notch condition, meeting all Transport Canada regulations.

The high point of being captain, says Drinnan, is seeing his crew of six jell in running the vessel.

Drinnan, who owns his own 22-foot sailboat, had to cut the season in half last year after a fishing boat at a festival in Lake Eerie struck Fair Jeanne as it was anchored out in the open water.

The boat, though, is currently safely secured at the port in Charlottetown near other tall ships that sailed in as part of Founders Week, a celebration of the Fathers of Confederation.

“Events like this are very nice every once and awhile to offer a little exposure,’’ says Drinnan.

More than 1,000 people climbed aboard by early Thursday afternoon for free deck tours on St. Lawrence II, Spirit of Bermuda, Sea Change, Fair Jeanne and Mist of Avalon.

Paid sail tours are available on Liana’s Ranson.

Visit www.pei2014.ca/foundersweek/index.php?page=founders_tallships for more details.