Friday 3 July 2015

Sail Training Vessel FAIR JEANNE

It's not fair to say that every time I snap the brigantine rigged sail training vessel FAIR JEANNE that it's fairly dull, or about to rain. Actually, every other time it's fairly nice out with blue skies or perhaps the odd cloud here and there. However I think it's fair to say that regardless of the backdrop, the FAIR JEANNE is fairer than fair, but rather she's one impressive fair, eh. c):-D
Yes, that was a fairly ugly cloud pattern to the west when I first snapped the FAIR JEANNE in Brockville in August 2008 but the next time I snapped her above the Rideau Canal's Hartwell Lock in May 2012, it was fairly nice out with blue skies and pleasant spring-like temperatures. Though it's fair to say the FAIR JEANNE was not quite herself that day with her fore and main masts secured to her spar (that long pole sticking out in front of her bow) along with her booms and yards tied off to her deck cabins but I'm fairly certain none of her crew would be complaining about the weather, especially after enduring Ottawa's fairly frigid temperatures all winter long in an drained Canal lock between the Canada's Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier Hotel. Just after our Thanksgiving Weekend in mid October, the JEANNE was parked as usual in the lock and held upright on her keel with wedged against the wall boards while the system is emptied of water. Huge tarps are then placed over a steel structure that's erected soon after the lock has been drained giving FAIR JEANNE the appearance, (you got a it) of a fairly big cocoon which of course protects her from Ottawa's severe winter temperatures and average annual snowfalls of over 100 centimetres. It's not fair, eh!! c):-()
The Rideau Canal reopens for boating on the Victoria Day long weekend which falls on the third weekend in May, so just days before the canal is flooded in early May, the cozy cocoon of tarps and steel ribbings are removed and the freshly undercoated hull of the FAIR JEANNE reappears like a beautiful butterfly or..."Fairy" or NOT c);-b
After she is re-launched for the upcoming sailing season, FAIR JEANNE is motored upbound to Hartwell Lock, where the finishing touches of her winter overhaul is completed. From there she makes her way back down the canal and then transits the set of eight locks beneath the Chateau Laurier Hotel to the Ottawa River. Since the Rideau Canal is too shallow in some locations, the FAIR JEANNE must motor down the Ottawa River to Montreal and then up the St. Lawrence River and Seaway to Prescott. Yes, it was a fairly dull, damp and dreary day one month later from our earlier rendezvous at Hartwell Lock when I snapped the FAIR JEANNE's again, this time along the wharf in Prescott where regardless of the fairly miserable weather conditions, her crews seemed fairly happy completing the tasks at hand of securing the shrouds, yards, and sails to the JEANNE's fore and main masts along with her booms. Definitely a fair bit of work but once completed, she'll slip her mooring and make her way upriver to her summer homeport at the Tall Ships Landing in Brockville. In just a matter days a new group of trainees will board her and another sail training season commences.
Hey, if you're still awake, you'd probably expect that it would a fairly nice day for my next FAIR JEANNE encounter and it certain was as I snapped her transiting Iroquois Lock on July 14, 2013. Launched in 1980, the 110' (from spar to stern) FAIR JEANNE was built as a family yacht capable of sailing the Caribbean and European seas in her owner's backyard along the Ottawa River. Captain Thomas G. Fuller, a renown and highly decorated Canadian naval war hero and successful area building construction owner started the boat build in 1978. When completed she had a deck length of 82' and a 24.5' beam. She draws 12' with lowered drop keel but only 5.5' when mooring.
Since it was only fair to name her after his wife Jeanne, Captain Fuller designed his FAIR JEANNE (the boat) as a traditional two masted square rigged brigantine which allowed her to pick up a fair bit of speed with her 4,500 square feet of sail when all of her 10 sails are fully set. Without a wind or when manoeuvring a narrow channel like Iroquois Lock, her diesel engine becomes fairly useful too. After 14 years of sailing the world's oceans and logging over 280,000 kilometres the proud family yacht FAIR JEANNE changed careers in 1994 when joining Ottawa based Bytown Brigantine and becoming a sail training vessel along with sister brigantine, BLACK JACK (                                                          
Founded in 1984 by the Fuller family, Bytown Brigantine first offered Ottawa River tall ship sail training on the BLACK JACK out of the Britannia Yacht Club. However, when FAIR JEANNE was acquired, Bytowne Brigantine was able to expand their training program to the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and offshore. While living aboard the FAIR JEANE for a week or more, young trainee learn to sail a traditional tall ship. They hoist the sails, steer the ship, climb the masts, stand a watch and make lifelong friends along the way.
Along with teaching youth the ropes about sailing, the FAIR JEANNE has taken part in many special events like the Tall Ships 1812 Tour during the summer of 2013 where her replica four pound cannon was used to salute passing lakers. When I snapped the FAIR JEANNE motoring upbound at Iroquios Lock, she had just been involved in a War of 1812 battle reenactments at Crysler's Farm near Morrisburg. Tours are also available during her many port visits like at Cape Vincent last weekend. Though built as a family yacht, the FAIR JEANNE has proven that she more than simply a sail training vessel but an ongoing visual example of a true "Goodwill Ambassador". Fair Enough?     

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