At Kenosha Tall Ships 2019, visitors can take a deck tour, or view the ships from the water on a sail-away. One of the visiting ships offering sail-aways is the popular Appledore IV of Bay City, Mich.

Owned by the environmental education-based nonprofit Bay Sail, Appledore IV has launched many tall ship captains. Shirley Roberts, executive director, said captains and crew grow up in their programs and move on to other larger vessels that travel beyond the Great Lakes.

The organization loves working with really young people because they tend to be afraid but excited and tend to be more willing to try.

Appledore IV frequents many ports around the Great Lakes, providing both day sails and distance sailing. Roberts said the ship’s program is not to necessarily teach them how to sail, but to instill self-reliance, and to work as a team. Tall ship sailing helps you learn what you are made of.

That was the case with Appledore IV’s current First Mate Sydney Bickerstaff. If you spent your summers vacationing on the beach, you just might develop a yearning to do more with the sea. It was her goal to move away from her land-locked youth in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in marine science in 2016, she started as a professional scuba diver working with the Boy Scouts.

Sydney has done a lot with her first two years in the tall ship sailing industry. Her first tall ship was the Appledore II in Camden, Maine, a sister ship to Appledore IV.

“I don’t know how women are drawn to the sea. Perhaps they are inherent teachers,” she said. “I love to share my love of the ship with school groups in our science under sail program, teaching water chemistry.” Appledore IV’s homeport is Bay City, Mich., on the Saginaw Bay.

When asked what she would like to tell the curious young girls who come aboard wanting to know more about being a sailor, Sydney had a few suggestions.

“Do the things that scare you. You’ll figure it out one step at a time, and to solve things as they come,” she said. That’s true for Sydney as well, as she hasn’t quite conquered her fear of heights. Sailors need to be able to climb the masts. “I am getting better at it by working on shorter boats. Appledore IV’s mast is 76 feet. You use the resources the best that you can.”

It’s not surprising this spirited young woman already has her 100-ton captain’s license. She might not be ready to be one, but that day will come.

The tall ship rendezvous in Kenosha is made possible by a collaboration of Tall Ships America, a non-profit organization based in Newport, R.I., and port cities around the Great Lakes.

Tall Ships America organizes the Tall Ships Challenge annual series of tall ship races to celebrate our rich maritime heritage and traditions. It is also to inform the general public about the transformative power of adventure and education under sail.

In 2019, the tall ship races are officially sponsored by Erie Insurance. Based in Erie, Pa., Erie Insurance is a Fortune 500 company offering auto, home, business and life insurance through a network of more than 12,000 local independent Erie agents.

For more information about sailing on Appledore IV’s visit to Kenosha and the Aug. 1-4 festival overall, visit: www.kenoshatallships.com.

Patricia Lock is tall ship festival consultant for the city of Kenosha.

About Appledore IV

Flag: United States

Home Port: Bay City, Mich.

Sparred length: 85 feet

Total sail: 3,560 square feet

Rig height: 76 feet

Gross tonnage: 48