Canada's Largest Passenger Ship Sails Into Lake Erie for the Tall Ships Erie 2019 Festival

Former World War II tugboat, Empire Sandy, is announced to arrive at the Tall Ships 2019 festival in Erie, Pennsylvania.


Canada’s largest sailing tall ship, the EMPIRE SANDY, will sail into Lake Erie for the Tall Ships Erie 2019 festival, occurring Aug. 22-25, 2019.

The Empire Sandy weighs 740 tons and currently operates as a charting vessel for special events. This 203-foot-long ship can hold up to 275 passengers, in addition to a 25 member crew, seating up to 160 guests below decks. While not originally built as a tall ship, it is the last of the large Empire fleet to still exist.

Built in 1943, this ship is not the only one to bear the first name Empire. A fleet of 1,464 others also carried the title after being built by the British Government for service in World War II. Empire Sandy was originally a tugboat that recovered damaged merchant ships after a battle, as well as other Royal Navy duties. Having sailed in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Oceans, the ship’s journey continued after the war. The Empire Sandy was sold as a towing vessel in both the United Kingdom and Canada which caused its name to change to Ashford and then Chris M.

In the 1970s, as steam-powered vessels were replaced with diesel power, the ship was to be sold off as scrap and broken apart. Before break-up could occur, the ship was sold again and in five years was rebuilt as a three-masted schooner and renamed Empire Sandy.

The Empire Sandy, sponsored by Lincoln Metal, will be docked at the Bayfront Convention Center after the Parade of Sail on Thursday, Aug. 22. Tall Ships Erie 2019, presented by Highmark, will take place Aug. 22-25, 2019. The festival will showcase 12 tall ships, deck tours, day sails, live music and entertainment, children’s activities, a festival marketplace, food vendors, a beer garden and much more. To purchase tickets or for more information go to


Tall Ships America organizes the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® annual series of tall ship races and maritime port festivals to celebrate our rich maritime heritage and traditions and 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, Pennsylvania, 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.

Source: Tall Ships Erie


Tags: EMPIRE SANDY, Erie, Erie Events, Erie Pennsylvania, Lake Erie, Lincoln Metal, PA, Tall Ships Challenge, Tall Ships Erie 2019, Tall Ships Festival

Related Video

Additional Images

Additional Links

About Engel O'Neill

View Website

Full-service advertising, public relations, and digital media company.

Kevin Seeker
Partner , Engel O'Neill
Engel O'Neill
2124 Sassasfras Street
Erie, PA 16502
United States