Niagara Sail Training Update


The Flagship Niagara League announced today that it would delay the sailing season for the U.S. BRIG NIAGARA until August of 2020.
The League’s concern about efforts to prevent and control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus also rules out sailing to the Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland in April, as they had planned. Nothing is more critical to the League than the health and safety of our staff, crew, and visitors.

The current plan is to keep LETTIE G. HOWARD fully operational this sailing season. The League may delay the start of LETTIE’s sailing season, depending on the state of things in May. All members of the Ship’s administrative staff can sail as Captain and crew of LETTIE, so once it is safe to do so Lettie can be operational in two weeks.

According to Captain Billy Sabatini, executive director and fleet captain, “this is not what we want to happen to the sailing season, but I can assure everyone that I am not concerned for the longevity of our organization. Without the U.S. BRIG NIAGARA sailing, we can still operate with a small, efficient team both in the office and on the LETTIE G. HOWARD.”

They will continue to monitor the developments and will announce additional information about the 2020 LETTIE G. HOWARD sailing season at a later date. “We have the right people in place and a determination to work together to see this through. We have been through many squalls together in the past. This one will pass like all the others, and we will find
smooth sailing on the other side. We know brighter days are ahead, and the U.S. BRIG NIAGARA will set sail again,” said Sabatini.

The Flagship Niagara League says it will rise to the occasion when sailing can begin again. It’s essential now to follow the recommendations from the CDC and state government to beat the virus and have the best season ever. The League would like to thank the community and the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission for their support, and they look forward to welcoming visitors on board as soon as possible. We are all in this together.

About Flagship Niagara League

The Flagship Niagara League (FNL) is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational associate organization of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), chartered to facilitate citizen participation and operation of the U.S. Brig Niagara and its home port, Erie Maritime Museum. 

The Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara educate the public regarding the region’s maritime heritage, The War of 1812 in Lake Erie including the building of Oliver Hazard Perry’s fleet, and the experience of the U.S. Brig Niagara under sail. The Erie Maritime Museum and the U.S. Brig Niagara are administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and are actively supported by the Flagship Niagara League which is a non-profit community-based organization.  

In 2018, the schooner Lettie G. Howard joined the U.S. Brig Niagara in Erie. Lettie G. Howard is owned by the South Street Seaport Museum and is operated as a programmatic collaboration between the South Street Seaport Museum and the Flagship Niagara League. Her presence at the Erie Maritime Museum enhances visitor experience and offers more sailing opportunities for the Erie community and visitors.  

The Flagship Niagara League and Erie Maritime Museum offer many opportunities for the Erie community and visitors to explore maritime heritage, including educational Museum programming, public sails, day camp and live-aboard sail training programs, membership, and special events.