schooner ,tall ship

 List of schooners and other sailing ships

 List of schooners and other Sailing ships
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Schooner Man 


. .

Capt. Lane Briggs 

On National Pirates’ Day, Monday, September 19th, tugs in Hampton Roads lowered their flags to half-mast to honor one of their own. The saltiest man alive, Captain Lane Allen Briggs, 73, an icon of the Norfolk waterfront, revered from Canada to Key West, sailed to the other shore.
Born to Jason and Lizzie Briggs in Mars Hill, North Carolina, Captain Briggs was the first of three generations of captains. As a teenager, he left the mountains and discovered the sea, where he worked his way to captain— then led his four sons to do the same. The third generation of sailors and seamen he inspired includes his grandkids, but they had to share him with hundreds of ‘adoptees’ of all ages, drawn by his passion, commitment to seamanship, leadership, big heart, humor and genuine charisma.
Bigger than life, tenacious, soft-hearted, generous to a fault, Briggs was always an innovator, always a forward-thinker. His nickname "the red-headed rebel" captured his look and the roguish charm that marked his company, Rebel Marine Service, and his workboats, Steel Rebel, Carolina Rebel, Captain Reb, and Norfolk Rebel. As founder of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, Captain Briggs spearheaded the largest point-to-point schooner event in the world, to keep schooner sailing alive on his beloved Chesapeake Bay. This Race has raised over $73,000 to “Save the Bay” since 1990. Content to work behind the scenes, he never sought celebrity or recognition for his good works, but was willing to take the spotlight when a worthy cause would benefit.
Capt. Briggs served in the Coast Guard as a damage-control tech, spent time running captain on private yachts on the Great Lakes, and he even was master of a hydrofoil commuter boat on the James River, before getting his first tug, the Steel Rebel, in the sixties. His large store of sea stories included proud tales of helping to build the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
Briggs' enterprises and innovations were many – for decades he ran Rebel Marine Service, one of the most successful salvage companies in the region. He built Rebel Marina in Willoughby Spit, in Norfolk, which is still in the family. The Captain was best known as master of the Norfolk Rebel, a sail-assisted tug he built and launched at the height of the oil crisis of the early eighties, to use wind power to conserve fuel.
 The versatile schooner-rigged Norfolk Rebel engaged in towing, fishing, and salvage, and even carried cargo. During the oil crisis that caused coal-carrying vessels to stack up in the harbor for months awaiting cargo, the Rebel led a fleet of carollers out to serenade collier crews every Sunday before Christmas. In 1984, the Norfolk Rebel circumnavigated Virginia via the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, appearing as an attraction at the New Orleans Worlds Fair.
Briggs coined the term "Tugantine®" to describe his unique hybrid creation. She found her niche towing fragile tall ships and old character vessels, including Cousteau's famous Calypso.
Soon Captain Briggs was widely revered in the world of schooners and tall ships, recognized by his huge white muttonchops, shiny golden earring, well-weathered appearance and booming North Carolina drawl. Many an East Coast and Great Lakes Tall Ship event, including ASTA’s Tall Ships Challenge series, was enriched by Captain Briggs and the Norfolk Rebel— each a memorable character. In 2001, Captain Briggs received the coveted American Sail Training Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Briggs was also celebrated in Norfolk on the official Capt. Lane Briggs & First Officer Reb Day, December 16, 1981; was made an Honorary Citizen of Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1983; was named Mr. Formal But Tacky in 1991; and won the American Schooner Association’s rarest medal.
First Officer Reb was his trusty sidekick— the black lab-setter mix whose ashes will now be mingled with the captain’s. Their escapades, rescues and adventures will live on in numerous songs, poems, books and tales— some published widely, others shared over a ‘cup of tea.’ Of countless citations, feature stories, publications and accolades, Briggs was most proud of his mention in Weekly Reader— always that eye on the next generation.
Married almost twenty years to the former Rose Marie Keppers, Briggs sired four boys. He is survived by Captain Jesse Briggs and wife Meghan Wren Briggs, Captain Terry Briggs, Captain David Briggs and Captain Steven Briggs; grandchildren Samantha Briggs and Justin Burgess, Lee Briggs and Rasheeda Hancock, Captain Chessy Briggs (named for the Chesapeake) and infant Delbay Wren Briggs (named for Delaware Bay); nephews Owen Tilson and E.J. Briggs, and nieces Susan Nesbitt, Patty Stapleton and Rowena Perez. Captain Briggs was predeceased by brothers Glen, Dean and Kenneth, and sisters Julia and Athylene.
Lane’s extended family was as wide as an ocean. Young people often found a father-figure in this loving and gentle curmudgeonly ‘pirate’ of Willoughby Spit, who equipped his vessels with black-powder cannons and hosted a huge regatta every year. Briggs was always reaching out to youth in trouble, and trained many young men and women for marine industry careers. His enormous heart and twinkling gaze will be missed on every shore.
Always a community activist, Capt. Briggs was instrumental in the modern rebirth of his adopted city of Norfolk, Virginia. He was one of a handful of visionaries who, decades ago, took a blighted urban wasteland and made it a haven for visiting sailors, a “Harbor of Hospitality.” When downtown Norfolk had seventeen acres of gravel parking lots, Briggs was nurturing such entities as Nautical Adventures, The Norfolk School of Boatbuilding, Harborfest, Festevents, the Hampton Roads Navy, Sail Assist International Liaison Associates, Norfolk School of Fisheries and Seamanship, and Town Point Yacht Club.
He lived to see a long-held dream come true when the Schooner Virginia was commissioned this year, finally giving his home its own sailing ambassador to race against Maryland's Pride of Baltimore and ships from other states.
Recently Captain Briggs had moved off the Tugantine and onto the smaller motorsailer Black Dog, which he used to explore remote inland rivers and escape the chilly winters of Virginia to the Florida Keys. His reputation and character were no less appreciated in his second home, where he soon developed a devoted following.
Captain Briggs possessed a rare gift for forming lasting close friendships with men and women from all strata of society, young and old. The legion of fortunate beneficiaries of this gift each knew Lane as their best friend. Some are gathering to raise a toast to the good captain at Rebel Marina on Saturday Sept. 24 at 1 PM. (This will be an informal celebration of his life— no ties, please.)
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the American Sail Training Association for the creation of the Captain Lane Briggs Sail Training Fund, care of ASTA, PO Box 1459, Newport, RI 02840, or Stories and condolences may be emailed to

Kathy Hill 757 617-1862

Kathy Hill & Joe Braun

The Norfolk Rebel is one of a kind as is Captain Lane Briggs pictured here hard at work assisting the Tole Mour. Eire 1994


Written by Jim Heely of the Tanner's Creek Whalers


 Sail on Norfolk Rebel! Your course be straight and true.
 We'll drink to your good fortune, your captain, and your crew.


 Today, we have a problem that could idle all the fleet,
 Our ships are run on oil, and to fuel them isn't cheap.
 One man had an answer to help in times of lean;
 Captain Briggs said, "Use the wind" , with a sailing Tugantine.

 When the keel was laid the doubters said,"You're just an April Fool!
 Your ideas are impractical! You're breaking all the rules!"
 But the lubbers who could not believe in a boat they'd never seen,
 Are the same ones who are left behind by the sailing Tugantine.

 A call came in one morning from a vessel in distress.
 The Coast Guard could not find them. The Air Force did their best.
 No other ship would offer to motor to the scene.
 In the nick of time they grabbed a line from the sailing Tugantine!

 There is a crab regatta, it's held here every year.
 One hellava combination of sailboats, crabs, and beer.
 You really shouldn't miss it. such wonders can be seen. . .
 As pirates in bikinis on a sailing Tugantine.

 In the thunder of the cannon at Norfolk's Harborfest,
 An epic battle rages; black powder, bombs, and fists.
 The invader's name is "Sinbad", a pirate, fierce and mean.
 Fear not! We are defended by a sailing Tugantine.

 Now the Tugantine goes cruising across the U.S.A.
 Ambassador from Norfolk. New friends along the way.
 A cruise through Great Lakes, Canada, then a Mississippi steam.
 It's "Huckleberry Briggs" on his sailing Tugantine.

 Twas the Sunday before Christmas, a cold wind chills the Bay.
 Lonely sailors far from home, their ships at anchor lay.
 When they came on deck their eyes are met with a welcome Christmas scene.
 A merry band of carolers on a sailing Tugantine.


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