“Writers’ Week” Returns in 2018! July 15th – 21st!

The Black Dog Tall Ships is excited to team up with the staff from Merlyn’s Pen for the 8th(!) annual “Writer’s Week” program aboard the schooner Shenandoah. This program combines the passion and experience of two New England companies with over 50 years of combined experience working with children and teenagers. “Writer’s Week” brings together the standard “Kids Cruise” camp program with daily writing workshops, creative activities, and personal feedback from the Merlyn’s Pen editors to create an amazing experience and opportunity.

The writing is fun, the improv games are a highlight. Small group activities explore the writer’s craft—from practicing close observation and turning those observations into similes and metaphors that stick, to activities and games that help writers build interesting characters and create suspense. Best of all, Merlyn’s Pen editors are on deck all day for individual mentoring, feedback, and sharing. Following breakfast and cleanup each morning–and again after the day’s sail–writers get together to share their work, journal-writes, and brainstorms. Sailing and swimming follow in the afternoon; each day is different!

Whether it’s poetry, stories, essays, fantasies, sci-fi, ghost stories, or one-act plays, “Writer’s Week” campers love to write! With personal and group workshops from the Merlyn’s Pen staff, campers will leave this program with sharper writing skills and wheeling imaginations.

About Merlyn’s Pen

Merlyn’s Pen directs the New Library of Young Adult Writing at www.merlynspen.org and has mentored, published and launched the careers of America’s strongest young writers since 1985. Its magazines were popular in U.S. classrooms for 15 years, winning several editorial awards, mentions in Time magazine and the New York Times, and feature coverage in the Christian Science Monitor. Reprints from Merlyn’s Pen magazines appear in textbooks and magazines in 11 countries, and novels by several writers published as teens in Merlyn’s Pen have won national awards. Merlyn’s Pen was founded by R. James Stahl, who now lives and writes in Rhode Island. In its 15 years in print, Merlyn’s Pen received some 140,000 submissions and responded with a personal note to nearly every one of them. Today, the New Library of Young Adult Writing sponsors national writing contests and offers educators a free resource of top fiction by teens for teens to inspire the next generation of writers.

Program Details

  • Passengers board vessel on Sunday, July 15th at 7:00pm and disembark on Saturday the 21st at Noon from the Black Dog Wharf in Vineyard Haven.
  • Cost is the standard Summer Camp rate – $1,200 per passenger. – All reservations made through the Black Dog Tall Ships office by calling 508-693-1699 or through online reservation request here.
  • “Writer’s Week” is suggested for passengers between the ages of 12 and 17 years-old (younger passengers may of course join as well).


“Writers’ Week” Sample Daily Schedule

7:00am – 8:00am: Wake Up and Deck Wash
Campers wake and join the crew for the daily deck scrubbing and clean up of the Shenandoah.

8:00am – 9:30am: Breakfast in the Main Saloon

10:00am – 12:00pm: First Writing Workshop
Campers are divided into groups to work with the Merlyn’s Pen teaching artist. The workshops are generative and immersive creative writing exercises for all genres. Each class focuses on a new literary technique to sharpen and explore. Exercises in metaphor, dialogue, stark imagery, personal narrative, the omniscient voice, and character development are introduced while toying with exciting prompts to inspire fiction, poetry, song writing or personal/comedic essay.

12:30pm – 1:30pm: Lunch Served on Deck

1:30pm – 2:30pm: Siesta/Personal Time/Swimming/Optional Mentoring Sessions
Campers are offered free time to take a nap, write on their own, meet one-on-one with the Merlyn’s Pen teaching artists, play cards, socialize or ask the crew questions about sailing.

2:30pm – 4:30pm: Set Sail/Sailing Lessons
Wind permitting, campers take a hands-on approach to sailing. They work alongside the crew as we sail around the sound. Lessons on the basics of sailing include knot tying, line identification, chart reading and rowing.

5:00pm – 6:30pm: Second Writing Workshop
Campers are divided into groups to work with the Merlyn’s Pen teaching artist. The workshops are generative and immersive creative writing exercises for all genres. Each class focuses on a new literary technique to sharpen and explore. Exercises in metaphor, dialogue, stark imagery, personal narrative, the omniscient voice, and character development are introduced while toying with exciting prompts to inspire fiction, poetry, song writing or personal/comedic essay.

6:30pm – 7:30pm: Dinner in the Main Saloon

7:30pm – 8:00pm: Nightly Stories with the Captain

8:00pm – 10:00pm: Reading/Journaling/Personal Time

10:00pm: Lights Out

Schedule is subject to change due to wind and weather conditions, or trips to the shore. There will also be a Talent Show mid-week, and a Final Salon Reading of student work at the end of the trip.

Winter Weather & Summer Camps

Vineyard Haven, MA – A coastal storm passes through New England today and as I’m typing here at the Black Dog Tall Ships HQ wind and gusts from the SW are shaking the building, howling and blowing spray downwind across Vineyard Haven harbor… Shenandoah and Alabama are secure on their moorings. The New England fishing fleet is now dealing with 50knot+ winds offshore – a classic winter afternoon with ferry service to Woods Hole shut down…

A far reach from a picture perfect summer day out on Vineyard Sound, heading out for a week-long adventure with a boatload of excited youngsters. With that in mind, the schedule for the 2012 “Kids Cruise” summer camp has been released and familes have begun making reservations. The weeks being offered are as follows:

July 15th
July 22nd
July 29th
August 5th

These are amazing opportunities for children between the ages of 9 and 16 years old. Onboard the Shenandoah, these six-day sailing adventures are experiences that really can’t be duplicated anywhere else… Our passengers get to become part of the working crew of the ship, learning the basic skills of sailing and seamanship, make great friends and sail onboard the world’s only square rigged schooner that operates without an engine while having the best week of their summer vacation! A literal time machine, the Shenandoah continues a type of traditional sailing that was once so common, but now has almost completely vanished with time.

Our passengers are kids and sailing needs to be FUN above everything else! The Black Dog Tall Ships embraces this which is linked directly to the success of the camp program. For those whose children have sailed with us before, we look forward to having them come onboard again in 2012 (when the weather will be far from what’s rolling through Vineyard Sound today). For those who are interested, please visit www.theblackdogtallships.com for details on the “Kids Cruise” Summer Camps.

Happy New Year everyone!

Support the Tall Ships

Welcome Since the day of her launching on February 15th, 1964 the Shenandoah has sailed the waters of Southeastern New England continuing the traditions and telling the stories of American seagoing excellence. Currently, there is no better example available as Shenandoah remains the world’s only non-auxiliary square-topsail schooner, sailing as one would during the mid-19th century, the “golden age of sail.” Throughout her “windjamming” career, she has carried more than 13,000 passengers covering almost every conceivable harbor throughout New England’s premier cruising waters, treating her passengers to unmatched access into a lifestyle shared by very few. The SHENANDOAH Foundation has been created to insure the future of this landmark vessel and to further the programs allowing its passengers the opportunity to enjoy, live aboard and learn the magic of this experience. The Future

The best way to predict the future is to create it…

The Foundation will strive to: • Continue the vision of Shenandoah’s designer and master, Robert S. Douglas and use his knowledge as the curriculum’s template. • Establish Shenandoah’s recognition as one of the finest examples of sailing ships in the world. • Raise funds and solidify Shenandoah’s various maintenance needs through creative ventures. • Manage a professional organization based on prudent business principles. • Create relationships with businesses and organizations to further the Foundation’s fund-raising efforts, recognition and exposure. Come Aboard Throughout the 2008 sailing season the Shenandoah Foundation will sponsor events for the public to come aboard this one of a kind vessel for free tours and instructional workshops with the captain and crew. Among the Foundation’s goals is to further the exposure of this magnificent and historical vessel and to present the public the opportunity to view and experience the Shenandoah first-hand. Free public tours and knot-tying days: On the fourth Sundays of June, July and August the Shenandoah Foundation welcomes the public onboard from The Black Dog Wharf in Vineyard Haven for an open house and knot-tying lessons from the schooner’s crew. Families and individuals can tour the vessel and learn more about the programs offered each year onboard the world’s only non-auxiliary square topsail schooner since 1964.

Sunday June 22nd: 9:00am – 1:00pm Sunday July 27th: 9:00am – 1:00pm Sunday August 24th: 9:00 – 1:00pm

For more information please contact office@theblackdogtallships.com

The Alabama competes in the Fisherman’s Cup

“The Alabama rested quietly at Cruiseport Gloucester, rocking gently on the harbor waves after five days of racing and schooner tours. Only the gulls and a cool breeze stirred the early morning air. However, it was a different story a half an hour later. At 4:30, the crew of Alabama awoke to the roaring sound of a generator. Groggy from little sleep, they rolled out of their bunks and ran on deck to start the third annual Fisherman’s Cup race from Gloucester to Provincetown. The sun was just rising red across the sky.”

Read more: Schooner Alabama takes on one more race – Gloucester, MA – Wicked Local Gloucester

The BD Tall Ship Alabama in the film Sea Wolf

Check out the trailer from the film Jack London’s Sea Wolf and see the Tall Ship Alabama in costume!