You have reached the homeport of the Yorktown Foundation's Tall Ships Committee. The Yorktown Foundation and the Tall Ships committee are non-profit, volunteer organizations that endeavor to preserve the rich history of Yorktown and the surrounding area.  The Tall Ships Committee  was chartered to encourage tall ships of the world to consider Yorktown, Virginia as a port of call. Tall ships are a very important part of the worlds maritime heritage and must be preserved.

So, what is a "Tall Ship"?  The Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_ship) defines a tall ship as: "A tall ship is a large traditionally rigged sailing vessel. Popular modern tall ship rigs include topsail schooners, brigantines, brigs and barques."


Tall Ships

Wikipedia presents a brief history of tall ships as:

Traditional rigging may include square rigs and gaff rigs, with separate topmasts and topsails. It is generally more complex than modern rigging, which utilizes newer materials such as aluminum and steel to construct taller, lightweight masts with fewer, more versatile sails. Most smaller, modern vessels use Bermuda rig. Though it did not become popular elsewhere until the twentieth century, this rig was developed in Bermuda in the seventeenth century, and had historically been used on its small ships, the Bermuda sloops.

The term tall ship came into widespread use in the mid-20th century with the advent of The Tall Ships' Races, and was not generally used in the era when such ships were the norm. The term's popularity may have stemmed from its use in a well-known nautical poem by English Poet Laureate John Masefield entitled Sea Fever, first published in 1900.

Yorktown, Virginia

Yorktown was established by Virginia's colonial government in 1691 to regulate trade and to collect taxes on both imports and exports for Great Britain. By the early 1700s, Yorktown had emerged as a major Virginia port and economic center. A well-developed waterfront boasted wharves, docks, storehouses and businesses. On the bluff above, stately homes lined Main Street, with taverns and other shops scattered throughout the town. Yorktown had 250 to 300 buildings and a population of almost 2,000 people at the height of its success around 1750. The American Revolution had entered its seventh year when, in 1781, British general Lord Charles Cornwallis brought his army to Yorktown to establish a naval base. In the siege by American and French forces that followed, much of the town was destroyed. By the end of the Revolution, less than 70 buildings remained in Yorktown and the 1790 census recorded only 661 people in town. Yorktown never regained its economic prominence. A fire in 1814 destroyed the waterfront district as well as some homes and the courthouse on Main Street. Additional destruction came during the Civil War Siege of 1862 and the occupation by Union troops that followed.

Today, there are still some tangible reminders of Yorktown's historic past that have survived, giving much of the town a colonial atmosphere. During your visit to Yorktown, stop at the Nelson House on Main Street, the home of Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and commander of the Virginia Militia during the Siege of Yorktown. For hours of operation, see Yorktown Programs and Activities.

As you stroll the streets, you have the opportunity to imagine Yorktown as it once was--a thriving tobacco port--that witnessed the last battle of the American Revolution.


Yorktown is located in the historic triangle composed of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown and is easily accessable by all forms of public transportation and Interstate Highway (I-64). Follow this link to Google Maps for detailed directions: http://maps.google.com/places/us/va/yorktown?gl=us

About Yorktown

Immerse yourself in 300 years of Yorktown history.  Here you can experience 18th century homes, revolutionary battlefields, a scenic riverfront beach, one-of-a-kind restaurants and lodging apart from city crowds. Park your car and stroll along picturesque streets or take the free trolley. Visit art galleries, antique stores and specialty shops. Experience the museums offering hands-on history programs and exhibits. Walk along the scenic Riverwalk and relax on the sandy beach at river’s edge. Enjoy sounds of The Fifes and Drums of York Town and live entertainment on the riverfront. After working up an appetite, dine at one of the charming restaurants, some with a view of the York River.  Enjoy a sail on the York River during the day and as the sun goes down, enjoy a sunset sail on the Schooner Alliance.

Be sure to visit the York County Tourism website at: http://yorkcounty.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=6519 for further information.

Docking at Riverwalk Landing

The large 395-foot boat pier, located at the foot of Ballard Street, provides ample space for tall ships, large and small motor and sailing vessels and regional cruise lines. The pier width is 20 feet. The depths at dockside range from 27' to 50' on well over 1000 feet of dock frontage space.

The second pier is located behind Nick's Riverwalk Restaurant and between the larger pier and the Coleman Bridge. The smaller pier accommodates smaller craft such as day-trippers and pleasure boaters visiting the village shops and restaurants.

The piers provide the ability for overnight stays. The concrete floating pier system allows for a constant 28" above-water elevation. Electrical service, water and sewer pump out facilities are available pier side.  Restroom and shower facilities are available for overnight boaters. Trash pick up and disposal is part of the waterfront operations and is also available. Bag ice is available for a small fee.

Please visit the Riverwalk Landing website at:  http://www.yorkcounty.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=5656  for details about dining, shopping, docking and entertainment.
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