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Crossing the Atlantic in a Tall Sailing Ship

February 25, 2001|TIME STAFF AND WIRES

Hankering for a high-seas adventure? A rare chance to cross the Atlantic in a tall sailing ship is available this year through an event that's designed to commemorate the Mormons' migration from Europe to the U.S. in the 19th century.

Sea Trek 2001, sponsored by a Utah-based nonprofit foundation, is organizing an armada of eight tall ships to retrace the emigrants' route from Esbjerg, Denmark, to New York City, starting Aug. 7. Participants can sign on for the whole 59-day journey ($7,945 per person) or for legs as short as two days (starting at $351; one-day legs allotted to U.S. residents have sold out).

Although not as well known as the land journey of Mormon Church pioneers across the U.S., the sea odyssey of European converts was also significant--about 85,000 between 1840 and 1900, said William K. Sadleir, chairman of the Sea Trek Foundation. He said last week that nearly 1,200 people have registered for this year's event since September and several hundred more places are available.

Of those signed up, about 80% are Mormons or have ancestral ties to the church, Sadleir said, but he emphasized that people of any faith or background are welcome, and "there's not any indoctrination involved."

No sailing experience is needed. As they choose, participants can play tourist or pitch in, he added. The ships will depart New York on Oct. 11 to return to Europe, and transatlantic passage on those will be available at reduced rates. Telephone (801) 932-7990, Internet http://www.seatrek2001.com.

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