The tall ships are back with a boom boom extravaganza on Boston Harbor with Sail Boston.
Whatever you know about sailing will likely be tossed overboard once you’ve met Esmeralda, the Chilean with a heart of steel, or Alexander Humboldt III, a colorful German full of one-liners. We’re talking sloops here, folks, and they will be docking in the Boston Harbor with dozens of other tall ships for a five-day full-on nautical spectacle. “The RendezVous Tall Ships Regatta is an event that has only happened three times in Boston,” says Sail Boston project director Dusty Rhodes. “It takes six years alone just to coordinate with all of the foreign navies.” There will be schooners from the Netherlands, a barque from Ecuador, a fully-rigged vessel from Russia, and many others. The 7,000-nautical-mile Regatta begins in Royal Greenwich and ends in Quebec City, tracing the routes of the great explorers through six countries, including Portugal, the Canary Islands, and Bermuda. Half way through the race, when they anchor in Boston from June 17–22, four million visitors are expected to join in the fun.
Maritime educational programs for kids, meet and greets with sailors, ship tours, and soirées are among a fleet of cool activities. As Rhodes puts it, “You really can’t imagine something of this magnitude until you see it.” For instance, the length of the all of the ships is 6,238 feet—that’s eight Prudential Tower buildings! The oldest vessel, the Europa, was built in 1911, and 2,000 crew members will fill the streets of Boston.
To help you navigate the waters, we’ve broken down the can’t-miss events for you.
Grande Parade of Sail: Nest out a spot early on Castle Island, the Seaport, North End, or Charlestown for the best viewing of this glorious entrance. More than 40 vessels in unfurled majesty sail through the Harbor’s main channel before tying up at their berths. Bring your selfie stick. Saturday, June 17, 9 am–3 pm
Public Boarding of Ships: Brig or Barquentine, Yawl or Ketch? Find out the difference by touring the vessels. Visitors will learn about what life is like for the crewmembers (tight quarters!) and treated to a close-up view of knots, rigging, and navigation. Saturday, June 17–Wednesday, June 22
S.S. AND BBQ
Crew Street Parade and BBQ: Join the fine sailors in full uniform as they march from Seaport Boulevard to Downtown Crossing, where guests will enjoy a traditional American barbecue, prizes, and hobnobbing. Monday, June 19
The majestic Tall Ships, under sail, will gather in Broad Sound prior to their grand entrance into Boston’s inner harbor for the Parade of Sail.
Over four million visitors are expected for Sail Boston 2017. The public is invited to board the many of the ships for a behind-thescenes tour.