Travel Tips

Boston Prepares for Fleet of Tall Ships

Sailing shipBostonians will get a glimpse back in time later this week as powerful Atlantic winds push a fleet of about 40 historic “tall ships” into harbors all around the city.

The ships are competing in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge, a 7,000 mile circular transatlantic regatta that started in Spain in April and ends in Northern Ireland in August.

Besides Boston, other port stops during the race include the Canary Islands, Bermuda, Charleston, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sail Boston, the organization that is hosting the ships this year, expects several thousand people to turn out to view the vessels, which are characterized by their high masts, large sails and long bows. There will also be an schedule of events ranging from soccer games to music performances in and around Boston Harbor.

Don’t miss our Off the Brochure Travel Guide to Boston.

Many of the ships will be open for public viewing from July 9-13. Visitors can access seven of them via Charlestown Navy Yard piers 1 and 4, and another seven at the Fish Pier at the Seaport World Trade Center in South Boston. Specific times vary for each ship, so check the SailBoston Web site for more information.

The HMS WarriorOther ships will be moored at Battery Wharf and Rowe’s Wharf in Boston, the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, and the outer harbor at Cottage Park in Winthrop.

Visitors can not only view the ships from land, but also from the water. Gawkers are welcome to cruise by in either their own private boats, or by taking a commercial harbor cruise.

This year there will be no grand entry parade as there was in 2000, the last time the Tall Ships visited Boston, because organizers were concerned about overcrowding and the cost of policing the event.

In fact, the entire event almost did not happen due to wrangling over money between Sail Boston and Mayor Tom Menino’s office. The mayor was reluctant to shell out millions in overtime to pay police officers to patrol the crowds, but at the last minute the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority coughed up about $1 million, which allowed the event to go forward.

By Karen Elowitt for

Trying to get to Boston? Don’t land at Logan–check out America’s Best Alternate Airports.

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