The Tall Ships Are Coming!

USCG Eagle heading into Boston

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

The tall ships are coming. This is what I told everyone at work last week and few demonstrated the enthusiasm I had expected. It might be because they were here just three years ago. It might be because there will be no parade of sails. However, I am as excited this year because there are more activities surrounding the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812.  I also enjoy any reason to have family come visit, and the tall ships were a good excuse for out-of-town family to journey into Boston for a weekend.

The ships arrived in an informal parade to their docking posts on Saturday morning. I had read it would start around 9 am, but it started at 7 am. I was not there to watch it that early, but what I did see, I loved. A friend of mine from work joined my family and me at our viewing spot along the harbor in East Boston. She had recently read the books that the movie “Master and Commander” was based on and couldn’t wait to see the big ships in real life. In fact, as she was describing the books as good, adventurous, swashbuckling tales, one of the ships fired off a cannon! It scared all of us onlookers but it was awesome. And so loud!

USCG Eagle with Boston in the background

I really know next to nothing about ships and all I could do was marvel at their beauty as they came into the harbor. I was disappointed that most of the sails were not down because the wind was blowing out of the harbor and I could not see the boats in all of their glory. However, with the aid of my friend’s binoculars, we realized that rows of people stood at the ready to raise or lower the sails. I found this as remarkable as seeing the ships with all of their sails unfurled. One ship, the Gloria from Colombia that had a gorgeous flag billowing in the wind, had their sailors in different colors on each sail level. Hopefully you can see what I mean with the pictures.

Gloria from Colombia- if you look closely, you can see that the sailors on the different levels are in different colored shirts.

As I did research by reading the Boston Globe articles and reading more about the ships on the internet, I discovered that one of the boats, the Cisne Branco from Brazil, is a classic example of a clipper ship. I did not see the ship come in, so I do not have a picture of it. But, here is a link to a great picture: picture link

The Cisne Branco is a fully-rigged ship, meaning it has three or more masts with all sails on the mast square-rigged. The Guayas from Ecuador, the US Coast Guard Eagle and the Gloria from Colombia are barques. This means there are three or more masts with all of the sails except the aftmast square-rigged. The aftmast if for-and-aft rigged. As for the Dwaruci, which is from Indonesia, it is a barquentine, meaning it has three or more masts that are all fore-and-aft rigged, except that the foremast is fully square-rigged.

We were going to go to a museum on Sunday, but we read that a re-enactment of battles between privateers would occur in the harbor around 2ish. We arrived at our favorite park in East Boston and had a bird’s eye view of the mock battle. I was again amazed at how loud the cannons were and it helped me understand better the sea battles of years ago.

they approach…

they battle…

they sail away to circle back and do it all again…

I also loved seeing the harbor full of boats, as this is how the harbor would have been during the time I write about.  If you are in or around Boston this week, I would recommend stopping by the harbor to see the tall ships. They are here until Friday. If you are lucky, you will be able to see them sail out of the harbor.

Happy 4th everyone!

  • Hi Ramona! I’m coming over from the Wana site and I’m so glad I did :-) The tall ships are coming to Lisbon (Portugal) later in the month and I’ll be right there on the shore to watch them. Beautiful

    • Hi Susan,
      So glad you visited from WANA. I hope you are able to see the tall ships when they are in Portugal, they are truly majestic and beautiful. Thanks for visiting!

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