The vessels in this year's Tall Ships Festival will begin sailing from Bermuda, towards Charleston, South Carolina on June 15th. The earliest arrivals into Charleston are expected to arrive on the 24th of June and a week-long celebration is planned, ending on the 29th. The vessels will be prominently located in Charleston's historic harbour at the Union Pier Passenger Terminal and the Charleston Maritime Center. On the evening of June 25th, an officially Captain's Reception will welcome the Captain and Officers of each ship.
On June 26th various ships will be open to the public from 10am - 6 pm for deck tours. The Spirit of South Carolina will also be providing public tours on the 26th and the tall ship Virginia will be available for a Sunset Sail. On the 27th and 28th, various ships will again open for public deck tours starting at 10:00 am, this will once again include the Spirit of South Carolina. Another Sunset Cruise will also be available on the 28th aboard the Virginia.
The event will close out on the 29th with the famous Parade of Sail. This will mark the starting point of the race leg to Boston, Mass. for another festival from July 8th - 13th.
The last times the tall ships visited Boston was in the summers of 1992 and 2000. This year, 50 of the world's most historic sailing ships, representing more than 18 countries will be visiting the event. On the day the ships arrive, July 8, it is being estimated that over 1.2 million spectators will gather for the sight. Following that, an additional 600,000 spectators will be daily daily. Once they arrive, the ships will be docked in the growing Seaport District, Fan Pier Basin, Rowes Wharf as well as the wharves of the North End and Charlestown.
Over five million spectators visited the Tall Ships Boston event in 2000. Crowd estimates for this year's event have been increased above that figure.
The ten day Halifax event begins on July 16th. The province will welcome between 50 and 70 ships along with 4,500 of their crew. The Tall Ships will visit seven ports of call during their stay in the Canadian province, they are: Halifax, Lunenburg, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Port Hawkesbury, Sydney and Pictou. The tall ships will all sail out of Halifax Harbour in the Parade of Sail on July 20.
From there over 20 tall ships are expected to participate in the final leg of this summer's International tall ships race. The Belfast event will be held over 4 days from August 16th - 20th. The ships will transform Balfast's famous docks along the River Lagan and provide a beautiful backdrop to four days of nautical nirvana.
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