For the first time in seventeen years, Boston hosted the Tall Ships Parade of Sails. With over fifty ships from all over the world participating, the parade lasted for six hours. The ships passed the viewing locations twice, there was a backdrop of a water show, cannons were shot periodically, and there was a flyover.
The Parade of Sails was treated as a high security risk event with only specific places allowing entry to view the ships. Security searched each bag and used a metal detector on each person wishing to enter the viewing areas. The line was long and wrapped around the block, but went quickly. There was a large police presence both in and out of the ship viewing area. Thinking back to the Boston marathon bombing a few years ago, I was fine with the inconvenience of having to wait to see the ships.
Once we were in, we walked to the waterfront and saw the ships. There were some that are the size of a sailboat, and others that were quite a bit larger. I wanted to see the ships with the sails out, but the larger ships did not have their sails out. It would have looked more impressive, but no luck.
My favorite ship was El Galeon from Spain. The ship is wooden, which made it stand out in the crowd. There were many jokes referring to Pirates of the Caribbean made by those around me.
Another favorite was seeing men sitting up high on the cross pieces off the mast. As a young child, I saw some of the Tall Ships when they were in Portsmouth, NH, and what I still remember is seeing the men standing on the cross pieces off the mast and they looked so tiny. Because of this, I was looking for men in the same place and was delighted to spot them. Many people around me said they hadn’t noticed them until I spoke up. I wonder if they are tied in, or just risking it all?
A few times while I was there, we heard a great boom as cannons were shot. I can tell you, when this happened, everyone was on high alert. Remember, this event was considered a high security risk. But when the police were calmly continuing their work, we knew all was well. I never did figure out where the cannons were being shot from or what they were aiming at.
Toward the end of the parade, two US Navy jets came flying past spectators, eliciting lots of ooohs and ahhhs. It is a sight to see. They came back a second time, following each other rather than flying side-by-side in an off-set formation.
There are events scheduled through Wednesday, and visitors can board the ships. If I lived closer, I would probably go back when it is quieter. They expected over two million people to attend the Parade of Sails, so we passed for the day. It’s more fun for me to see the ships from a small distance.
We spent some time in Boston after the parade because there is so much to do and I don’t go to the city very often. We ended up getting a delicious snack in Faneuil Hall, then heard a street performer. Seeing street performers is one of my favorite parts of visiting big cities. The man we saw, Jason Escape, got tied up in a straightjacket, then was suspended twenty feet in the air, by his feet, and escaped. He was funny and interesting to watch. He got the audience involved and kept us entertained while risking his life.
Comment below if you saw the Tall Ships in Boston or have seen them somewhere else. Tell us a little about what you saw and where.