Forty-five tall ships and sailboats from 17 countries, many of them century-old navy training vessels that had sailed from as far as Russia, Bermuda, and Argentina, dotted Boston Harbor this past weekend as part of the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge 2009, an international regatta that began in Vigo, Spain, and will end in Belfast, Ireland.
The Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston National Historical Park hosted the United States Coast Guardâs Eagle, the schooner Amistad, and the Spirit of Bermuda.
"Sail Boston 2009 has turned out to be a magnificent experience for tens of thousands of visitors from around New England, from around the country, and from all over the world," said park superintendent Terry Savage. "President Kennedy said that we are 'tied to the oceanâ¦and when we go back to the sea â whether it is to sail or to watch it âwe are going back from whence we came,' and folks flocked to the waterfront this weekend to reinforce that."
In 1976, Boston National Historical Park inaugurated its visiting ship program when the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia brought Queen Elizabeth II to Boston to participate in American Revolution Bicentennial celebrations. The park has hosted hundreds of visiting ships since then as an integral part of the interpretation of the Charlestown Navy Yard. From the Royal Yacht Britannia to the majestic U.S. Coast Guard training vessel Eagle,the visiting ship program offers visitors a captivating glimpse into the city's maritime history and into the activities that for nearly two centuries supported the United States Navy.