Captains and crews could not have been happier in Halifax, Leanne Strathdee, events director of this year’s Nova Scotia Tall Ships Festival, said yesterday.

“Everyone was so grateful of the hospitality Halifax offered,” Srathedee said. “The captains and crews had a great time, and not only at the tall ships event but getting to know our city.”

Although 80,000 people were expected to come see the ships pulled into port in Halifax this summer, Kelly Rose, spokeswoman for the Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd., said the finally tally of visitors won’t be released until August. On Sunday, the Halifax Port Authority clocked 4,000 people buying tickets in one hour.


But the event is far from over. Some ships are en route to Cape Breton, and will stop at ports in Louisbourg, Port Hawkesbury, Sydney, Lunenburg and Pugwash, until their final departure on Aug. 1.

“It gives people an opportunity to see the ships in another community and a different setting,” Rose said.

In addition to spectators, 1,200 red-shirted volunteers -- what Rose called the corporation’s “sea of red” -- helped make sure everything ran smoothly, from shipside docking to food services.

Forty-one ships visited Halifax from more than 14 countries including the United States, Germany, Italy and Brazil, with crews ranging greatly in age, from 16 to 50 years old.

This is the fourth time in two decades that Halifax has hosted a tall ships festival. Srathedee said the vessels could sail into Halifax Harbor again as soon as 2012.

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