Pirates and captains clashed at the kick off of Tall Ships 2009 yesterday, with organizers announcing recession-fighting prices and calling for more volunteers.
Up to 50 ships will sail into Halifax this summer for the July 16 to 20 waterfront festival. The ships will also visit ports around Nova Scotia as the festival unrolls province-wide until Aug. 1.
The press conference at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic was interrupted by a sword fight between arch rivals Captain John Loyal and the pirate Roger Mack. The two will spar with each other in a battle for the boardwalk throughout the festival.
“We are 104 days away,” said spokeswoman Leanne Strathdee. “Tall ship gatherings in Nova Scotia have become a must for visitors from near and far. Tall ships under sail simply make history come alive.”
Strathdee said new streamlining measures will make boarding ships faster for advance-ticket holders. The festival has about 750 volunteers and needs 250 more, mainly for “marine security” positions on the waterfront.
The summer sail party will be comprised of ships from Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Germany, Barbados, the U.K., Bermuda and the U.S., making it one the largest tall ships gathering in North America in a decade, organizers said.
After the Parade of Sail in Halifax, some of the ships will head to Lunenburg, Port Hawkesbury, Louisbourg, Sydney, Pictou and Pugwash.
“The boardwalk and the spectacular views are open and free to everyone,” said Colin MacLean, president of the Waterfront Development Corporation.
Day passes range from $10 for a single ticket to $20 for a family pass. Weekend passes, senior and group rates are also available. Go to tallshipsnovascotia.com.