Boston’s ports will once again make a splash onto the world stage this weekend. From June 17 to June 22, Sail Boston will draw 55 vessels from around the world and thousands of visitors to the city’s waterfront. Here’s everything you need to know before the tall ships sail into town.
What is Sail Boston?
The six-day festivity is a celebration of Boston’s maritime past and present. The signature event is the Grand Parade of Sail on June 17, in which the tall ships will spend the day sailing from Broad Sound to the main channel of Boston Harbor to Charlestown. This isn’t something you can catch every year, as the last parade was in 2000 and there hasn’t been a Sail Boston event since 2007.
Moreover, Sail Boston is part of a larger global event, the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Confederation, ships will be racing through six international ports throughout the summer in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Bermuda, America, Canada and France. Boston is the only U.S. location to see the all-star fleet of tall ships.
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Can you board the tall ships?
The tall ships will be available for the public to board during the entirety of the Sail Boston festival. Attendees will get a chance to see a world-class ship up close and ask questions to the crew. Additionally boating enthusiasts will have plenty of ways to interact with and learn about the nautical world.
On Monday June 19, those behind the tall ships will take a turn in the spotlight in the Crew & Cadet street parade, which travels from Seaport Boulevard to Downtown Crossing. On Tuesday, June 20, at Charlestown Navy Yard and Wednesday, June 21, at Fan Pier, you can take part in a sunset salute with local military organizations and bands.
What else is going on?
Even if you’re not a ship fanatic, there’s plenty of ways to get involved with the merriment. From June 17 to June 21, attendees can enjoy music, entertainment and food for purchase all day at Boston Fish Pier and Charlestown Navy Yard. Those who like sports and good old-fashioned rivalry will delight in the Crew & Cadet Soccer Tournament in Moakley Park on Tuesday, June 20, at 10 a.m. and a tug-of-war match Wednesday, June 21, at noon. For those who prefer snacking over sports, there will be an official Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Boston Fish Pier Sunday, June 18, at 2:30 p.m. The top male and female finishers will be eligible to compete at the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Where can people eat?
Apart from the food being sold by festival vendors, several area restaurants will add specials to their menu in honor of the event. Seafood destinations Pier 6 in Charlestown and ReelHouse in East Boston are both official event-viewing locations. As you watch the tall ships sail by, feast on lobster rolls, swordfish kabobs and fried clams at Pier 6 and enjoy live shucking and an oyster bar at ReelHouse.
On the other side of the harbor, Pauli’s North End will have on hand its famed U.S.S. Lobstitution, a $69.99 lobster roll with 1.5 pounds of meat. The self-proclaimed largest lobster roll in New England will be available with a complimentary cup of chowder during Sail Boston, between June 17 and June 21. Moving south, State Street Provisions in the Long Wharf will serve two Sail Boston-inspired cocktails and TAMO Bistro + Bar at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center is offering two Peruvian-inspired dishes to celebrate the Peruvian ship docked there.
How does it impact the city?
Obviously it’s cool, but why have city leaders invested so much money into the nautical spectacle? For one, with all the tourism and media attention, Sail Boston is expected to have a $120 million economic impact on the city, according to event spokesperson Robin Reibel. Moreover, Reibel says that Sail Boston organizers hope to cement the city’s reputation as a maritime destination.
“People, particularly in Boston, have a fascination with the sea and maritime history,” she says. “This is very much part of the fabric of who we are as a city.”
If you go:
June 17 – 22, various locations, sailboston.com