By Rick Winterson
Last Saturday was memorable beyond imagining. “Sail Boston” began with a day-long “Parade of Sail”.
It brought back the other Tall Ships events, even as far back as America’s 200th Birthday in 1976. The viewing location covered by this article is Boston Harbor’s North Jetty, part of Massport. Another major viewing point in South Boston was set on Castle Island. Despite a late start (due to the fog) and a generally cloudy day, it was an absolutely spectacular display of majestic sailing ships – 54 in number – as they proceeded from Broad Sound, around Deer Island, onto the President Roads, and into the Inner Harbor.
The arrangements – especially security – deserve mention. Shuttle buses whisked spectators from around South Boston to the south edge of Boston Harbor, which is Massport property. Tom Glynn (the Massport CEO), Tom Butler, and the entire staff arranged a grandstand, refreshments, and unobstructed viewing for thousands. That indefatigable South Boston DJ Dru Errico provided the music, as far back as disco. Some even danced on the jetty. Both breakfast and lunch refreshments were provided. The security was swift, complete, and basically made each spectator feel safe. You don’t have to be told how terrorism is plaguing large gatherings. It was a fantastic job on keeping everyone safe. Boston Strong!!!
The 54 ships were of all sizes, including a number of them that looked like small pleasure craft. The largest was the “Union”, a training ship for the Peruvian Navy. She sported four masts, the fore, main, and mizzen, each of which could carry six large sails, and a so-called “Bonaventure” mast with rear spankers. At 379 feet long, she would barely fit inside Gillette Stadium. Two other huge ships came from South America: the “Esmerelda” (Chile, 371 feet) and the “Guayas” (Ecuador, 257 feet). The “Eagle” from America (295 feet) was spectacular as well. The piratical galleon – “El Galeon” (Spain), the deep red sails on many ships, and the cannon salutes added to Saturday’s striking, picturesque spectacle.
The viewing and partying and socializing among families and friends during Saturday’s “Parade of Sail” took place from 9 in the morning until mid-afternoon. It was non-stop. Many new friends from all over Southie were made; a number of old acquaintanceships were renewed. If you missed Saturday, South Boston Online hopes you took advantage of the rest of “Sail Boston” through Wednesday evening. If you missed it all, think about watching the Tall Ships depart this morning (Thursday) from 8 till 11 a.m.
If you did not get to see those ships at all, then words fail us – you just had to be there.