BOSTON (AP) — Dozens of majestic vessels from around the globe dazzled crowds Saturday as the ships sailed through Boston's inner harbor for the first time in 17 years.
Thick fog, gray skies and a little rain didn't deter thousands of spectators from filling their boats or gathering at the shores of East Boston, Castle Island and areas around the Boston Harbor, where they eagerly awaited the colorful procession of tall ships dubbed Sail Boston.
The start of the parade was delayed a few hours due to safety concerns over the fog. But crowds still formed along the harbor— binoculars, cameras and selfie sticks in hands —to catch a glimpse of ships in the distance.
The U.S. Coast Guard's Eagle led the parade on the ocean, passing by throngs of people. The white, 295-foot-long (89-meter-long) tall ship was taken by the U.S. from Germany as reparation following World War II. The ship, which is now used for cadet and officer candidate training, is one of many with a historical backstory.
"Part of what I like about New England is the history and this is sort of a nod to the history," said Adrian Lindsay, 32, of Boston, who learned of the event a few days ago.
Marion O'Donnoll, 56, of Stoughton, Massachusetts, said she had also just recently heard the parade was taking place Saturday, but had attended the bicentennial in 1976. "Me and my friends rode on the Coast Guard's ship (at the 1976 parade)," said O'Donnoll, who added that she wasn't sure what ship she'd ride this time.
Several families, including one from Nashua, New Hampshire, brought their young children to marvel at the spectacle, and many were excited by the opportunity to come aboard the vessels.
More than 50 tall ships from Europe, South America and the U.S. converged on the city as part of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, a trans-Atlantic race spanning the United Kingdom, Bermuda and other locations. Boston is the only U.S. port on the route.
The city has hosted a number of tall ships in recent years, but hasn't seen a Grand Parade of Sail since 2000.