Sail Boston `17: Tall Ships Return to Beantown

Tall Ships will return to Boston this year for Sail Boston ’17, a six day extravaganza packed with events, education, and fun.

The ships will be in port from June 17 to the morning of June 22. Sail Boston is part of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Boston will be the only U.S. port for participating ships, and thus will certainly be an exciting event you don’t want to miss!

Here’s what you need to see and some things to expect this week:

Opening Ceremony:

Crowd by tall ships

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Today, June 16 / 12 p.m.

The opening ceremony will kick off the Sail Boston festivities with speakers, a Blessing of the Sails for the boats, and a presentation of the national flags of all participating tall ships. A real Boston fire boat will be a central part of the ceremony, spraying water to create a picturesque backdrop.


Grand Parade of Sail:

tall ships in the harbor

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Saturday, June 17 / 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The feature event of the week, the Grand Parade of Sail will see all the tall ships proceeding from their anchor point in Broad Sound to Boston Harbor, through the Waterfront and Charlestown, and finally to their designated port spots for the week. So whether you watch from a purchased seat or the Harbor walk, this will be a majestic procession you don’t want to miss. After all, who knows the next time these tall ships will be back?!

Featured ships will include the Alexander von Humboldt II, the Esmeralda, and the Union. Parade viewing areas can be found on the Sail Boston website’s inner harbor map. 

View and Boards and Harbor Festivals:

People walk on board a tall ship

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Saturday, June 17 to Wednesday, June 21 / 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (not until 4 p.m. on June 17)

Starting only an hour after the Grand Parade of Sail, you can not only look at, but actually go on board the iconic tall ships. Boats will be housed at the Boston Fish Pier, the World Trade Center, Fan Pier and the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Both the Boston Fish Pier and the Charlestown Navy Yard will be holding festivals to celebrate the ships, including musical performances, entertainment, and food.

Note: Boarding times may vary by ship.


Tall Ships Worship Service

sermon at chapel of our lady of good voyage tall ships

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Sunday, June 18 / 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

A worship service will be available on Sunday morning for anyone on the ships’ crews as well as the general public. The ecumenical service will be held in the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Voyage.


Crew Competitions

tall ship crews engage in tug of war

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Soccer Tournament: Tuesday, June 20 / 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tug Of War: Wednesday, June 21 / 12 p.m.

Sail Boston will provide plenty of fun for not just spectators, but tall ship crews as well! The first chance crews will get to compete is on Tuesday, with a soccer tournament being held in Moakley Park. The next day, sailors will get to face off in a game of Tug of War in South Boston Maritime Park.

Cheer on the crew from your favorite ship, or just go to see some of the world’s most rugged crews compete in tests of strength and skill!


Memorial Wreath Laying

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial tall ships

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Sunday, June 18 / 11 a.m.

Memorial wreaths will be laid on Sunday to pay tribute to those from Massachusetts who gave their lives serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of our nation. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, along with servicemen and women from Canada, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, lay the wreaths at the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial .


Street Parade

tall ship cadets march in a parade

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Monday, June 19 / 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Crew and cadets from the tall ships will be marching in a parade from Seaport Boulevard to Downtown Crossing on Monday afternoon, accompanied by marching bands and distinguished guests from around the world. Be sure to grab a spot along the route early to ensure you get to see this fun family spectacle! The Downtown Boston Business Improvement District is sponsoring the parade this year.

Sunset Salutes

us army drill team tall ships

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Tuesday, June 20 and Wednesday, June 21 / 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

One of the most impressive displays besides the ships themselves, come check out one of the two Sunset Salutes to see incredible military displays as well as musical performances and other entertainment acts. Different militaries and groups will be part of each of the two displays, so check out Sail Boston’s website to make sure you catch the night with your favorites (or catch both)!


On Thursday morning the tall ships will sail off, concluding this fun week. Many events besides those listed here will be available, so be sure to grab some friends, family, or both and head down to the water for Sail Boston ’17!

Special public transport is available for Sail Boston, as well as an app that can be downloaded for more information.

Want to stay in the know for Boston’s upcoming events? Check out our events page on IM Boston!


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