The Tall Ships are Coming! The Tall Ships are Coming! It’s been nearly eight years since a gathering of classic ships graced Charleston Harbor, but that’s going to change come May.
Jacob Raymond, a co-founder of the adaptive sailing program at the College of Charleston’s sailing center. Courtesy College of Charleston Sailing Program/
By Dan Dickison Traditional ships from 70 to over 300 feet will be on hand for Tall Ships Charleston 2017. Courtesy Tall Ships Charleston.
t’s a rare sight these days to see the towering spars of traditional sailing vessels lining the wharves in Charleston Harbor. Two resident ships—the Spirit of South Carolina and the Pride—are the lone exceptions. But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, dial the calendar back far enough and the peninsular city was awash in tall ships. If things go as planned, Tall Ships Charleston 2017 (May 19-21) will change that, offering residents and visitors a unique opportunity to revisit those halcyon days of maritime history. If you’re a tall ship fan, you can thank Reg Brown for this impending event. A lifelong sailor and longtime volunteer for the Spirit of South Carolina, Brown operates at the epicenter of what he’s calling “the festival.” He’s heading up a core group of some 20-plus volunteers who have been meeting regularly for months to orchestrate all of this. Brown and company say they expect at least a dozen ships to participate in the three-day affair, along with some 30,000 attendees. “At the moment,” Brown offers, “we have commitments from eight ships and we’re negotiating with another five or six.” Those eight include vessels that run the gamut from 60 feet LOA to over 300 feet. Among the smaller vessels is the 63-foot schooner When and If, which was built for General George Patton in the early 1940s. Among the larger vessels is the 380-foot, four-masted Peruvian tall ship BAP Union. Brown says that the festival, which will be staged at the old Navy Base in North Charleston, will be free and open to the public. However, there will be a $15 charge to board the ships. “That $15 will get you on board all of the tall ships,” he says, “with the exception of the four smaller vessels that will be doing sailaways.” Sailaways, he explains, will be 90minute tours under sail. Four vessels are lined up for this, including the Spirit of South Carolina, the Pride of Baltimore,
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