If you are headed to Sail Boston, your best best is to avoid driving. One good option is the Sail Boston Express, which is a direct bus connection that will pick up passengers from park and rides around New England. In addition, the MBTA is offering special fares: $5 MBTA Sail Boston Shuttles-to-Ships Pass, a $15 Day Sailor Pass, a $25 Commodore Pass and a $35 Commuter Rail Day Sailor Pass. In the event that you do drive to the event, expect street closures and limited parking in the Seaport, Charlestown, South Boston, East Boston and the North End.
The festivities get underway at noon on Friday, June 16, at the Boston Harbor Hotel Rotunda. A ceremonial welcome will be held while a Boston fireboat ceremonially sprays water in the background to welcome the tall ships. A speaking program will include the Blessing of the Sails, and flags from each participating country will be presented.
The showcase event of the weekend goes from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. The Grand Parade of Sail moves from the Broad Sound into Boston Harbor’s main channel. Soon after, the parade moves along the waterfront, turns at Charlestown and moves to their assigned locations. There are a variety of locations to watch the parade from. Visit Sail Boston’s website for a complete map, and to see a list of prohibited items in the crowd.
Once the Parade of Sail comes to an end, the ships will be docked at piers around the area for visitors to view and board. The public viewings will be available daily at Boston Fish Pier, World Trade Center, Fan Pier and Charlestown Navy Yard. Specific boarding times will be posted closer to the event, and may vary.
Boston Fish Pier and the Charlestown Navy Yard host a variety of activities from Saturday, June 17-Wednesday, June 21, from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. There will be musical performances and other forms of entertainment, along with food for sale. On Sunday at 11 a.m. a Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial wreath laying is planned, while Monday at noon there will be a crew and cadet street parade takes place from Seaport Blvd. to Downtown Crossing. A complete list of the week’s events is available online.
The 2017 edition of Sail Boston wraps up on Thursday, June 22, when the tall ships depart Boston Harbor. Many of the vessels will continue sailing onto the next leg of the Rendez-Vous Tall Ships Regatta, which continues in Canada.