Gillian Outerbridge 2017-05-02 10:07:00
ICONIC TALL SHIPS SET SAIL FOR BERMUDA. “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by….” Cadets, students, crew and deckhands aboard the many “tall ship” sail training vessels voyaging the world today would do well to take on board a copy of John Masefield’s Salt Water Poems and Ballads. In 2017, a flotilla will be Bermuda-bound even though they will have sailed many a nautical mile before they arrive off Bermuda’s welcoming coast. In May they leave Portugal and emulate the lifestyle of famed Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama (1460–1524) — but with Bermuda in their sights. The island is an experienced host to fleets of tall ships, having acted as such numerous times in the past and indeed proving a useful mid-Atlantic stage between Europe and the Americas. As the many celebrated training ships set a course for the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London for the April launch, Bermuda will be gearing up to offer an islandwide welcome to the statuesque vessels in June. Many will be able to moor right alongside the waterfront in Hamilton and St. George’s, where they will be entertained and feted in true island fashion. After the brisk Atlantic crossing, many will be relieved to get their shore legs once again and join in the festivities, music, food, dancing and camaraderie. Local families will be competing to host and entertain students and crew and will swarm aboard the moored vessels to enjoy the seabourne life vicariously for a few salty hours. Then it’s all aboard once again as the vessels weigh anchor, raise sails and head west to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to join Canadians celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. On August 1, the ships head back out across the Atlantic to Europe to rendezvous in Le Havre, France, for the grand finale.
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