Volvo Ocean Race stopover to include 5 tall ships

April 11, 2006|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

Five tall ships and a government research vessel are slated to dock in at the Inner Harbor during visits late this month and in early May as part of the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Baltimore, according to Sail Baltimore, a local nonprofit group that welcomes visiting ships.

The vessels, along with the racing craft, are expected to draw as many as 500,000 visitors, said Laura Stevenson, executive director of Sail Baltimore. The organization was founded in 1975 and has hosted more than 400 visiting ships and 35 maritime events.

"It's highly visible for Baltimore and the international community to have those ships come from all around the world," Stevenson said.

She said the organization normally hosts just one ship at a time. "So this is a big deal."

The following is a list of the ships and when they will visit Baltimore:

Cisne Branco, a 294-foot Brazilian Navy tall ship and training vessel, April 24-30, west wall of the Inner Harbor.

Stad Amsterdam, a 250-foot, three-mast, full-rigged ship from the Netherlands, May 1-8, west wall of the Inner Harbor.

Gazela, a 178-foot, three-mast barquentine from Philadelphia, April 26-May 4, east side of Pier 1.

Pilot Schooner Virginia, a newly built, 122-foot replica of the original Virginia Pilot Schooner, April 22-May 4, Finger Piers in the Inner Harbor.

Schooner Sultana, a 97-foot topsail schooner from Chestertown, April 29-May 7, Pier 5.

Thomas Jefferson, a 208-foot National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration search vessel, April 27-May1, behind the National Aquarium.

On April 2, the Volvo Ocean Race yachts began the 5,000-mile journey from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Maryland. The race started in Vigo, Spain, in November.

After a three-day stay, beginning May 4, at the Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival in Annapolis, the yachts will sail south to a half-mile above Thomas Point Light for the restart of the race and head toward the New York Harbor.

The Volvo returns to Europe for the final legs and the race's end June 18 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The race bills itself as the world's premier offshore yachting event.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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