Spanish tall ship drops anchor in Boston

Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:28pm EDT
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By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - The Spanish Navy's dramatic tall ship, the Juan Sebastian De Elcano, crept into Boston Harbor early Tuesday morning, sails down, as part of a seven-month journey from its home port.

The 370-foot (113 meter), top-sail schooner, the third largest tall ship in the world and one of the oldest, dropped anchor with the city's gleaming business district skyline as a backdrop, ready to welcome hundreds of sailing enthusiasts on board.

"People are immediately drawn to it," said Boston Harbor Cruises captain Chris Robbins. "While it was a big part of our history, it isn't any longer," he said of the mystique surrounding massive, traditional sailing ships.

The ship, named after the Spanish explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the world, boasts four masts and 20 sails, and is the official training ship of the Spanish Navy.

Boston is the final port of call on the Elcano's current swing. After setting sail from Cadiz, Spain on Jan 3, the schooner visited such South American cities as Montevideo, Uruguay and Guayaquil, Ecuador, before heading north.

The first order of business for the 49 midshipmen aboard will be to take a final exam on navigation, while the rest of the 233-member crew prepares the vessel for visitors.

Still, most visitors aren't interested in seeing the classrooms where fourth year midshipmen study navigation, forecasting, maneuvers and English.

Instead, a glimpse into the sleeping quarters, dining room, captain's ward room and chapel is expected to draw the crowds, said Jacobo Casares, supply and public information officer aboard the ship.   Continued...

<p>The 370-foot Spanish tall ship, the Juan Sebastian De Elcano, arrived in Boston Harbor sails-down Jun 15, 2010 as part of a seven-month naval training and good-will mission. REUTERS/Lauren Keiper</p>