PORTSMOUTH — The Piscataqua Maritime Commission announced the Parade of Sail to welcome the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eagle and three other tall ships to Portsmouth will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1.
The Parade of Sail will begin at the K2R buoy at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbor at approximately 6:30 that evening because that is the point at which the tide will be deep enough so the three-masted Eagle can safely fit under the raised Memorial Bridge on its way to docking at the New Hampshire State Pier on the Piscataqua River.
In addition to the Eagle, three tall ships will participate in this year's Sail Portsmouth event: The Lynx, The Harvey Gamage and The Roseway. The public is invited to join in the Parade of Sail, in their private boats or along the banks of the Piscataqua. Greeting the parade will be an official welcome water-spray salute from a U.S. Navy fireboat and, weather permitting, the Coast Guard will provide aerial cover, all at sunset on a summer evening.
"We’re very excited that the Eagle will be going under the Memorial Bridge and turning around in the river as the sun is going down. We expect huge crowds and are excited for the whole town," said Jerry Gulley, a member of the board of directors of the Piscataqua Maritime Commission which hosts Sail Portsmouth.
This will be the fourth time the USCGC Eagle has visited Portsmouth for the annual tall ships celebration. Shortly after the Eagle docks on the evening of Aug. 1, there will be a welcome ceremony at the State Pier honoring "America's Tall Ship" as it is known.
The festival will run from Aug. 1-11 with the Eagle being open for tours from Aug. 2-4. Tours will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Members of the military and first responders can have early access to the ship at 9 a.m. those days. Tours of the government-owned Eagle are free as the cutter belongs to the people of the United States.
The other three tall ships participating in Sail Portsmouth – the Lynx, Harvey Gamage and Roseway – will be available for two-hour and daylong sails with tickets ranging in price from $65 to $125. The Lynx will even be available for the public to ride on as it escorts the Eagle into port during the Parade of Sail on Aug. 1. Daylong sails on the tall ships to Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Boston will also take place. The sails on the tall ships are for ages 8 and up.
There is also the opportunity for local businesses and organizations to host a catered evening reception aboard the Eagle during its visit. Those interested can call (603) 833-0844 to learn more.
All proceeds from Sail Portsmouth events support PMC’s Sea Challenge program, which gives local teenagers the opportunity to experience sail training on a tall ship each summer.
Last year, approximately, 8,000 people toured the ships, making it the largest Sail Portsmouth festival ever. The festival with the second largest attendance was the last time the Eagle participated in 2013.
The USCGC Eagle, also known as the Barque Eagle, is a 295-foot barque used as a training cutter for future Coast Guard officers. This is the seventh Coast Guard cutter to bear the name in a line dating back to an original Revenue Cutter built in 1792.
The Lynx, a square topsail schooner, is based in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Built in 2001 in Maine, it is named and modeled after the original Lynx, which tried to run a Royal Navy blockade 1813, but was captured by the British who took her into service as the HMS Mosquidobit.
The 131-foot Harvey Gamage, built in 1973 in Maine, is a gaff-rigged topsail schooner with 4,200 square feet of sail. Its construction details recall the coastal schooners of the 1860s in the United States.
Launched from Essex, Massachusetts, in 1925, the Roseway, is a gaff-rigged schooner operated by the World Ocean School, a nonprofit educational organization based in Camden, Maine.
New this year is a pre-festival beer tasting event, the Tall Sips Brewfest, featuring more than 30 breweries. PMC created this event to raise awareness and excitement about the Eagle’s upcoming visit and funds for the expanding organization. The Tall Sips Brewfest will take place on July 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne State Park in Rye. Tickets are $35 for those age 21-plus and include 10 3-ounce samples of beer. Tickets are available at www.sailportsmouthnh.org. Those under 21 are free and there will be many family and children's activities available including lawn games, roaming pirates and ice cream. Food will be available for purchase separately. Proceeds from the brewfest will benefit Sail Portsmouth and the PMC's Sea Challenge program.
For more information about and tickets to all Sail Portsmouth events, visit www.sailportsmouthnh.org or call (603) 353-0308 or email email@example.com. Find the Sail Portsmouth page on Facebook and on Instagram at @sailportsmouth.