The overcast skies and thick afternoon fog didn’t stop thousands of people from heading down to the Halifax waterfront on Saturday for the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.
The boardwalk was packed as hundreds of people waited in lineups to get a glimpse onboard some of the 25 ships docked in the harbour.
“The Tall Ships are incredible. I think it’s a great festival,” said Eduardo Mesquita, who was there with his family from Brazil. They were among the 250,000 to 600,000 people expected to visit during the event’s four days.
Mesquita’s young son, Lucas, said the best thing about the ship they visited was its four “steering wheels.”
But the family was anxious to see one of the biggest ships, the Spanish vessel El Galeon, which attracted a line more than 200 metres long. The wooden galleon is a replica of a 16th- and 17th-century ship that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet.
The bright green Alexander von Humboldt II, which hails from Germany, also stood out in the crowd
The Class A tall ship is dedicated to sail-training for young people, like Allen Wywrot from Thunder Bay, Ont., who’s been on the ship as a trainee since July 20.
“It’s a very good introduction to sailing life, I think,” he said. Wywrot’s been learning about rigging, knot-tying and the different types of sails.
And there’s been a bit of a learning curve when it comes to space.
“I keep hitting my head on everything in the cramped conditions in my cabin,” he said with a smile. “But it comes with the territory.”
Bernhard Kaczenski, first mate aboard the Alexander von Humboldt II, has been sailing on this ship since 1991. He was last in Halifax in 1981 when he came with a container ship.
“Over 40 years later I stay here, I’m very proud to be here and to see the kindly people in Halifax,” he said.
“It’s my wonderful hobby. In my normal life, I’m a marine police officer in Germany and during my holiday time I sail. It’s…