In 1609 Sir George Somers and his ship, the Sea Venture shipwrecked on Bermuda en route to feed the Jamestown colonists in America—a historical mishap that inspired Shakespeare’s The Tempest and eventually created a vibrant island nation. Exactly 400 years later Bermuda is in full celebration mode with sporting events, music festivals, and regattas planned throughout the year, like the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge, a whopper of an event that reached our shores last week. On April 30, a fleet of 21 high-masted monohull sailboats—including Marlon Brando’s famed S.S. Bounty—departed Vigo, Spain for what would be a 7,000-nautical-mile journey through Tenerife, Bermuda, Charleston, Boston, Halifax, and Belfast, Ireland. The tall ships sailed into Hamilton last Thursday, each one entering the harbor with a mighty canon boom. To our delight, the sailboats were open to the public, a courtesy we took full advantage of. Our favorites were the Capitán Miranda, a gorgeous three-masted schooner from Uruguay (see above), the aforementioned S.S. Bounty (that’s Joy at the helm), and the Pride of Baltimore, which flew a giant American flag on loan from Maryland’s Fort McHenry. After a week of festivities celebrating their arrival, the ships sailed from Hamilton on Tuesday, leaving Bermuda the same way they arrived—with flags flying, sails billowing, and the sounds of booming cannon shots ringing in the air. Looks like we got here just in time for the party.
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