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Fleet sails into SW waterfront for annual festival, March 22-April 4

(Published March 10, 2003)

A fleet of five tall ships will be welcomed to the Districtís Southwest waterfront March 22 as part of this yearís National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The ships will be docked for two weeks, through April 4, at the Gangplank Marina, 600 Water St. SW, and will be open for daily public tours.

This year, the D.C. Tall Ships program also will offer public sailing opportunities for a fee aboard the schooner Adventurer and the skipjack Martha Lewis, two of the fleetís ships.

The program is sponsored by the National Maritime Heritage Foundation, which is raising funds to build and berth two replicas of early 1800s schooners on the Districtís waterfront. The groupís work is supported by several local foundations. The maritime foundation is exploring the possibility of its plans becoming a part of the D.C. governmentís Anacostia Waterfront Initiative.

The schooners are envisioned as educational re-sources and goodwill ambassadors for the nationís capital and the surrounding region.

One, called The Pearl, would be a 65-foot Chesapeake-style schooner. The other, called The Spirit of Enterprize, would be a 140-foot double topsail schooner.

This yearís event features the HMS Bounty, the Kalmar Nyckel, the Martha Lewis, the Adventurer and the Norseman, a Leif Erikson era Viking ship.

All five ships will be featured in a "Welcoming Parade of Sail" from 10-11 a.m. March 22 along the Southwest waterfront.

The U.S. Navy Band will perform from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by a welcoming ceremony at noon featuring special performances with re-enactors and the beginning of public tours.

The ships will be open for public tours from 2 to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. A $5 donation per person will be requested.

A Maritime Pavilion will feature exhibits, performers, vendors, music, re-enactors and family activities throughout the fleetís two-week visit.

A special Pirate Festival is planned for March 29-30.

The National Maritime Heritage Foundation also is coordinating with D.C. Public Schools officials to provide special educational activities tailored to specific age groups and studentsí curriculum.

More information about the tall ships program is available online at www. or by contacting the sponsoring foundation at (202) 547-1250.

Copyright 2003, The Common Denominator