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Ships of many shapes visiting Baltimore in '92 4-month-long Operation Sail to begin May 29


From expeditions five centuries ago when stars guided explorers across the oceans to modern-day missions guided by satellites, Baltimore's Operation Sail '92 will remember them all during a four-month waterfront exposition that will begin May 29.

Officials expect to attract about 250,000 people to the waterfront exhibitions in the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.

The event will continue through June 8, when authentic replicas of Christopher Columbus' ships -- the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria -- will parade up the Chesapeake Bay and into Baltimore's harbor.

From then until Sept. 15, historic, naval and tall ships will gather in the city's port to commemorate the Columbus quincentenary.

"It will be nice, since each ship or group of ships will be the centerpiece instead of a collection," said John Davis, a member of the board of directors of Operation Sail '92 and co-chairman of the event.

The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria replicas, called the Caravels, will make Baltimore the 10th stop on their U.S. tour.

Built and owned by the Spanish government, they were crafted with 15th century methods. The builders used hand-forged nails and hemp caulking on the keels and decks.

The ships will gather at the Francis Scott Key Bridge. They are to be welcomed by a flotilla of fireboats and pleasure craft, said Mary Sue McCarthy, executive director of Operation Sail.

"This will bring into Baltimore the widest variety of ships ever," Ms. McCarthy said. "It is all being done to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Columbus voyage and when he landed in North America."

Throughout the late spring and summer, ships from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay will visit Baltimore. They will include three tall ships, naval training ships with sophisticated electronic gear, Chesapeake schooners and frigates.

All ships will be open for free public tours except the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, which will charge a nominal fee.

In conjunction with the ship visits, ethnic festivals and entertainment from the ship's nation of origin will be presented at the Harborplace Amphitheater between the twin pavilions of Harborplace.

The Brasil, described by local officials as one of the most beautiful naval training ships in the world, will be docked at the west wall of the Inner Harbor June 7-13. The white and gold frigate is used to train Brazilian midshipmen.

The following week, 12 schooners -- each about 200 feet long -- will be part of the Fells Point Maritime Festival. The Class B ships are from ports around the United States.

Four Dutch frigates carrying 824 officers and crew members will brighten up the Inner Harbor. The vessels visiting from the Netherlands will be a guided missile frigate, an air defense frigate, a standard frigate and a fast-support ship.

Other visiting craft will include a Canadian submarine, a Danish merchant training ship built in 1934, a Uruguayan naval training vessel and a Portuguese naval vessel bearing the traditional Portuguese Cross of Christ on its sails.

Two of the most popular visitors this summer will be Italy's Amerigo Vespucci and Germany's Gorch Fock II, both to be docked at the Inner Harbor.

The Italian ship, 331 feet long and fully rigged, is one of the oldest ships in the world, according to Operation Sail officials. Built in 1931, it is used to train fleet sailors and Italy's naval academy midshipmen.

Operation Sail '92 In Baltimore

Schedule of visits to Baltimore this summer by some tall ships (and others) being arranged through Baltimore Operation Sail. Schedules are subject to change because of sailing conditions. For information, call 837-INFO or 800-282-6632.


May 29-.. .Nina, Pinta,..Spain.. .. Replicas of.. .To be announced

June 8.. ..Santa Maria .. .. .. .. .Columbus' caravels

June 7-13..Brasil.. .. ..Brazil.. ..Modern.. .. .. Inner Harbor

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. frigate.. .. ..west wall

June 19-21 12 ships.. .. United.. ..Traditional.. ..Fells Point

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .States.. ..sail ships.. .. .. .. .. ..

June 26-29 4 ships.. .. . Nether-.. Modern.. .. .. .Fells Point,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..lands.. ..frigates.. .. ..Inner Harbor

July 3-7.. .. .. .. .. .. Canada.. .Submarine.. .. .Inner Harbor

July 17-.. Georg Stage.. .Denmark.. 135-foot full-..Inner Harbor

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .rigged tall ship.. west wall

July 20-.. Capitan.. .. ..Uruguay.. 205-foot stay-..Inner Harbor

.. .. Miranda.. .. .. .. schooner (tall ship)..west wall

July 27-.. Sagres.. .. .. Portugal..298-foot bark.. .Inner Harbor

31 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. tall ship.. .. ..west wall

Aug. 20-.. Amerigo.. .. ..Italy.. ..331-foot full-.. Inner Harbor

24.. .. .. Vespucci.. .. .. rigged ship (tall ship).. west wall

Aug. 24-.. Gorch Fock.. ..Germany.. 293-foot bark.. .Inner Harbor

Sept. 15.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .(tall ship).. .. west wall

Aug. 31-.. Lancaster.. .. England.. 436-foot modern..Fells Point

BSept. 9.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .frigate (tall ship).. .. .. .. ..

SOURCE: Baltimore Operation Sail

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