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Ships from Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States will drop anchor at the Inner Harbor and Fells Point over the next four months for Baltimore Operation Sail '93.

"We have a variety of ships this year, from one of the world's largest tall ships to one of the smallest replicas," said Mary Sue McCarthy, executive director of Operation Sail.

That replica is the Half Moon, a first-time visitor that is a copy of a ship built in 1608 by the Dutch East India Co. and sailed by Henry Hudson in 1609.

Last year's Operation Sail schedule brought six tall ships to Baltimore. This year, only two of the world-renowned vessels, plus a variety of other ships, are scheduled, all offering free tours.

The season's first tall ship to arrive will be the Simon Bolivar fromVenezuela on July 8 for a weeklong stay -- a fillip to go with the Major League All-Star Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Later in July, the Argentine navy training ship Libertad -- a full-rigged sailing ship more than a football field long -- is to arrive.

Both have visited Baltimore before -- the Simon Bolivar in 1986 and the Libertad in 1990.

Other noteworthy visitors include the Spirit of Massachusetts, a "type replica" designed after the Gloucester fishing schooners of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the Bluenose II from Canada, a replica of the famous Grand Banks fishing schooner of the same name pictured on the Canadian dime; and the Brasil, a 423-foot "modern" frigate used for training Brazilian midshipmen.

Operation Sail also will co-produce three events this fall and winter: the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Oct. 13-14, the sixth annual CSX Lighted Boat Parade Dec. 4, and a new event, Seafarer's Week and Water Parade, Oct. 21-24.

The latter is to include exhibits, a multistop tour of the waterfront's maritime businesses and a visit to Dundalk Marine Terminal.

Operation Sail, a private, nonprofit organization, announced its 1993 schedule of visiting ships and maritime events yesterday at Harborplace, where the season's first visiting vessel -- The Whiting -- is docked until Tuesday. Operation Sail has been bringing tall ships and foreign naval vessels to Baltimore since 1976. The group's presenting sponsor, CSX Corp., is joined by Harborplace and The Gallery, Crown Central Petroleum Corp., Coca Cola, Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland, and Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.

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