Four of the impressive vessels were docked at Port Charlottetown along with HMCS Charlottetown and Canada C3, a 63-metre research icebreaker on a 150-day expedition from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage.
It was the tall ships garnering the attention of MacWilliam, a resident of the capital city.
“I’m a student of history and the tall ships are a part of world history,’’ she says.
“There is just a romantic appeal to them and it has nothing to do with Johnny Depp,’’ she added in joking reference to the actor who plays Jack Sparrow in the wildly popular Pirates of the Carribean movies.
MacWilliam has a genealogical connection of sorts to ships, noting her grandfather used to build boats in Cape Wolfe, P.E.I.
Ray Mills, 78, of Charlottetown also was admiring the tall ships on Thursday.
“Oh, it’s fantastic,’’ says Mills, a former public works superintendent for the city who was treated to a sail around Charlottetown Harbour years ago aboard the HMS Bounty.
On Thursday, the massive BAP Union seemed to attract the greatest attention. A training ship of the Peruvian Navy, the BAP Union is a four-masted, steel-hulled barque built in 2014 by Shipyard Marine Industrial Services of Peru
Mills predicted Thursday that many people will flock to see the tall ships today.
Indeed, the four tall ships that were drawing attention from tourists and locals on Thursday have plenty of majestic company today.
Nine tall ships in total will begin their parade of sails at approximately 8:50 a.m. with the last ship docking near noon.
The visiting ships include Bark Europa, Oosterschelde, Blue Clipper, USCGC Eagle, Ronal II, Jolie Brise, Vahine, BAP Union, and HMCS Oriole.
HMCS Charlottetown and Canada C3 will also be at Port Charlottetown along with Quebec City cultural performers and the Pirates of Halifax.
Free deck tours are available to the public today from 2 to 4 p.m. at Port Charlottetown and Queen’s Wharf and again from 4 to 7 p.m. at Port Charlottetown. On Saturday, deck tours are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both Port Charlottetown and Queen’s Wharf.
Anyone visiting Port Charlottetown is encouraged to carpool or walk to the site, if possible. Limited public parking is available in the parking lot to the left of Stan MacPherson Way.
There will be security screening and a bag check before the public will be permitted to access the tall ships. Backpacks and large bags will not be permitted, but can be checked at a baggage check at the security gate.
Outside of deck tour times, the public is also invited to take photos from along the waterfront as the ships will be highly visible all weekend.
Tale of tall ships
Here is a snapshot of the nine tall ships visiting Charlottetown:
Blue Clipper: Built in 1991 at Feab Marstrandsverken in Sweden. She was owned by the famous brandy company Hennessey.
Oosterschelde: A three-masted schooner from the Netherlands built in 1918. She is the largest restored Dutch freightship and the only remaining Dutch three-masted topsail schooner.
BAP Union: A training ship of the Peruvian Navy, the four-masted, steel-hulled barque was built in 2014 by Shipyard Marine Industrial Services of Peru.
Bark Europa: The 56m Dutch Barque Europa has sailed the world, doubled the Horn, has cruised the Southern Ocean and Antarctica for over a decade, and is well known in ports for sailing in under sail - almost to the dock.
USCGC Eagle: The seventh U.S. Coast Guard cutter to bear the name in a proud line dating back to 1792. The ship was built in 1936 by the Blohm + Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.
Rona II: Built in 1991, the vessel has become one of the hardest working and most resilient Oyster yachts in the world. She has taken more than 7,200 young people sailing, has completed 21 international and three Transatlantic tall ships campaigns, and has sailed more than 250,000nm in her career to date.
Jolie Brise: Construction by the Paumelle yard in Le Havre in 1913, this world famous, gaff-rigged pilot cutter was the last boat to carry the royal mail under sail and has won the Fastnet Race three times, including the inaugural race in 1925.
Vahine: A legendary Nautors Swan 65, Vahine is the first ever series-built vessel to win the famous Whitbread Round the World Race.
HMCS Oriole: The sail-training vessel of the Royal Canadian Navy based at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria, British Columbia.