Tall Ships event in Greenport no longer free

JUDY AHRENS FILE PHOTO | With tall ships as backdrop, Colin Van Tuyl directs the Greenport Band in Mitchell Park during the 2004 Tall Ships of America's tour.

As Greenport Village finalizes plans for the tall ships visit set for Memorial Day weekend, the event’s steering committee has decided on ticket prices this week.

Tickets to tour six ships will cost $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children under the age of 12 can enter for free. The village is exploring whether the event can also be free for Greenport residents, officials said.

In 2004, when Tall Ships of America last visited Greenport, the village did not charge an entry fee. It was awarded a state grant to offset the cost of ship appearance fees.

Since that grant came through the defunct “I Love New York” tourism marketing program, Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce said charging an entry fee will help offset the cost of the $130,000 appearance fees.

“I wish it could be free, but trying to raise the funds through corporate sponsorship has been difficult in this economic climate,” Mr. Nyce said. “But for a family of four with two children under 12, the cost is $14 to tour six ships. I still think that’s a real bargain. You can’t even get one baseball ticket for that price.”

On Monday, the Village Board is expected to vote on contracts with the owners of the Picton-Castle, whose home port is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; the Lynx, a replica of an 1812 warship; the Unicorn from New Jersey, which has an all-female crew; and the Pride of Baltimore II.

Last month, the village approved a $30,000 contract for the Bounty, a Greenport-based class A vessel, which is the largest of the ships. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s ship Summer Wind is also expected to make an appearance at the event.

“The entire community is going to pull together to make sure [tall ships] works,” Mr. Nyce said. “The hope is that everybody benefits and we have a nice event.”

In May, the sail will start in Savannah, Ga. and visit Charleston, S.C. before stopping at Greenport Harbor. The tour will then continue onto Newport, R.I. and finish in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The fleet of vessels will race against each other between ports.

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