fter Tuesday's majestic Tall Ships parade to Boston Harbor, Day 2 of Sail Boston 2000 seemed to be a show as much about people as the big boats.
Some 750,000 people had toured the docks and visited ships by 4 p.m. yesterday, and authorities expected the number of visitors to top 1 million by the time Black Falcon Terminal closed at 9 p.m.
For a second day, there were no significant accidents and no arrests, according to the Boston Police Department, which provided the crowd estimates.
During the last Tall Ships event in 1992, the weeklong event drew 3 million spectators to the docks. Sail Boston 2000 drew one-third that total in its first day, a weekday, no less.
It posed a question for the visitors: So exactly how did you explain your absence?
''Honest. It's my day off. You can ask my boss.''
- Kenneth Mendes of Dorchester, a waiter at Maison Robert Restaurant, who was waiting to visit the Russian ship Kruzenshtern.
''I am the boss.''
- William Shea of Manchester, N.H., chief executive of Shea Capital, who was waiting to board the Danish ship Danmark.
''I called in sick. First time in 20 years. Do I sound defensive? You bet I do, because I have go to work with fevers.''
- Ken O'Brien of Mendon, a youth worker, who was about to step aboard the Dutch ship Europa with his wife and a friend.
- Bob ''Incognito,'' Mendon's friend.
Warnings on traffic
are well worth taking
Take the warnings about traffic on the waterfront seriously. The MBTA estimates that by 4 p.m. yesterday, 270,000 spectators had used the special shuttle bus service to Black Falcon Terminal and the Charlestown Navy Yard. Probably the best mode of transportation is a bicycle, which is not allowed on the T at rush hour.
Far and away the most popular attraction yesteday was the US Navy aircraft carrier John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Some spectators were in line by 8 a.m. for a ship that was only open for tours from 1 to 4 p.m. Event organizers closed the line at 1:20 p.m., but the Navy will try to accommodate the spectators.
''We knew that there would be tremendous interest. We are studying the matter,'' said Commander Vic Beck, a Navy spokesman.
For those who want to leave it all behind, consider an 18-month escape aboard the bark Picton Castle (yardarms on the first two masts, but not the third). The 176-foot long ship, docked on the west side of the Fish Pier, leaves Nov. 4 for the South Seas and a second trip around the world. But it's not cheap: The fare is $30,000 and change. And think up a good excuse for the boss (see above).
Other than free tours on ships, one of the best bargains appears to be the free jazz concerts (yes, they're Globe-sponsored) and activities for young children (picture-drawing areas and a wading pool, to name two) offered at Fan Pier, a glamorous name for a dirt parking lot.
offer a salty design
One of the more unusual flotilla of ''ships'' arrived inside the World Trade Center yesterday, where 20 winners of the Cape Cod Potato Chip Tall Ship contest are on display. The rules were simple: Take two free cartons of potato chips and build a model of a tall ship. Other materials could be used ''judiciously.''
Fifty elementary schools across the state participated. Richard Laporte, an eighth-grader at Silver Lake Regional Junior High School in Pembroke, helped build one of the winners. One challenge, he said, was getting a hard edge from a potato chip.
The biggest challenge? ''Not eating them,'' the 14-year old said.