A Celebration At Sea

op sail 2000
Along the Eastern seaboard this summer, OpSail 2000, a fleet of tall ships and naval vessels from around the world, sails up the Atlantic in celebration of the new millennium.

The vision of President John F. Kennedy, OpSail promotes cultural exchange and goodwill through sailing, along with staging major gatherings of historic and military vessels. Its related educational programs encompass everything from sail training to America's maritime history.

Prior tall ships events took place for the 1964 World's Fair, the U.S. Bicentennial of 1976, 1986's Statue of Liberty Centennial, and in 1992 for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' trip to the new world.

This year's journey began in late May with a flourish of sails in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as scores of ships representing over 20 countries gathered for seaside festivities before embarking on a seven-port excursion to Miami, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, New London and Portland, Maine.

Tall Ships 2000
Tall Ships 2000 is a series of races across the Atlantic to celebrate the millennium. Tall ships from dozens of different countries trek from Cadiz, Spain, to Bermuda.

The ships then cruise up the Eastern seaboard and gather in Boston Harbor for six days of waterfront festivities, July 6 to 11.

The pinnacle of the tour takes place July 4 in New York City as the United States Coast Guard barque Eagle, the largest tall ship in the U.S. fleet, leads the way past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River for the Grand Parade of Sail. Along the way, the ships are saluted by a grand display of fireworks.

Gatherers at each port are invited to walk the decks of some of the world's most formidable sailing vessels. The crews mingle with visitors and take in the local scenery before heading off to the next port of call.

This grand flotilla of international seafarers comes to a close in Portland, Maine. From there, the ships embark on other voyages, perhaps carrying with them a piece of President Kennedy's dream.