OpSail bringing 17 tall ships to New York for Fleet Week 2012

Tall Ships Gallery OF OPSAIL 2012

-- Partners with Navy for Bicentennial of War of 1812

-- Ten U.S. and foreign warships also join May 23-30 events --

NEW YORK -- (April 12, 2012) -- Seventeen tall ships and 10 warships will mark the beginning of OpSail 2012 and Fleet Week New York, the executive director of Operation Sail Inc. announced today.

"OpSail is bringing the tall ships of the world back to New York," said Chris O'Brien. "Majestic tall sailing ships have always been a centerpiece of joint OpSail/U.S. Navy commemorations and the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner provides the perfect context for this memorable occasion."

O'Brien made the announcement at the South Street Seaport Museum against a backdrop of historic tall ships.

New York is where OpSail began 50 years ago, when it was the vision of a few men led by Peter Stamford and the late Frank Braynard, who together had led the creation of the South Street Seaport.

"Mr. Braynard, with the endorsement of President Kennedy, traveled the world securing commitments from the few nations that still operated the great sail training ships. His hard work succeeded in time for the New York World's Fair in 1964 -- and OpSail became a New York tradition."

OpSail events have celebrated patriotic American milestones in New York Harbor in 1976, 1986, 1992 and 2000, O'Brien said. "New York has always been our base and New Yorkers have always welcomed sailors and their ships. We are upholding tradition here as we unveil the names of the great sailing ships participating in OpSail 2012," he added.

The tall ships include the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE; KRI DEWARUCI of Indonesia; JUAN SEBASTIAN DE ELCANO of Spain, GLORIA of Colombia, GUAYAS of Ecuador, CISNE BRANCO of Brazil, CUAUHTEMOC of Mexico, and ETOILE and BELLE POULE, both of France.

"The excitement will begin on the morning of May 23 when a flotilla of tall ships and warships sails under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and up the Hudson River to the George Washington Bridge, where they will turn and proceed to their respective berths," he said.

All of the tall ships and military ships will be open for no-cost public visitation at piers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, O'Brien said.

The New York port call is the second d stop of the national OpSail / Navy joint effort that will see similar events in New Orleans (April 17-23), Norfolk (June 2-12), Baltimore (June 13-19), Boston (June 30-July 5) and New London (July 6-8).

O'Brien noted that OpSail events contribute to the economy of participating port cities through increased hotel bookings, restaurant reservations, new infrastructure and other spending.

"We are exceptionally fortunate to have the strong financial support of Capital One Bank," O'Brien added. "We also enjoy a partnership with New York Water Taxi, the official water transportation of OpSail. And we are happy to have onboard the pop artist Charles Fazzino, who created the official OpSail commemorative poster."

About Operation Sail, Inc.

Operation Sail, Inc. a non-profit organization established in 1961 with the endorsement of President John F. Kennedy, is backed by a Joint Congressional Resolution. Its mission is to advance sail training and promote goodwill among nations. OpSail has produced five international sailing events in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, and 2000, each tied to a patriotic or historical event. For more information, visit www.opsail.org.