OpSail Norfolk will see as many as two dozen tall ships from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain and the United States, as well as naval ships from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. All of the ships will be open for boarding, allowing visitors to meet young sailors from around the world.
OpSail has staged five previous American milestone events - the 1964 World's Fair, the 1976 Bicentennial, the 1986 Statue of Liberty Centennial, the 1992 Columbus Quincentennial and the Millennium in 2000. This year's visits are tied to the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812. An Independence Day fireworks display is scheduled to light up the tall ships in Boston. www.opsail.org
In other news, NOAA is releasing special "BookletCharts" to help boaters safely enjoy this year's bicentennial commemorations of the War of 1812. The BookletCharts are an experimental product that can be accessed free online and printed. The War of 1812 material includes charts, OpSail tall ship parade routes and historical background for activities planned in the five ports holding events.
NOAA's Office of Coast Survey says it is working with the Navy and port officials to make the commemorative events "come alive with historical information." The Coast Survey also has produced commemorative posters for the ports. The posters, available free online as PDF documents, depict naval events from the War of 1812, illustrated with historical charts and artwork.
The commemorative editions of the BookletCharts and posters can be downloaded from NOAA's War of 1812 website at www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/warof1812.
This article originally appeared in the June 2012.