News Coastwise OpSail is gearing up for East Coast return
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OpSail is gearing up for East Coast return

Sailors of the Equadorean tall ship BAE Guayas man the yards as they arrive in New Orleans April 17 in conjunction with The War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration. The events are part of a series of city visits by Operation Sail. New Orleans is the first and the last city visit in the series.OpSail is returning for the first time since 2000 with an armada of tall ships that will transit the East Coast, visiting ports along the way. After stops in April in New Orleans and May 9-14 in Puerto Rico, the fleet is scheduled to put in May 23-30 at New York City for Fleet Week; June 2-12 in Norfolk, Va., for Harborfest; June 13-19 in Baltimore/Annapolis, Md.; June 30-July 6 in Boston; and July 6-9 in New London, Conn.

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.


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