Once every six to twelve years, OpSail comes along to celebrate a special occasion, and what with this year being the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner, Hampton Roads welcomed ships from around the world into its ports for 12 days this June. It was all-out nautical extravaganza in downtown Norfolk a few Saturdays ago with tall ships from all over the world moored next to Waterside and Nauticus, flying colorful flags, and just looking plain awesome.
Many of these photos were taken aboard the Spanish ship Juan Sebastian Elcano — a four-masted topsail, steel-hulled schooner built in 1927. She is a training ship for the Royal Spanish Navy, and at 370 feet long, she is the third-largest tall ship in the world. And drop dead gorgeous, if I do say so myself.
OpSail has been making its way up the Eastern seaboard these last few weeks, and if you happen to be in the area, you can still catch the event in Boston from June 30 through July 5 and/or in New London, Connecticut from July 6 through 8. These magnificent ships from around the world are quite a sight to see, and they only come around once every several years.
This year marks the sixth OpSail event since the very first one, which was held as a tie-in with the New York World’s Fair in 1964. The last time OpSail came through Norfolk was in the year 2000, and while I didn’t live here yet, I was lucky enough to be in town for a few days visiting a friend, and I’ll never forget how fabulous the fireworks were. =)