One aspect of Fleet Week we overlooked last time was the international contingent of the Parade of Ships.
On Wednesday, May 23, at around 8 a.m. a total of seventeen tall ships from around the world will pass under the Verrazano Bridge in a Parade of Sail, followed by 10 U.S. and foreign war ships in celebration of both OPSail 2012 and Fleet Week 2012.
Preceding the group of military ships through the Narrows will be a group of tall sailing ships, led by the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, named after Juan Sebastián Elcano, captain of Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s last fleet.
The Juan Sebastian de Elcano is a 370-foot schooner used by the Spanish Royal Navy as a training vessel. It will be joined by tall ships from Indonesia, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, France, and Indonesia, among others, writes Jennifer H. Cunningham in the Daily News.
From the News:
“I must say, it’ll be quite a sight … right up there with the space shuttle,” said Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing.
Those ships, in turn, will be followed by a parade of military ships led by the the Eagle, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.
The parade will also include an aerial fly-over by led by the Navy’s famed Blue Angels and military aircraft from other countries.
“The combination of land, air and sea is going to be pretty compelling stuff,” Jobson said.
During the week-long festivities that follow the parade, part of the fleet will be docked at the Intrepid Sea-Air -Space Museum in Manhattan.
Other ships will be berthed at Port Authority piers 7 and 8 in Brooklyn and at the Sullivan Pier in Stapleton, Staten Island.
Visitors will be allowed to clamber aboard free of charge to soak up the sea-faring mystique.
“There will be a lot of opportunities for people to see,” said Jobson.
This will be the first OpSail event since 2000, and the sixth in its history.
The first OPSail was a tie in with the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
This year, the ships will be here to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, as well as the penning of the Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key.