OpSail Connecticut, Inc. was incorporated in 2012 to further the mission imagined by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. President Kennedy created Operation Sail events nationwide to promote good will and cooperation among countries, celebrate maritime history and provide sail training. These events brought together military and tall ships from many nations, as part of the annual International Naval Review, featuring present-day warships from various navies. Six national OpSail events have been held to date, in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, 2000 and 2012. Port New London was honored to take part in the OpSail events held in 2000 and 2012.
OpSail Connecticut, Inc. has continued the tradition of celebrating the sea and its lore by producing the annual Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival in Port New London. Held the second weekend in September, the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival aims to celebrate Connecticut’s maritime heritage by emphasizing the State’s diverse population and showing the ways the seas have brought people from all over the world to Connecticut. The festival is held annually in Port New London with ships located at the Waterfront Park and Fort Trumbull State Park.
The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival provides a free family friendly weekend event filled with opportunities to learn about and interact with:
- military personnel and the vessels that our U.S. military use to protect our shores and its citizens;
- maritime services including government agencies and vessels that protect our fisheries, natural resources, and environment; and
- other sectors of the maritime industry ranging from aquaculture and fisheries to other commercial vessels and ventures focused on everything from transportation to energy.
OpSail Connecticut, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization comprised of volunteers with an interest in maritime history. It is organized into an Executive Board and Board of Directors. The Board is further divided into the Events Committee with various ad-hoc work groups that may include subject matter experts who are not on the Board.