These events brought together military ships 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. The Port of New London was honored to take part in the OpSail events held in 2000 and 2012.
OpSail Connecticut, Inc. has continued the tradition to “Celebrate the Sea” and its lore by producing the annual Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival at the Port of New London. Held the second weekend in September, the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival honors all those who work on, under or with the sea in naval, marine and other maritime industries. We aim 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. Typically held in the heart of New London at its Waterfront Park, the festival sometimes utilizes nearby Fort Trumbull State Park when large Naval ships participate.
The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival seeks to “Unite our Shores” by providing a 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. works closely with area schools to provide leadership opportunities associated with a maritime structure. The Festival always features kids activities.
OpSail Connecticut, Inc. is a non-profit organization (501-c3) 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.