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Tuesday May 22nd., the evening before OpSail’s Parade of Sail, Working Harbor Committee ran a special Preview Tour of the International Tall Ships anchored in Gravesend Bay.
First glimpse of the tall ships. photo: Mai Armstrong
The Verrazano Narrows shrouded in fog, revealed the first hint of the Tall Ships masts as we approached the bridge. We approached and were able to circle each of the magnificent vessels moored in the bay on the MV Zephyr several times, waving at exuberant crews on deck.
The Juan Sebastian de Elcano of Spain was anchored near a tanker. As we motored in close to the 3rd largest sail ship in the world, we could see her gilded Minerva figurehead.
As we circled slowly, there was ample opportunity to see the details of each ship; their figureheads, rigging, fine wood wheelhouses and massive masts. Norman Brouwer, eminent maritime historian, enthralled passengers with his narration of historical facts about each Tall Ship and Operation Sail.
Indonesian Navy’s Dewaruci was the most enthusiastic, her crew treating us to an impromptu Indonesian dance on deck complete with drums and over-sized ceremonial masks.
The crew of the Indonesian Navy’s KRI Dewaruci.
photo: Mai Armstrong
As the fog closed in and darkness began to fall, our boat headed back towards Manhattan, stopping at the Statue of Liberty for a photo-op. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw USCG Eagle gleaming in the illumination from Liberty’s lights.
A perfect finale to our evening with the Tall Ships.
Many thanks to Captain John Doswell and all the WHC volunteers for organizing these special tours.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee