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Who is South Street Seaport Museum (and our very own Working Harbor Committee). He saved New York’s beloved tall ships, who are moored at Pier 16 to this day.? He’s the man who worked tirelessly to ensure the golden age of sail not be forgotten on our waterfront. He advocated to save the history and importance of sail-powered commerce at South Street Seaport and founded of the
Now Peter Stanford, together with his lovely wife Norma, have penned a memoir titled “A Dream of Tall Ships” that tells of their extraordinary journey.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle By Henrik Krogius: Peter Stanford loves sailing ships. Who can blame him? Their white canvas geometries unfurling, billowing in the wind, catching the sunlight, are visions we can still from time to time enjoy on the East River and New York’s Upper Bay.
Thanks to Stanford, who grew up in Brooklyn Heights, the son of a man who served in the U.S. Navy in both world wars, the age of sail has not entirely vanished from its New York home. That is largely because Stanford and his wife Norma on their wedding trip in 1965 got the idea for South Street Seaport Museum and then worked tirelessly to see it realized.
In the course of their effort to save some surviving relics of sail-powered commerce and to return them to the “Street of Ships,” as South Street was known in the 1800s, when the bowsprits of clippers, brigs and schooners projected over it at the river’s edge, Peter also became president of the then struggling National Maritime Historical Society and had offices in the former fireboat house at Fulton Ferry Landing, now home to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. (A sidelight, not in the book, is that Peter in 1978 promoted “East River Renaissance,” a precursor to the idea of Brooklyn Bridge Park.)
In their book, told in Peter’s voice, the Stanfords recount the extraordinary number of encounters they had with fellow sailing enthusiasts as well as officials and others in positions of influence. There’s an informal, day-to-day quality to the writing, suggesting extensive diary-keeping combined with terrific recall.
A veteran of international sailing races, Peter also relishes tales of seamanship carried out in the course of selling the seaport idea. In one instance he describes the tense maneuvering as the schooner he’s on tries to catch enough wind in light conditions to keep from drifting into some smaller fishing boats. He also tells of sailing with a crew on a square rigger into Mystic Seaport on a trip to that well-known ship museum to learn more about the maintenance of historic ships. Read more here…
by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee
The excitement on the dock was palpable, as eager tour passengers started to arrive for the special OpSail 2012 Parade of Sail tour. Volunteers from Working Harbor Committee, OpSail 2012, NYWaterTaxi and OpSail 2012 sponsor partners scurrying to check-in folks streaming towards the dock.
Anticipation was high, with many evening Preview Tour passengers booked on our Official OpSail spectator boat for the morning’s grand Parade of Sail and Ships.
Finally, we were underway.
OpSail 2012 – Manhattan Skyline. photo: Mai Armstrong
Leaving South Street Seaport, the skies were an eerie mix of colors. Persimmon, Sapphire, Grey. The sun occasionally breaking through the gloom for a brief splash of sunlight streaking through the dense foggy air. The weather forecast having called for thunderstorms and drenching rain, every finger was crossed that our legendary weather guru would again part the clouds and stay the rain for us.
Captain John Doswell can… seems to… well, has parted the rain clouds on many occasions. It’s uncanny, I can’t explain it; but that is a story for another day.
Breakfast brunch was served aboard the MV Zephyr as we motored towards our optimal viewing position in front of the USS Intrepid.
The Tall Ships had started on their journey from the Verrazano Narrows earlier, sailing north on the Hudson to turn at the George Washington Bridge. It must have been gorgeous watching the Tall Ships gracefully pirouette against the suspension bridge backdrop.
Behind us, the Parade of Coalition fleet “grey hulls” were sailing northward to meet the Parade of Sail; their steel-grey hulls camouflaged by the foggy grey/blue/orange sky. In the distance, the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan and the “Freedom Tower” looked like a ghostly mirage in the mist.
Then… Through the foggy mist, they came. Ships! Ships! Ships!
[Do you see the little circle of sunshine over us and the Harvey? It's our weather-guru parting the clouds!]
The fleet of Tall Ships was led by Fireboat John J. Harvey who sprayed her water jets into the air, as Juan Sebastian de Elcano of Spain metwho was leading the fleet of Grey Hulls.
And just as you thought things couldn’t get more exciting, the US Navy’s Blue Angels flew overhead in perfect formation streaking the cloudy sky with their jets.
The North River was filled with vessels of every shape and size; barques, schooners, commercial cruisers, tugboats, pilots and of course dozens and dozens of Tall Ships and Coalition Ships. The skies above crisscrossed with military planes, fighter jets and helicopters; wings in salute over the parade.
The the gigantic aircraft carrier USS WASP brought up the rear, filling the horizon as she approached through the fog. The crisp white uniforms of her crew at attention on deck, punctuating the grey-blue Manhattan skyline.
Many thanks to Captain John Doswell and all the WHC volunteers for organizing this memorable experience. It was truly magnificent.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
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
One of 17 tall ships coming to New York harbor for OpSail 2012, the Cisne Branco – which means “White Swan” in Portuguese – is the Brazilian navy’s three-masted sail training tall ship. She was built in the Netherlands by Stocheepswerf Damen and launched in November 1999. Commissioned as a Brazilian naval vessel in 2000, she serves as a sail training vessel and as an international representative.
From SILive: The international flotilla will be led by the “Eagle,” and will pass under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, enter New York Harbor, and sail up the Hudson River to the George Washington Bridge. The ships will then turn and head to their respective berths in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Three of the ships – which are an impressive 250 feet or so in length – will head to Staten Island, arriving around 2 p.m.
Colombia’s “Glory,” Ecuador’s “Guayas,” and Brazil’s “Cisne Branco” will be berthed at The Sullivans’ pier at the former Stapleton homeport for the duration of Fleet Week, which runs May 23-30.
The Parade of Sail will occur the morning of May 23rd, with the USCG Cutter Eagle leading the fleet.
Watch this short video of her in full sail. What a sight!
From SILive: Millions of spectators are expected to witness the event from the city’s shores and the New Jersey waterfront along the Hudson River. The tall ships made their last visit here in 2000.
The Navy’s ace “Blue Angels” team also will fly over the flotilla during the opening event at 11:30 a.m.
The Working Harbor Committee has added two special tours for OpSail 2012:
- May 22nd – OpSail 2012 Tall Ships Hidden Harbor tour – see vessels at anchor up close
- May 23rd – OpSail 2012 VIP Parade of Sail tour – includes brunch!
Stay tuned for OpSail 2012 updates!
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
Coast Guard Cutter Eagle under full sail off the coast of Puerto Rico.
credit: U.S. COAST GUARD SLIDE, BROWN, TELFAIR H. PA1
Excitement is building as planning and preparations for OpSail 2012 ramp up. Next month, OpSail tall ships will sail into New York Harbor for the first time in 12 years.
Read OpSail 2012′s press release where Operation Sail executive director Chris O’Brien said, “OpSail is bringing the tall ships of the world back to New York,” said Chris O’Brien. “Majestic tall sailing ships have always been a centerpiece of joint OpSail/U.S. Navy commemorations and the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner provides the perfect context for this memorable occasion.”
On the morning of May 23, a flotilla of 17 tall ships and 10 warships will sail from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, up the North River (Hudson River) to the George Washington Bridge and back.
From the Press Room of OpSail.org: “The tall ships include the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE; KRI DEWARUCI of Indonesia, JUAN SEBASTIAN DE ELCANO of Spain, GLORIA of Colombia, GUAYAS of Ecuador, CISNE BRANCO of Brazil, CUAUHTEMOC of Mexico, and ETOILE and BELLE POULE, both of France.”
Special Opsail 2012 Tall Ships Hidden Harbor® Tour May 22nd Only! Working Harbor Committee will be offering a special OpSail tour of some of the anchored vessels, on May 22, the evening before the Parade of Ships. See several international tall ships from around the world close up at anchor south of the Verrazano Bridge, as they gather in preparation for the big parade on the 23rd. Expert guest narrators will talk about the vessels, their history and inside stories. Click here for tickets.
If like me, you are impatiently awaiting the arrival of these tall ships, OpSail has a photo gallery of some of the vessels that will be part of the OpSail New York festivities.
I came across this youtube video of the press conference officiated by OpSail executive director Chris O’Brien at South Street Seaport. If you watch it to the end, you will hear him announce a wonderful surprise at the 5:55 mark.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
Coast Guard training cruise will include leading tall ship parades
New London — The Coast Guard barque Eagle leaves today for a historic summer training cruise, but soon it will be back, and it’s going to bring along a few friends.
Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship,” will lead the parade of ships into the ports that are hosting Operation Sail events to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The July 6-9 event in New London is expected to draw thousands to the waterfront.
“It’s a wonderful honor to be able to lead that fleet into New London,” said Capt. Eric C. Jones, Eagle’s commanding officer. “We get to, in a sense, be the first to welcome the U.S. Navy combatants and international ships into our home port. We get to be the ones to invite them into the house, so to speak.
“The organizers of OpSail2012CT, politicians and other well-wishers gathered Thursday at the pier at Fort Trumbull State Park to say goodbye to the crew.
John Johnson, the local OpSail2012CT chairman, who said last week he was disappointed that more ships were not signing up to come to New London, said at the event that a Class C vessel, or a smaller, yacht-sized ship, had just agreed to participate.
Johnson declined to name the ship, but he did say that the total number of tall ships participating now stands at close to a dozen. That figure includes two of the large Class A square-rigged vessels, Eagle and the Cisne Branco, a training ship from Brazil.
The plan for Navy ships is to have the Yard Patrol Squadron from the U.S. Naval Academy bring four boats and for one of the Navy’s amphibious ships to dock at State Pier, said Navy Capt. Marc W. Denno, commander of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, who was at the Eagle Thursday. Right now that amphibious ship is the USS Whidbey Island LSD 41, Denno said, but that could change.
A Portuguese submarine already had planned to be at the base in July. Denno said the diesel submarine wouldn’t be open for general tours, but the crew would take part in OpSail events. The base also would provide volunteers for OpSail and help with security, Denno said.
“It seems like there is some momentum starting to build,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.
Sailfest, the city’s annual summer festival that features food vendors, carnival rides, live music, and arts and crafts, will be held the same weekend in July. Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said that while the city faces competition from Newport, R.I., which is hosting the Ocean State Tall Ships Festival 2012 the same weekend, “it’s still going to be a great event for the city.
“With close to 80 people training to be officers in the Coast Guard or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on board, Eagle will sail from the city to New Orleans for the first OpSail event, April 17-23. The USS Wasp LHD 1, along with five large Navy vessels, will welcome the tall ships.
Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate 3rd class Manuel Perez tests his whistle as crew and trainees on board the barque Eagle prepare for a send-off ceremony Thursday at Fort Trumbull State Park. Sean D. Elliot, pool/The Day
New Orleans, unlike New London, is considered to be one of the major events for the bicentennial commemorations, said retired Rear Adm. John B. Padgett III, chairman of the national advisory group for the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, perform at the major events in the ports where the Navy can educate large numbers of people about the history of the War of 1812, what the Navy does today and the importance of a strong Navy, Padgett said Wednesday.
“You have a limited number of ships, and you’re trying to distribute them most efficiently to get the message out,” he said. “You get a bigger bang for the buck in New York or in Boston than you would in New London. It’s just a fact of life, and you can’t put as many ships in New London as you can put other places.”It is estimated that nearly 1 million people visited New London for OpSail 2000. But millions went to the New York festival, Padgett said.
“That’s not to disparage New London,” he said. “It’s just not as big.”
Padgett said some of the Navy ships that will be in Boston, June 30-July 5, may be available for New London, depending on their operational requirements.
Finizio said this year’s OpSail is still “a work in progress.”
“If we compare it to, say, past OpSails, or what we would hope ideally OpSail to be, then our expectations would fall short,” Finizio said. “But if we look at this as every year we do Sailfest, and this year we’re going to have an event that doubles or triples the size of Sailfest. We have to look at it through that lens and see that it will be a tremendous success and a tremendous boon to our local economy.”