OpSail organizers plan schooner festival

New London — The organizers of the local Operation Sail event met Tuesday to figure out how they could carry the momentum from this summer forward and plan an annual festival.

They are in the early stages of planning a schooner festival, which would bring sailing ships with two or more masts to the state and be called the Connecticut Schooner Festival. It will be sponsored by OpSail Connecticut, a name the committee members voted to retain as an organization at the meeting, which took place at The Gallery at Firehouse Square.

“We are now going to be forevermore OpSail Connecticut,” said OpSail Connecticut Chairman John S. Johnson. “I think that makes sense.”

Initial plans call for the schooners to moor on the waterfront in downtown New London in September. The refocused OpSail organization is looking to hire someone who can contact potential donors and will soon begin raising awareness about the event.

OpSail in New London, which was highlighted by a parade of sail including more than 20 ships, cost $1.1 million, Johnson said.

The Connecticut Economic Resource Center Inc. will present the OpSail organizers with an award in Hartford Nov. 28 for spurring economic development in the area.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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