Five New London students to sail to OpSail aboard historic ship

Five local students will sail to OpSail aboard the A.J. Meerwald, New Jersey’s official tall ship.
Five local students will sail to OpSail aboard the A.J. Meerwald, New Jersey’s official tall ship. Mary Godleski/AP Photo

New London — Five students from New London schools are headed for New Jersey to sail into the Whaling City on the A.J. Meerwald as part of OpSail2012CT.

The students will learn what it takes to be a sailor while living aboard a historic ship. The Meerwald is NewJersey's official tall ship.

The students are junior Mychal Brown, sophomore Xavier Jones, and junior Carlos Mejia, all from New London High School; Ayzel Morales, an eighth-grader at the ISAAC School; and John Adams, a junior at the Science and Technology Magnet School of Southeastern Connecticut in New London. All are New London residents except Adams, who lives in Waterford.

While at sea, the students will learn to raise and furl sails, coil lines, navigate and steer the boat, and become familiar with deck washes, sea chanteys, knots and standing watch. The students were selected by the Drop-In Learning Center to take part in the trip.

"I'm pleased OpSail and New London officials have partnered again to recognize the value our City has played as the host city of this historically important event of national significance," Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said Friday in making the announcement.

The schooner A.J. Meerwald, which has 3,500 feet of canvas sail, is a floating classroom devoted to the study of the marine environment. The fully restored 1928 Delaware Bay Oyster Schooner makes its homeport in Bivalve, N.J., and is on the state and national registries of historic places.

"What better way to thank the city and its residents than to select a group of the best and brightest of our young residents?" Finizio said. "We have high-achieving students in New London and this continues to reflect that reality. "

The Meerwald will travel up the East Coast from the Jersey shore to Niantic Bay for the start of OpSail2012CT, which begins July 7 with a Parade of Sail from Niantic to New London.

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