New London - Kevin Hurley, 35, of Groton, was waiting on City Pier for the first sailboat ride of his life. He was about to ride on the A.J. Meerwald, a two-masted oyster schooner built in 1928.
The boat ride was not free. But, Hurley said,"Forty dollars for two hours for something I've never done before -- it's worth it.
"I come down for Sailfest about every year. Some years I watch it on the Groton side, but it's more exciting on the New London side."
Hurley was among the crowds of people in the city for the third day of the combined OpSail2012 and Sailfest, the city's annual summer festival. Long lines formed not only at City Pier but in Fort Trumbull and State Pier, where a variety of vessels were open for touring.
Nancy Ross and her husband, Bob Ross, now split their time between Florida and Washington, N.J., but Bob Ross is a a 1950 graduate of Fitch High School in Groton. They are in town for OpSail and Sailfest.
"If you can get out near the water, with all these boats, this isn't a bad day at all," said Nancy Ross, as she sat facing the river and the two ships docked at City Pier.