Fleet for OpSail grows by five ships

New London - Five more ships, including Amistad, the schooner built and currently docked at Mystic Seaport, have committed to OpSail2012 Connecticut, the tall ships festival scheduled to take place here July 6-9.

OpSail organizers announced Tuesday that Ticonderoga of Greenwich, Tyrone of Chatham, Mass., New Horizons of Boston and the sea scallop harvester Regulus of Stonington also will participate.

OpSail2012 will feature a parade of domestic and international tall ships led by the Coast Guard barque Eagle and including Brazil's Cisne Branco and the schooners Wolf of Key West, Fla.; Meerwald of Jersey City, N.J.; Appledore V of Bay City, Mich.; Spirit of Essex; and Brilliant and Argia, both of Mystic.

More ships are expected to sign on. U.S. Navy and other Coast Guard vessels participating in the event will be announced in the coming weeks.

The weekend celebration is part of a national commemoration of the War of 1812's 200th anniversary and has been organized by OpSail International in cooperation with the U.S. Navy.

The war's first naval engagement took place in waters off New London and a number of other skirmishes took place along the Connecticut shoreline, including battles in Stonington and Essex, where the British burned more than two dozen American ships.

OpSail will take place alongside SailFest, the city street festival that's been a tradition for three decades. The tall ships are scheduled to arrive July 6 in East Lyme's Niantic section to prepare for the next day's Parade of Sail into New London Harbor.

Some details of the latest ships committed to OpSail:

• Amistad: A recreation of the 19th century schooner La Amistad, the Amistad was built at Mystic Seaport's Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard. It was launched on March 25, 2000, and sailed for the first time on June 13, 2000.

• Ticonderoga: A 72-foot ketch, Ticonderoga is widely considered the crowning design achievement of celebrated American naval architect L. Francis Herreshoff. Launched in 1936, it has recorded more ocean-racing victories than any yacht in history. It is owned and operated by state Sen. L. Scott Frantz of Greenwich.

• Regulus: An offshore steel hulled sea scallop harvester from Stonington, the 90-foot Regulus was built in 2003 in Coden, Ala. The Regulus fishes for scallops on the Eastern Seaboard.

• Tyrone: Built in Dorchester, Mass., in 1939 as an offshore passage maker, the Tyrone measures 75 feet overall, 60 feet on the deck and 50 feet at the water line. The schooner has made several trips to Ireland, has sailed to Hawaii, and cruised in Alaska.

• New Horizons: A 60-foot Tortola motorsailer, New Horizons is a custom-designed and -built Coast Guard-certified, 49-passenger vessel with the finest amenities and safety features.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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