First Tall Ships are Confirmed for New Orleans Navy/OpSail Commemoration

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Commemorations of War of 1812 and The Star-Spangled Banner Bicentennials Bring Tall Ships, Navy Vessels, Blue Angels and More to New Orleans April 17 – 23, 2012

“Being the inaugural city to kick off a three-year nationwide celebration speaks to the greatness of our city,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We will set the bar high for all cities by demonstrating our experience in entertainment on a massive level."

The NOLA Navy Week Host Committee and Operation Sail, Inc. have confirmed the first tall ships coming to New Orleans April 17 – 23, 2012. The historic USCG Barque Eagle will join the Guayas of Ecuador and the Gloria of Colombia in New Orleans at Woldenberg Park.

The U.S. Navy and OpSail will commemorate The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and The Star-Spangled Banner and have chosen The City of New Orleans as the inaugural destination of a three-year nationwide celebration that will also finish in New Orleans in 2015. For information on the commemoration, visit

“Being the inaugural city to kick off a three-year nationwide celebration speaks to the greatness of our city,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We will set the bar high for all cities by demonstrating our experience in entertainment on a massive level."

States, municipalities, and civic organizations have formed host committees to organize the details of the events in each port in concert with Navy officials and OpSail executives. Mayor Mitch Landrieu appointed Mark Romig to be Chairman of the host committee in New Orleans, Related commemorations will take place on the Atlantic Coast in New York, Norfolk, Baltimore, Boston, and New London. Commemoration events in the Great Lakes will take place in Milwaukee, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo.

“Our committees have been working steadily to begin ironing out the details that will make up the event,” said Mark Romig, Chairman of the NOLA Navy Week Host Committee. “We are presently looking for sponsoring partners who want to be part of something truly historic and see the opportunity for vast exposure on a national level.”

Built at the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in 1936, and commissioned as Horst Wessel, the USCG Barque Eagle was one of three sail-training ships operated by the pre-World War II German Navy. At the close of the war, the ship was taken as a war reparation by the U.S., re-commissioned as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle and sailed to New London, Connecticut, which has been its homeport ever since.

The Guayas, a 914-ton, three-masted barquentine, was named both for the longest river in Ecuador and the first steamship ever built in the Guayaquil Shipyard. The Guayas stretches over 257 feet long, and, like her sister ship, the Gloria, now serves as a training ship. She carries 80 cadets under the guidance of 35 officers and crew members.

Built in 1967, the Gloria is a Colombian barquentine now serving as a school ship, with a crew of 80 cadets. She was modeled after Germany’s Gorch Foch and is able to stay at sea for up to 60 days without external supplies. Launched in 1968 from Bilbao, Spain, she is 178 feet in length and carries 23 sails. Her first long voyage took place in 1970, when she traveled from Cartagena to Sydney, Australia.

“Bringing the tall ships of the world back to U.S. waters for the commemoration of this glorious American milestone excites the imagination,” said Jose Fuentes, chairman of Operation Sail. “Throughout 2012-2015, millions of people will watch these graceful and majestic sailing ships as they parade together, and celebrate the brotherhood of the sea and our freedoms.”

The week-long 2012 program in New Orleans will include parades of sail, public visitation, a spectacular air show by the Blue Angels, international athletic competitions, and community relations activities. The theme of the event is, “Our Flag Was Still There.”

“The War of 1812 really signified our rebirth as a Navy and a nation,” Said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert. “In a few short months, we’ll be celebrating the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. We’ll learn a lot about our Navy over the next twelve months.”

The Navy has invited some 120 countries to send appropriate combat ships as well as their national academy sail-training tall ships to America for the 2012 commemoration events. The Navy and Operation Sail have partnered in producing major patriotic events for more than 50 years.

More ships coming to New Orleans will be announced between now and April 2012.

About Operation Sail, Inc.
Operation Sail, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1961 with the endorsement of President John F. Kennedy. Backed by a Joint Congressional Resolution, its mission is to advance sail training and promote goodwill among nations. OpSail has produced five international sailing events in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, and 2000, each tied to a landmark historical event and culminating in a traditional Parade of Sail in New York Harbor. For more information, please visit

Contact: Operation Sail: William G. Armstrong, warmstrong(at)opsail(dot)org 203-904-8115

About the United States Navy
The U. S. Navy is the sea-service branch of the U. S. Armed Forces. The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The United States Navy - A Global Force For Good. For more information, please visit and For more information on Navy 1812 Bicentennial activities and events, visit our website:;;

Contact: U.S. Navy: Daniel S. Dayton, daniel.dayton1(at)navy(dot)mil, 202-685-0210

About New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation promotes the city as a leisure tourism destination throughout the year. Annually, NOTMC’s marketing campaigns include strategic print, broadcast, and Internet advertising and public relations. Web sites:;;;;

Contact: NOTMC: Lea Sinclair, lea(at)notmc(dot)com, 504-826-9710

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Daniel S. Dayton
U.S. Navy
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