A number of different sailboats on the water during OpSail 2000

Intrepid Museum 40th Anniversary Spotlight: OpSail 2000

Jul 25, 2022 - 2:26pm

In the year 2000, several cities welcomed the new millennium with Operation Sail, or “OpSail.” New York City joined the celebration on the Fourth of July, which unfurled as a tremendous celebration that was perhaps the greatest nautical spectacle to date.

OpSail celebrates maritime tradition and commemorates significant moments in history. Events are coordinated by Operation Sail, Inc. — a non-profit organization founded in 1961 and endorsed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. While OpSail events celebrate America’s history and must be approved by the United States Congress, each event is an international effort that features sailing vessels from around the world.

OpSail 2000, described as the greatest maritime event in history, drew well over 120 tall ships, more than 40 warships from the United States and 25 other nations, and tens of thousands of small pleasure craft. Crowds gathered to watch the antique vessels travel up the Hudson River, with thousands of spectators packed onto Intrepid. The event concluded with a massive fireworks display by Macy’s.

Take a look at some of the stunning tall ships that passed Intrepid during this historic event.

A man and woman read an exhibit panel on Intrepid's flight deck while their child points at the propeller of an aircraft.

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