OpSail Nears New London - NBC Connecticut

OpSail Nears New London

The festival, from July 6 to 9, could draw 1 million visitors.

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    OpSail Nears New London
    AP

    OpSail International is leaving New York after spending the Memorial Day weekend at the docks in Brooklyn, and it'll dock in New London from July 6 to 9 .

    "We're into the last 40 days before the event," said John Johnson, OpSail chairman, "and we're all cranked up and ready to go."

    Johnson said he expects up to 1 million visitors to New London that weekend.  OpSail won't be as impressive as it was in 2000, he said, because many countries can't afford to send their tall ships to America.

    "There's so much more to do than just look at ships, with Sailfest being in town, and OpSail down at the Fort (Trumbull).  It'll be a fabulous time for everybody." he said.

    As chairman, he's organized volunteers to coordinate the event.  The state government is donating $1 for every $2 OpSail raises.  Gov. Dannel Malloy is to ride into New London aboard the U.S. Coast Guard's Eagle.

    "We need probably about another $150,000 to finish up the project, based on our budget.  The money continues to flow in from sponsors," Johnson said.

    There is another tall ship event scheduled that weekend, in Newport, Rhode Island, but there's a huge difference between the two festivals.  Johnson said Newport will charge admission to visitors.  In New London, OpSail is free.