Sea Term Flashbacks: Operation Sail (1976)


Step into our time machine!  Travel way, way back in time to 1976 when the United States was celebrating its 200th birthday.  Tall ships from around the world traveled to New York City, Newport, Rhode Island, Boston, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s training ship, Bay State III, played an important role in Operation Sail.

1970s on life ring

In New York City:
“On the Fourth, the Bay State was the review ship for the tall ships parade up the Hudson.  Some of us who had liberty elected to spend the day at the Jersey Shore or in the pandemonium of New York City…In any event, it was a day we will always cherish.”

yearbook page of tall ships

In Boston:
“The Bicentennial year was upon us…Operation Sail was our moment in the sun and a chance to become recognized as part of an operation that would be remembered for years to come.  We had been assigned as communication liaison for Operation Sail.”

Boston 1976

“The ship rejoined Op Sail at Boston and finally made a grand entrance.  We were properly greeted and treated in our grand stomping grounds, as all six New England governors, the Secretary of the Navy, and assorted dignitaries reviewed the Tall Ships from the Bay State’s decks.  While in Boston, we were treated to a huge gala at the Copley Square Hotel…We proceeded to Philadelphia independently, leaving Op Sail for good. “