Tall ship festivals set for 2 cities

Tall ships from around the world will converge on southern New England for one weekend in early July, sailing into two different ports. New London, Conn., will host the OpSail2012 tour July 6 to 9, the same weekend that Newport, R.I., holds its Ocean State Tall Ships festival, part of the traveling Tall Ships Challenge series. The convergence of the two events, less than 60 miles apart, means fewer ships for each, and competition for tourist dollars in a tight economy. Operation Sail is expecting at least 24 ships, including 11 tall ships, to participate in the New London parade of sail, which will be led by the Coast Guard’s flagship, the Barque Eagle, a hometown vessel based at the Coast Guard Academy. The Ocean State festival has 15 tall ships coming, including the HMS Bounty.