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  • Richard Johnson

Sail4th 250

It was so much fun in 1976, the tall ships are coming back. 

An international flotilla of sailing ships will cruise into New York Harbor on July 4, 2026, to mark America’s 250th anniversary. 

Daily News, July 5, 1976.

Some of the folks planning Sail4th 250 met Thursday at Palm Beach’s Sailfish Club to hear the group’s president Chris O’Brien outline the scheme.

Chris O’Brien

After a cruise on two of Barton & Gray’s Hinckley yachts, Sail4th 250 president Chris O’Brien told the crowd, “When these ships come together, it’s extraordinary.” 

Tim Barton and Douglas Gray, who founded the yacht chartering business for boat lovers who don’t like the headaches of owning a boat, were in attendance and both serve on Sail4th 250’s Senior Advisory Council. So does Quest publisher Chris Meigher, who spoke briefly after observing, “Never stand between a group of thirsty sailors and an open bar.” 

Boats from Barton & Gray’s fleet.

O’Brien said the 30 tall ships will sail past a wind farm being built off Coney Island, providing a vivid contrast of old wind power and new. 

“We’re a maritime nation. How are we looking back at our roots?” said O’Brien, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran.

New York will have a bigger international crowd than ever because a World Cup semifinal soccer match will take place on July 5 at MetLife Stadium.

America’s 250th birthday will draw even more than the 6 million visitors to 1976’s bicentennial.

OpSail 2000 (Alamy)


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