Saturday, December 31, 2016

BEST of 2016: The Great Schooner Race of 2016

Islesboro, Maine- Penobscot Bay on the coast of Maine is known for many things, it's rugged coastline, beautiful lighthouses and quaint little villages.  It is also home to the largest fleet of historic working schooners in the world.  Many of these vessels are over 100 years old and still making income for their owners.  Each year since 1977 these vessels have gathered in July for the Great Schooner Race.

 "Every summer since 1977, the Maine Windjammer Association has hosted the Great Schooner Race, providing an opportunity for captains, crews and passengers aboard traditional vessels from all over the Eastern Seaboard to rendezvous for a fun day of racing.
Hailed as "the largest annual gathering of traditional schooners in America,"this year at least twenty schooners are expected to participate in the 40th Annual Great Schooner Race scheduled to take place on July 8th in Penobscot Bay. The history of racing these magnificent wooden coasting schooners started over a century ago with sailors trying to beat their competitors to market. The first boat back to port always got the best price for their cargo—perhaps fish, lumber, granite or even Christmas trees. The "Race" was always unspoken, but ever present.
Needless to say, sailors have always been independent types. Contributing to the Great Schooner Race’s quirkiness, it isone of the only sailing events in the world that requires no prior sailing experience on the part of the participants!
Granted, your captain and crew are Coast Guard-licensed and experienced sailors, but guests are encouraged to take a turn at the helm, tend the lines, raise the anchor and sails and enjoy the camaraderie that quickly develops over the course of the Race." http://www.greatschoonerrace.com/
We joined the fleet at anchor in Gilkey Harbor on Islesboro Island.  It is a sight that will take your breath away to see these historic tall ships, many of them National Historic Landmarks, all in the same harbor.  Two of the vessels taking part in this race, Stephen Taber and Lewis R. French, were built in 1871. 
 ADVENT                         36'  Yacht                    1956
AMERICAN EAGLE       92'  Fishing Schooner 1930
ANGELIQUE                   95'  Cruise Ketch        1980
GRACE BAILEY             80′   Coaster                1882
HERITAGE                       95′    Coaster               1983
HERON                            52′    Yacht                   2003
ISAAC H. EVANS           65′    Coaster                1886
J. & E. RIGGIN                89′    Oyster Dredger 1927
LADONA                         82′    Yacht                   1922
LEWIS R. FRENCH 64′    Coaster                1871
MARY DAY                     90′    Coaster                1962
OLAD                               48′     Yacht                  1927
MERCANTILE                 78′     Coaster              1916
MISTRESS                        46′     Yacht                 1960
STEPHEN TABER           68′    Coaster                 1871
VICTORY CHIMES 132′    Ram Schooner 1900
Our host for the race is the three masted Chesapeake ram schooner, Victory Chimes which was built in 1900.  She started her career carrying cargo up and down the Chesapeake. She came to Maine to become part if the Maine windjammer fleet in 1954.  
Victory Chimes,built 1900
All of the schooners will race in one of the following classes based on size and design: Coaster (pre-World War I vessels); Leeward (post-World War I vessels); Windward (largest vessels); and Flying Jib (under 50 feet).
At 10AM the race begins with a LeMans start in witch the captains of each class start from the dock, at the canon row to their vessel, weigh anchor and head down the bay. The race is on.
What a sight to see this many classic sailing vessels with full sail sailing across Penobscot Bay coaxing every ounce of speed from these majestic vessels.
The race finishes at the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in Rockland Maine.  This years results were:
Cutty Sark Award: First Overall:
Olad
Flying Jib Class: First Place:
Olad
Flying Jib Class: Second Place:
Mistress
Coasters Class: First Place:
Victory Chimes
Coasters Class: Second Place:
Isaac H. Evans
Coasters Class: Third Place:
Stephen Taber
Leeward Class: First Place:
Ladona
Leeward Class: Second Place:
J. & E. Riggin
Leeward Class: Third Place:
Heritage
Windward Class: First Place:
Mary Day
Windward Class: Second Place:
Heron
Windward Class: Third Place:
American Eagle
For more information or to book a trip on one of these historic vessels go to:
http://www.sailmainecoast.com/







With over 40 years in the arts he brings a wealth of artistic expression to his new designer fashions.  Doug's photos will transport you to a place where life is simple and the unspoiled beauty will take your breath away.

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