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The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race of 2013

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Ths Sultana, Chestertown, MD Cpt. Tanya Banks-Christense by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

The government may be back in business, but the big news on the outskirts of DC is the 24th Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. The race started at approximately 1400 (that's 2 pm for you landlubbers) on Oct. 17, when the first warning gun was fired just south of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Adventurer, Annapolis, MD. Cpt. Duncan Hood. by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

Planning a boat race on the East Coast during hurricane season can be risky business, but King Neptune must have been smiling today as he bestowed near-perfect weather.

LIberty Clipper, Boston, MA. Cpt. Andy Huntoon by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

The schooners are sailing 127 nautical miles down the Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis to Portsmouth,  Virginia, an historic route. The finish line for classes A and AA is an east-west line at Thimble Shoal Light. Classes B and C finish at Windmill Point and proceed to docking in Portsmouth.

The Virginia from Norfolk, VA. Cpt. Hank Moseley by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

In 2007 the schooner, Virginia, set a new record of 11 hours,  18 minutes and 53 seconds. She beat the previous record  by well over 90 minutes. That record of 12 hours,  57 minutes,  51 seconds,  was set in 2005 by "Imagine!"

The Bohemian from Davidsonville, MD. Cpt. David Wiedeman by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

The 2013 Fleet list  includes 35 schooners.

Festivities started in Maryland on Monday. Visitors were able to view the schooners dockside at the Baltimore Marine Center Lighthouse Point,  which is nestled along the waterfront in Baltimore's renowned Inner Harbor. Schoolchildren, as well as young patients receiving treatment at Johns Hopkins, participated in a number of interactive educational activities onboard the ships.

The Parade of Sail Oct. 16, 2013 by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

On Wednesday the schooners participated in the Parade of Sail in the harbor area.

Heron, Solomons Island, MD. Cpt. Aram Nersesian by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

The 2012 Parade of Sail as viewed from the crows nest of the Heron can be seen in this video:

The race is designed to focus on the maritime traditions of schooners and to bring attention to the environmental issues facing the Chesapeake Bay. All net proceeds of the race are donated to support youth education efforts aimed at saving the bay.

Sally B., Galesville, MD. Cpt. Daniel MacLeod by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

More than 150 schooners have participated since the race was initiated 24 years ago. 40 have raced at least five times. The Norfolk Rebel, the only Tugantine in the world, hasn't missed a race yet. (What's a "Tugantine" you ask? More on that tomorrow in Part 2 of this series.)

Norfolk Rebel, Norfolk VA. Cpt. Steve Briggs. Photo: Pam Fraser. by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

You can track the schooners on a live map at  http://www.baltimoremarinecenters.com .

The race is a grassroots event: the same volunteers who donate work, also donate money. There are no cash awards, these folks do it for the love of sailing! If you want to share the love, donations to the race are tax-deductible under 501(c)3 and qualify for employer matches: http://www.schoonerrace.org

Mystic Whaler, New London, CT. Cpt. John Eginton by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page

Stay tuned for Part Two which includes the enchanting story about how this race got started, the historic schooner route in the Chesapeake Bay, and more about the unique Tugantine.

Pride of Baltimore II, Baltimore, MD. Cpt. Jan Miles by Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Facebook page



Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing for over 25 years. She studied art with Harold Ransom Stevenson in Sea Cliff NY for seven years before opening her own art school. Stevenson had (more...)

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Perhaps it's no accident that there's smooth saili... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 at 1:50:16 PM
Beautiful! Anyone who has spent time sailing certa... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 12:54:27 PM
Thanks for your comment, Daniel, and  for the... by Meryl Ann Butler on Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 6:55:26 PM
Ah, the Chesapeake.  Being a native Baltimori... by Burl Hall on Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 5:14:08 AM