Gloucester Schooner Festival 2011

Although this may appear to be from the era of Captains Courageous, it is American Eagle with Alabama close astern in the 2011 Gloucester Schooner Race. This was the 27th annual race, an event that has featured many of the last remaining great old schooners. It was organized by the Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce to honor the contribution of fishing schooners to the history of Gloucester, and celebrated on Labor Day weekend.

Spirit of Bermuda, Roseway, Liberty Clipper and Bald Eagle. Spirit of Bermuda claimed the Esperanto Cup this year, finishing just 34 seconds ahead of American Eagle in one of the closest races in memory. The race featured four reaching legs for a total of ten miles, with a southerly breeze of about 15 kt. Although Spirit, launched in 2006, was the youngster in this group, her design dates back to 1810-1840. Under the command of Simon Colley she has been highly effective in the island’s youth development and education. In the early 60’s Roseway (built 1925) served as a Boston Pilot Schooner and could often be seen, year ‘round, jogging off Nahant under a storm trysail. Once or twice a week she would approach Long Wharf just long enough to drop off/pick up pilots. I lived there at the time and still have a vision of her standing off the head of the wharf in a snowstorm early one morning.

Alabama (built 1926), American Eagle (built 1930) and Ardelle (so new her paint had barely dried.) Her designer/builder, Harold Burnham has turned out Thomas E Lannon, Fame, Lewis H Story and Isabella from his small yard in Essex. (Carl Gustin photo)

Ardelle’s proud, happy crew of hard-working volunteers was treated to a close-up of American Eagle. (Mike Dyer photo)

It was a sportin’ time before the start.

 Sugar Babe (built 1972-74) and Estrela (built 1975)

 Green Dragon (built 1939-51) (Cheryl Andrews photo, from Estrela)
Bald Eagle (built 1955) She was designed and built by two men whose names are associated with sea-kindly and beautiful wooden vessels: Crocker and McIntosh. Sam Crocker designed more than 300 vessels. Bud McIntosh was a designer and builder of large and small cruising boats for more than 50 years and built many Crocker designs. In 2001 she spent 10 months in Harold Burnham’s boatyard in Essex getting an extensive rebuild that included replacement of 80% of her frames, 20% of her planks, new deadwood, cabin house and decks. ASA members Paul Cole and Judy Nast are the owners.

Winner of the Ned Cameron Cup, Adventurer (built 1925). Hurricane Irene, which visited Adventurer’s home port of Norwalk, CT the previous weekend forced her to take refuge in Stamford. Then, enroute to Gloucester, she was compelled to divert around a huge debris field from the storm flowing into Long Island Sound from the Connecticut River. Mark Faulstick, with this beautiful Alden schooner has been a regular participant and often the winner of this race as well as the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.
Participating crews from the visiting schooners were treated to no less than three events over the weekend - the Friday night Mayor’s Reception at the Coast Guard Base, the Saturday Night Crew Party at the Gloucester House and the Sunday Night Awards at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center – all with great food donated by local supporters. Again, the friendly volunteers, including back-from-retirement-race-founder Mike Costello, made it all work. The Parade of Sail before the Sunday race attracted more than a thousand spectators, and Gloucester got a nice (and needed) little boost in tourism with national press coverage.

Joe Garland, 2008, on Green Dragon (author photo) The Gloucester Schooner Festival this year was dedicated to the memory of author-historian Joseph E. Garland. The city of Gloucester, her fishing industry and schooners have had no finer friend. --- And Joe, you can be sure we will be back next year and for many years to come. Race results here Links to participating schooner’s websites here Spirit of Bermuda website here Photos by Amy Beaudet, from Green Dragon, except as otherwise noted.

Al Bezanson
Green Dragon