Gloucester Schooner Festival

2013-08-30 12:00
2013-09-01 20:00


It’s none too soon to make a plan.  Schooners of all sizes will be welcomed.  If you have participated in the past be advised there are changes brewing to make this event even more enjoyable for schooner crews and passengers. This year, for the first time, the Festival will be hosted by Maritime Gloucester, headquarters of sorts for schooners that have evolved for the rugged business of fishing.  The beautiful newly-launched Bluenose II is expected to be dockside at MG.  If you are a new visitor to Gloucester plan to arrive early and get acquainted with this wonderful, scenic, unique city and its people.  Maritime history, art, great restaurants, and groovy music are all there -- for those who can release themselves from the camaraderie along the waterfront.


1/26/13 update --- Schooners dependent on paying passengers are advised that Maritime Gloucester's resources are available to assist in filling reservations.  The goal is to fill every schooner!


Gloucester is a working fishing port and berthing for visiting schooners has been challenging at times in the past.  This issue is at the forefront and members of the GSF Committee are already developing some fresh ideas to cluster visiting schooners in ways that will add enjoyment for crews and visitors. 



To be in Gloucester


Make the time to wander about town.  There is much to see within a few blocks of Maritime Gloucester.  I got this snapshot with my pocket camera.   Elsie over City Hall beating into a 25 kt westerly .  


 Across the street at the Cape Ann Museum Erik Ronnberg’s exquisite model of Elsie is on display.


Elsie, in 1921, was the first American schooner to race Bluenose.   A brief account of their initial race appeared here.


Start of the first race of the International Race, showing Elsie in the lead with Bluenose in the rear.  1921, Halifax, Nova Scotia

 From the collections of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM, Gloucester, Massachusetts


Elsie's crew, 1921 International Fishermen's Races (photo:  Cox Bros., Halifax, Nova Scotia)  Marty Welch was the captain here, as he was in Esperanto in 1920.


 From the collections of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM, Gloucester, Massachusetts


Bluenose at Racing Angle, Driving for the Finish Line [1921] 

 From the Nova Scotia Archives


The Gloucester Schooner Festival, with its Mayor’s Race and Esperanto Trophy has evolved from the rivalry that began with Esperanto and Delawanna followed by Elsie and Bluenose


Here is a superb history of the International Fishermen's races from 1920 to 1938, and in the words of Joe Garland, "The definitive account of of the fabled sailing rivalry between the fastest of the last fishing shooners of Canada and the States -- and with photos to take your breath away.  What a read!"  The front jacket painting: Racing Schooners, circa 1921, by Dusan Kadlec, portrays Bluenose and Elsie racing.




                               _________ To be continued ________



The Gloucester Schooner Festival has a great new website!

 On Facebook also with a treasure trove of Gloucester schooner racing history and  information about the city  _____

August 12, 2013 Press Release 

CONTACT: Thomas Balf                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                      Maritime Gloucester                                           



 For Updated Information:


This year’s 29th annual Gloucester Schooner Festival, which celebrates and honors our maritime history, offers a number of great story lines.

 First, the Schooner Adventure will sail in the Festival for the first time in twenty years. She is a 122-foot historic wooden dory fishing schooner built in 1926 in Essex, Massachusetts. Designated as a National Historic Landmark and an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures, the Adventure is the flagship of Gloucester, Massachusetts. “This is a very exciting time for the Adventure and her supporters as she returns to her place among the historic tall ships” says Executive Director Joanne Souza. “She will be racing for the Mayor’s Cup on Sunday of Gloucester Schooner Festival, but in the near future, she will be sailing so supporters and visitors will be able to experience the life of a Gloucester fisherman at the beginning of the 21st century.”

 Second, the Festival has a record number of schooners sailing this year, including five in the large boat category (greater than 80’). These vessels include: Schooner Adventure, Virginia, Roseway, American Eagle and Liberty Clipper. Additionally, at least six schooners will be offering spots to paying passengers to sail over the weekend and during the race. Go to for further information about booking a sail on a schooner.

Third, this year’s festival will be supported by the Sea Scout “Ship” 5 out of Maritime Gloucester. It has been more than 25 years since a Sea Scout group was operating out of Gloucester and the newly formed Gloucester Ship is the only Massachusetts ship north of Boston. “It is exciting to be part of the new Sea Scout program and to carry on the lost traditions of North Shore Ship 5. We will do our best to help promote maritime heritage at Maritime Gloucester and at the upcoming Schooner Festival” said Julian Murray-Brown, a 15-year old member of the Ship. Teens from Gloucester High School Sailing and The Museum School/Project Adventure will also be assisting.

 Finally, this year’s festival sees the return of a public food event. On Saturday afternoon, a Lobster Bake at Maritime Gloucester and Fitz Henry Lane Park will offer a lobster, corn on the cob and Virgilio’s roll for $12. Beer, wine, soda and water as well as hot dogs and hamburgers will also be available. Music will be provided by Old Cold Tater. Advanced tickets can be purchased online at (scroll down to the bottom of the page), or at the museum store of the host, Maritime Gloucester, or other local spots including the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

 Background: The 29th annual “Gloucester Schooner Festival” will be held from August 30 to September 1, 2013. This year’s Festival sets a record for the number of schooners participating -- a list of schooners is included at the end of this press release. In addition to the sailing, Maritime Heritage Day takes place Saturday, August 31st from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Area environmental groups and maritime heritage organizations will be set up with interactive exhibits along side of local crafters demonstrating their art. Sunny Fishcakes Music Review will be performing during the afternoon. Lunch will be available on the pier. Great, fun event for families and visitors to Gloucester Schooner Festival weekend. The event is followed by the Lobster Bake and music by Old Cold Tater.

 Thanks to our current lead sponsors: Building Center of Cape Ann, City of Gloucester, First Ipswich Bank and Market Basket for their support. For a full list of sponsors, go to our website or facebook page. The Festival raises much needed funds from the community by offering Schooner Festival raffle and lobster bake tickets.

 Maritime Gloucester is a 501(c) (3) non-profit institution whose mission is to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, maritime heritage and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiences. Its one-acre campus is located on Gloucester Harbor at 23 Harbor Loop, adjacent to the Coast Guard Station. For more information go to or like us on Facebook.

Current List of Schooners Intending to Participate in the Gloucester Schooner Festival.


  1. Adirondack III
  2. Adventure
  3. Adventurer
  4. American Eagle
  5. Ardelle
  6. Bald Eagle
  7. Brilliant
  8. Estrela
  9. Fame
  10. Green Dragon
  11. Humble
  12. Irena
  13. Lewis Story
  14. Light Reign
  15. Liberty Clipper
  16. Morning Light
  17. Perception
  18. Roseway
  19. Sugar Babe
  20. Thomas Lannon
  21. Tillicum I
  22. Tyrone
  23. Virginia

 Al Bezanson

Green Dragon