Rockland Breakwater Offers Front-Row Seats for Schooner Race, Plus Free Dockside Tours
Mid-coast, MAINE— For anyone who’s missed the boat on signing up to sail in the Great Schooner Race on July 5, there’s plenty of room for spectators to cheer for their favorite schooner from the mile-long Rockland Breakwater that marks one end of the finish line.
Hosted by the Maine Windjammer Association, the 37th annual Great Schooner Race will start at 11:00 a.m. off Islesboro, with 15-18 schooners racing a course around Penobscot Bay that will bring them into Rockland Harbor by mid-afternoon.
Schooners are identified as having at least two masts, with the shorter mast up forward, and were designed in the 1700s for speed and a minimal crew, making them the workhorses of a young and thriving America. Carrying everything from coal and oysters to bricks and Christmas trees, these wooden sailing ships were the fastest means of transportation.
The Great Schooner Race celebrates the centuries-old tradition of sailors trying to beat their competitors to market. The first boat back to port always got the best price for their cargo. Nowadays, winners earn bragging rights and maybe a trophy, all in the spirit of good fun. During the Race, windjammer guests and on-shore spectators alike enjoy close-up views of Maine’s historic schooners, many of which are National Historic Landmarks.
“While major port cities like New York and Boston may host tall ship events every so often to mark an historic occasion, Maine’s Tall Ships gather every year for the Great Schooner Race,” says Meg Maiden, Marketing Director for the Maine Windjammer Association. “We may not have the largest Tall Ships in the world, but this Race includes the oldest traditional schooners in America and they’ll be putting on quite a show for passengers and spectators alike on July 5th.”
On Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7, the members of the Maine Windjammer Association will host free Open Schooner Tours at their docks from 2:00-4:00 each day. Visitors may stop by for a free deck tour of the Angelique, Lewis R. French and Mary Day in Camden; the Timberwind in Rockport; the American Eagle, Heritage and Isaac H. Evans at Rockland’s North End Shipyard, and the Nathaniel Bowditch and Stephen Taber at Windjammer Wharf on Tillson Avenue in Rockland.
For more information about the 37th Annual Great Schooner Race, contact the Maine Windjammer Association, visit www.greatschoonerrace.com or call 800-807-WIND.
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