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Great Schooner Race Turns 40

PENOBSCOT BAY, Maine— Today, the Maine Windjammer Association announced the 40th Annual Great Schooner Race will be held on July 8, 2016, in Penobscot Bay. The race, hosted every summer since 1977, provides the opportunity for windjammer captains, crews, and passengers to board traditional vessels from throughout the eastern seaboard and compete in a friendly all-day race from Islesboro to Rockland.

In 2016, approximately 20 schooners will participate in the event, hailed as the largest annual gathering of historic landmark sailing vessels and one of the oldest races of its type in the United States. It is hosted by the Maine Windjammer Association, comprised of nine Maine-based windjammers and their captains, which offers one-of-a-kind sailing adventures along the coast of Maine.

Honoring the days when 19th-century cargo-laden schooners raced to be the first to port so they might capture the best market prices, the Great Schooner Race is divided into four classes based on schooner size and design. The event culminates in an award ceremony for race participants with live music and refreshments. The race categories include:

  • The Coaster Class, for schooners pre-World War I (1910). These include schooners such as the Victory Chimes, Stephen Taber, and Isaac H. Evans.
  • The Leeward Class, describing schooners post-World War I. Vessels in this category include Angelique and Heritage.
  • The Windward Class features the largest vessels like Mary Day and American Eagle.
  • The Flying Jib Class describes ships under 50 feet in length. Examples of this classification of schooner include Summertime and Windfield Lash.

Available packages to enjoy the event include meals, overnight accommodations, activities, and participation in the Great Schooner Race. No prior sailing experience is required.

“Race Week is one of the most popular cruises of the year,” said Meg Maiden, PR director of the Maine Windjammer Association. “When you see the fleet racing across Penobscot Bay, you can totally understand why people come from all over the world to participate in this event.”

For more information about the Great Schooner Race, visit To learn more about visiting Penobscot Bay, visit

About the Maine Windjammer Association

The Maine Windjammer Association represents the largest fleet of traditional sailing vessels in North America. From May to October, the windjammers offer three- to six-day sailing adventures to vacationers seeking an authentic sailing experience that includes great scenery, wildlife, delicious meals and plenty of time to go ashore and explore.

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