The Maine Windjammer Association
Maine Windjammer Association Newsletter
June 2017
 / VOLUME 17 / ISSUE 6
Best Windjammer Watching on the Planet

Acres of canvas will be flying as North America’s largest fleet of traditional windjammers struts past the Rockland Breakwater on the first two Fridays in July during their two signature summer events.

The annual Great Schooner Race on July 7th, hosted by the Maine Windjammer Association, will finish mid-afternoon at the Breakwater Lighthouse, providing spectators with easy-viewing access along the mile-long Breakwater. 


credit: Meg Maiden
Good morning Lewis R. French and Angelique! The Great Schooner Race starts in Gilkey Harbor on Islesboro. Usually it’s calm in the morning—perfect for early-morning rowers who want to snap some photos—with the wind picking up late morning, just in time for the Race!


Fifteen-plus schooners will race from Gilkey Harbor on Islesboro to Rockland, where their dramatic arrival will recall the days when cargo-laden schooners raced to be the first to Rockland so they might capture the best market prices. A century ago, every schooner trip was a race against time and a captain’s profits depended heavily on his crew’s sailing skills.

Since 1977, any traditionally rigged schooner on the Eastern Seaboard has been welcome to participate in the Maine Windjammer Association’s Great Schooner Race held in mid-coast Maine. 


credit: Meg Maiden
And they’re off!


Anchored for the night in Gilkey Harbor, on Thursday, July 6th, the captains will conduct small boat races and other friendly maritime competitions amongst Race participants. Race Day will begin with a Captains’ Meeting aboard Maine’s largest windjammer—the Victory Chimes. There, they will set the day’s race course and classes. 


credit: Meg Maiden
Competing in separate classes (Leeward and Coaster Classes, respectively) windjammers Angelique and Lewis R. French are neck and neck at the finish line in Rockland.


Many of the participating schooners are National Historic Landmarks, while others were built in the last century specifically for the windjamming trade. All of them are beautifully maintained maritime treasures. Spectators can cheer for their favorite schooner from the Breakwater that marks one end of the finish line. Take a peak at a short video filmed last year.


credit: John Williams
The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is the perfect platform to view the Great Schooner Race finish or Windjammer Parade. Spectator views are so close you can pick out guests aboard Isaac H. Evans wearing leis and hula skirts!


On Friday, July 14, the Maine Windjammer Association will host the annual Maine Windjammer Parade past the Rockland Breakwater from 2:00-4:00 pm. Geared for both spectators on shore and windjammer guests, this event provides close-up views of the entire fleet as it sails within a stone’s throw of the Rockland Breakwater Light.


credit: Jacqueline Normile
Schooner Victory Chimes takes a pass by the Rockland Breakwater Light. If you’re not sailing in the Race or Parade, you can walk out to the end of the Breakwater for spectacular views of the fleet.


Spectators may view the Parade of Sail from anywhere along the mile-long Breakwater. Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights will open the lighthouse up for afternoon tours—spectators are encouraged to bring their cameras to get some great photos of the windjammers from the 25-foot tower. For spectators who need help distinguishing a ketch from a schooner or a coaster from a pilot boat, Captain Jim Sharp of the Sail, Power and Steam Museum will narrate the Parade over a PA system at the Lighthouse.

For visitors who want to be in the Race or Parade, guests can sign up to sail for a three- to six-day cruise that includes one of these events—this is a great way to see the entire fleet plus enjoy all the regular features of a sailing adventure.

For more information about the Great Schooner Race or Maine Windjammer Parade, please call the Maine Windjammer Association at 800-807-WIND or visit online.

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