ROCKLAND — The 43rd Annual Great Schooner Race, hosted by the Maine Windjammer Association, will finish mid-afternoon (weather dependent) at the Breakwater Lighthouse, in Rockland, Friday, July 5, providing spectators with easy-viewing access as the historic schooners sail past the Rockland Breakwater to the finish line.
More than a dozen schooners are expected to race from Gilkey Harbor, on Islesboro, to Rockland, where their arrivals will recall the days when cargo-laden schooners raced to be the first to Rockland so they might capture the best market prices.
Hailed as the largest gathering of historic schooners in America, spectators will have the best up-close view of this collection of preserved traditional sailing vessels from the Rockland Breakwater, according to the Windjammer Association, in a news release.
Anchored for the night in Gilkey Harbor, Thursday, July 4, the captains will conduct small boat races and other friendly maritime competitions among 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 racecourse and classes.
Many of the participating windjammers 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,” said the Association.
Spectators can cheer for their favorite schooner from the mile-long Rockland Breakwater that marks one end of the finish line.
Boats traditionally start arriving at the finish line around as early as 1:30 p.m., dictated by wind and weather (which also determine the start time).