ROCKLAND – The first wave of schooners heaved into the wind at 1:15 p.m., Friday, July 6, having sat idle for three extra hours. The forecast for the Great Schooner Race looked ominous. Gray skies and the threat of thunderstorms kept anchors in place.
Such is life on the high seas. No matter the century, weather remain the deciding element.
But the clouds eventually cleared, allowing continuation the annual race that represents a once-daily competition by cargo-loaded schooners.
This year's field of 11 vessels, some of which are National Historic Landmarks, sailed the waters from Gilkey Harbor in Islesboro to the south side of Rockland Harbor.
The Schooner Heritage won the race, taking home the Cutty Sark Award trophy. In keeping with tradition, captains Doug and Linda Lee were presented with the trophy and the coveted "Eat My Wake" flag, by the 2017 winner of the award Noah Barnes, Captain of the Schooner Stephen Taber, according to a news release.
First Place: Schooner Stephen Taber, Captain: Noah Barnes, Homeport: Rockland
Second Place: Schooner Grace Bailey, Captain: Christopher Trandell, Owner: Ray Williamson, Homeport: Camden
Third Place: Schooner Lewis R. French, Captain Garth Wells, Homeport: Camden
First Place: Schooner Heritage, Captains: Doug & Linda Lee, Homeport: Rockland
Second Place: Schooner J&E Riggin, Captain: Jon Finger & Annie Mahle, Homeport: Rockland
Third Place: Windjammer Angelique, Captain: Dennis Gallant, Homeport: Camden
First Place: Schooner American Eagle, Captain: John Foss, Homeport: Rockland
Second Place: Schooner Mary Day, Captain: Barry King, Homeport: Camden
Third Place: Schooner Ladona, Captain: J.R. Braugh, Homeport: Rockland
The Spirit of '53 Award, recognizing guest involvement and seamanship during the Great Schooner Race, went to the three-masted Victory Chimes, captained by Kip Files, homeport: Rockland.
The Boyd Guild Award, named after the colorful Captain Boyd Guild and recognizing navigational excellence went to the Schooner Tree of Life, captained by Paul Morse, homeport: Newport, Rhode Island.
Every summer since 1977, the Maine Windjammer Association has hosted the Great Schooner Race, providing an opportunity for captains, crews and passengers aboard traditional vessels from all over the Eastern Seaboard to rendezvous for a fun day of racing.
The annual Parade of Sails allows for a second viewing of many windjammers from the Rockland Breakwater between 2 and 4 p.m., Friday, July 13.
Tour the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and enjoy lively commentary by windjammer historian, Jim Sharp of the Sail Power and Steam Museum, according to a news release.
For more information on the Maine Windjammer Association and windjammer cruises in Penobscot Bay, visit www.SailMaineCoast.com.
Reach Sarah Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org