Schoonerfest – an annual two day Regatta that benefits TallShipsPortland – got off to a cold, rainy and light winds to throw into the race today on the Portland waterfront. Seven area schooners are participating in the Regatta which runs today and tomorrow, June 24th – three of them are owned by Portland Schooner Company.
“TallShips is an annual, unique and large fundraiser for TallShipsPortland. “The mission is to provide scholarships to area youth to sail on Tall Ships for sail training purposes,” said Lee Auchincloss. (See above left photo.) There is so much to be learned from sailing that it is a wonderful opportunity for those inclined to take advantage of the experience. The co-founder of TallShipsPortland is Alex Agnew.
The newly restored Mary E. is docked at Portland Foreside, formerly known as 58 Fore Street. Recently, the schooner underwent a major restoration at the Maine Maritime Museum, Bath. According to J. R. Phillips, who works at the Museum, Mary E. was built in Bath in 1906. Originally she was used for fishing and eventually for passengers, as today. She is the oldest Maine built wooden, fishing schooner. Normally, she’s moored at the Bath Museum so people can go aboard her. There were four crew members today including J. R. Phillips. One of her captains in this Regatta is Willy Leathers, who last year was the captain for the Adventure.
Because of such light winds today, Mary E. never completed the race course. Rather, the captain turned on the engine and motored back to shore. “We also have a race schedule to keep this afternoon, so that’s why we motored back.” Mary E. arrived about 2:45 pm., just moments before the 3:00 pm race was due to start. Other schooners also took down their sails and motored back to shore because of the lackluster wind.
The Alert Cup will be awarded to the winner at a ceremony Sunday, June 24th around 5:00 pm at Compass Park on the Portland Waterfront, beside Ocean Gateway. Alert is the name of the schooner who won the first race. It’s a marine tradition to name the Cup after the first winner of the Regatta. “Who Knew?” said David Field.
Tickets are on sale now at Tallshipsportland.org Two hour sail is $45. per person, three-hour s ail is $65. per person and a four-hour sail is $75. per person. Call 207-619-1842.