PORTLAND — Tall Ships Maine (formerly Tall Ships Portland) will hold its 3rd annual Portland SchoonerFest & Regatta June 21-24. SchoonerFest will feature a fleet of seven large traditional schooners racing and parading under sail together in Portland Harbor all weekend. The event provides opportunities for the public to view the ships from ashore or on board as passengers.
This year, participating vessels invite the public aboard for free dockside tours at Maine Wharf from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The parade on Friday afternoon and weekend’s races can be viewed for free from Portland’s Eastern Promenade at Fort Allen Park. Tickets to be a passenger aboard a schooner can be purchased at tallshipsmaine.org ($46-$66). A limited number of group charters are also still available. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit: tallshipsmaine.org.
“SchoonerFest is Portland Harbor’s celebration of its thriving community of traditional sail,” said Alex Agnew, president of Tall Ships Maine. “We invite families–young and old–to come aboard and experience the age of sail on these magnificent schooners.”
Organized by Tall Ships Maine to benefit its experiential educational programs, the event will feature some of the most famous schooners in the country including: the historic 120’ Adventure from Gloucester, Massachusetts; the 131’ Harvey Gamage from Portland; and 71’ Alert returns from Bailey Island to defend her title. These classic schooners will race against hometown favorites Bagheera, Wendameen and the pilot schooner Timberwind. The Marine Maritime Museum’s schooner Mary E will also return.
“SchoonerFest sends a clear message that sailing on tall ships is for everyone. That’s why I’m so pleased that the Harvey Gamage can support this event and our sailing programs for teenagers,” said Phin Sprague, owner of Harvey Gamage.
“We are excited to bring Adventure back to Maine this season, celebrating her years here as ‘Queen’ of the windjammer fleet,” said Stefan Edick, captain of the Adventure. “The opportunity to race schooners in Portland Harbor is a terrific way to honor our heritage in traditional sail and to call attention to the strong sail training community here.”
Regatta prizes include the Alert Cup for first Schooner overall to finish, the Alden Cup for the first John Alden design to finish and the Shipyard Cup for the crew demonstrating the most spirited attitude toward the racing. The Rybacki Cup is presented to an individual in the sail training community demonstrating exceptional leadership.
To reserve space on board one of the schooners in the regatta, parade, or evening sunset cruises, visit tallshipsmaine.org. If you would like to arrange events or book a group of more than 10, please call 207-200-6150.
Following a weekend of racing in Portland, the visiting schooners will depart Monday morning, June 24, to join the annual Casco Bay Gaffers Race, which starts in Portland and ends at Bailey Island, Maine. All gaff-rigged sailboats are welcome to join the Gaffers Race and enjoy a morning skippers meeting in Portland and a post-race celebration in Bailey Island. On Tuesday, several of the boats will depart for Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor.
Tall Ships® Maine—the nonprofit responsible for the Iberdrola USA Tall Ships Portland 2015 event—organizes the event. Tall Ships Maine provides one-week sail training opportunities with academic credit to high school students from all across Maine, as well as hosting tall ships events in Portland.
The mission of Tall Ships® Maine is to encourage character building of youth through sail training, support education under sail and promote sail training to the public in Maine. Tall Ships®Maine is an official chapter of Tall Ships® America and a project of Sailing Ships Portland, a 501(c)3.