The origin of this event reaches back two hundred years, to the era when cargo between Baltimore and Norfolk moved under sail, generating a fierce rivalry between these historic ports. Swift schooners vied for the prime markets of bay-area oysters, watermelons, peanuts and other crops. The schooner reaching port soonest recieved the best prices and first choice of return cargoes. Such lucrative trade inspired development of fast, beautiful weatherly fore-and-aft rigged designs. Now, schooners carry young cadets, paying passengers or yachtsmen rather than oysters.
The first race of the current annual event was initiated when Captain Lane Briggs of the 51' Tugatine NORFOLK REBEL challenged the 108' Topsail schooner PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II to a down the bay race, the winner to buy the beer at the finish. So in 1990, six schooners battled their way down the bay. Every schooner has returned; two, PATRICIA DIVINE and NORFOLK REBEL, have raced every year. Nineteen schooners have raced five or more times.
The mission of The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race is to promote public awareness of the Chesapeake Bay's maritime heritage by donating the proceeds of the race to one or more charitable organizations engaged in conservation of the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay. Proceeds from The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race 2000 will benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
This great event is organized, sponsored and funded by volunteers.
The above information was obtained from www.schoonerrace.org . For further information about this great event go to:
Save the Bay
Link to the official websites of many of the vessels shown here with just a click on the vessel's photograph or name.
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© 2000 Chris Queeney Photography
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