More than 20 years ago, Capt. Jim Sharp sailed the Adventure into Gloucester Harbor and presented the old dory schooner to local writer/historian Joseph Garland and the City of Gloucester.
Sunday, Sharp took Adventure’s helm as it motored out into the harbor, leading the Gloucester Schooner Festival’s Parade of Sail for the first time since the early 1990s.
Sharp captained the Adventure for 25 years as a windjammer out of Camden Maine cruising people around the islands. The schooner retired as a fishing vessel in the early 1950s, and Sharp restored it when he owned Adventure in 1965. He retired and sailed the boat down to Gloucester, where it would become the city’s tall ship in 1988.
He watched the ship’s restoration since he gave her to Gloucester, and said he’s thrilled to see the schooner back in the harbor.
“She’s a queen, an absolutely fabulous sailing boat,” Sharp said, “she’s a Gloucester fishing boat, and one of a kind.”
The 122-foot black schooner rounded the Fort, heading out into Gloucester Harbor to a crowd pressed against the Stacy Boulevard railing.
While the Adventure wasn’t under sail Sunday, cheers from the crowd and a cannon salute off Stage Fort Park gave the schooner a second homecoming as it led the parade that is now officially named for the man as a tribute to his role in bringing the boat to Gloucester.
The Schooner Festival’s Parade of Sail, said Daisy Nell, the local musician and author who served as the announcer for the parade, will be named the Joseph E. Garland Parade of Schooners from here on out. Garland, a prominent local historian, announced the names and histories of each ship in the schooner festival for years. Nell picked up where he left off.
“This is a year to celebrate Joe,” Nell said over the loudspeaker.
Garland died in August 2011, days before the 2011 Schooner Festival. His obituary and the Times news coverage noted that the cannon from Tom Ellis’ schooner Thomas E. Lannon was the last sound he heard before passing away at his home.
Yesterday, schooners in the parade — from the Adventure to the Green Dragon out of Manchester — stopped near Garland’s house on Eastern Point, saluting his memory with a round of cannon fire. His widow, Helen Garland, stood aboard the Schooner Adventure that afternoon.
In all, 16 schooners of all sizes and ages sailed in 28th Schooner festival, from Gloucester icons like the Lannon, to the King’s Point (N.Y.) Merchant Marine Academy’s Summerwind and the American Eagle from Rockland, Maine. The parade and other Sunday events capped a lively weekend that also featured the annual Saturday Boat Parade of Lights, and Saturday night’s fireworks, which lit up the skies over Gloucester Harbor. The festival’s visiting attraction vessel, the 1962 replica of the HMS Bounty, remains at Cruiseport Gloucester and will be open for tours today before departing.
Four of the schooners in Sunday’s Parade of Sail — the Lannon; the Fame, out of Salem; the Bald Eagle of Gloucester; and his own schooner, the Ardelle — were built by Essex Shipwright Harold Burnham.
The Ardelle, launched in 2011, sailed in its second Schooner Festival on Sunday.
“It’s pretty special, being on board a boat you were so involved in building,” said Chuck Redman.
Redman sat aboard the Ardelle before it left the pier at Martime Gloucester for the Parade of Sail. He fashioned the “Pinky” schooner’s sails and sailed on it in its first schooner festival. The Ardelle is called a “pinky” schooner because both ends are tapered, or “pinked.” He said the Ardelle sailed well last year, and hoped it would win one of the Sunday afternoon Schooner races.
Patti Fredette was also onboard the red-and-white Ardelle. She said she was glad to be watching the festival from the deck again this year.
“I love seeing all the schooners out,” Fredette said, “it’s much better (on board).”
As Sunday’s Parade of Sail ended, and the schooners settled near the Breakwater, Bill Veno said he comes almost every year.
A self-described “boat nut” Veno marveled at the sight from alongside the Fishermen’s Memorial Cenotaph.
“Where else are you going to see anything like this,” Veno said, “It’s beautiful.”
Steven Fletcher can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3455, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @StevenGDT