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October 17, 2012

Ardelle's safe return

The schooner Ardelle docked back in Gloucester Tuesday, as Harold Burnham returned from a trip to Washington D.C., where he collected his National Endowment of the Arts award for shipbuilding.

Burnham and crew left Gloucester on Sept. 22 for the 1,393 mile round-trip voyage. A rotating staff of about ten crew members joined Burnham in sailing the schooner at different points along the trip.

The Essex Shipbuilding Museum tracked the schooner’s travel, and volunteers at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum said the site had 10,000 viewers, giving several “armchair skippers” the chance to lend a hand as they followed along.

Burnham said the journey to D.C. was the first time the boat had been on such a lengthy trip, and the vessel seemed to have behaved “predictably.” There were a few glitches here and there, which Burnham repaired by hand, he said.

The boat stopped along the way at various points, including Mystic, Conn., and Baltimore. But Burnham was most worried and anxious during the sail through New York Harbor’s congested shipping lanes.

The Ardelle finished the last leg, leaving Sandwich around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday and arriving in Gloucester about 3 p.m., welcomed in by family and friends.

“What a trip,” Burnham said as he docked Tuesday. “I knew we’d make it back, but wasn’t sure if it would be in February or March.”

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or

Allegra Boverman can be reached at 978028307000, x3448, or at

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