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August 31, 2013

Cape Ann kids sailing on schooners during festival

As the vessels negotiate the harbor for the 2013 Gloucester Schooner Festival this weekend, some special sailors and passengers will be aboard.

The festival, which celebrates and honors Cape Ann’s maritime history, works to ensure the future of that heritage by supporting youth programs that put youngsters on Cape Ann waters.

This past year, the festival committee chose to institutionalize the event’s educational component by providing opportunities for kids to sail on some of the 22 participating schooners — the Adventurer (not Adventure, Adventurer) will not be here due to mechanical difficulties. The Adventure, Gloucester’s flagship, will be the leading schooner in the Parade of Sail, not the Thomas E. Lannon as was previously reported, and racing for the first time in 20 years.

The festival committee is also offering financial support to local programs that put Cape Ann children on the water throughout the year. In 2012, the committee provided two grants of $1,500 to the Gloucester High Sailing Program and The Museum School to support their on-the-water programs.

Beyond the costs of producing the Gloucester Schooner Festival weekend, the committee is raising money to offer similar support to youth-on-the-water organizations to be used in their 2014 season. Persons or organizations interested in donating should contact Maritime Gloucester Executive Director Tom Balf at 978-281-0470 or

Maritime Gloucester auction

Speaking of Maritime Gloucester, the organization’s online auction is now open and will remain open until Sept. 3.

Auction items include a framed block print by Folly Cove Designer Isabel Natti titled “Plankton”; a weekend getaway in Jackson, N.H.; a garden consultation; a “Perfect Storm” trip; a schooner Ardelle charter sail with live music; a children’s birthday party at Maritime Gloucester; and a half hull model of a favorite boat.

Proceeds support Maritime Gloucester’s efforts to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, maritime heritage and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiences.

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