Hundreds of onlookers gathered along Stacy Boulevard on Sunday morning to witness a fleet of schooners sail across the Inner Harbor.

The Parade of Sail is part of the annual Gloucester Schooner Festival. Throughout Labor Day weekend, the city hosts a series of events that celebrate Cape Ann’s rich boating history. The culmination was the Mayor’s Race on Sunday afternoon, where the festival’s featured schooners face off for the Esperanto Cup, among other prizes. 

At 10 a.m., two dozen ships of all sizes began parading the harbor. Among them were Gloucester’s 37-foot-on-deck Bald Eagle, the 56-foot Alert of Maine, and the 91-foot Tree of Life from Rhode Island.

The schooner Columbia made its fifth appearance at the festival this year. She’s a 2014 replica of the 141-foot Gloucester racing and fishing boat constructed in Essex in 1923.

The original Columbia was built specifically to beat the Bluenose, the Canadian schooner considered the fastest at the time, at the International Fishermen’s Trophy race in Halifax. Columbia ended up winning the race on a technicality during her inaugural year. 

Her successor, manned by Capt. Seth Salzmann, has raced all over the country.

“Columbia is the pinnacle of what the festival represents,” said Salzmann moments before heading offshore for the parade.

Essex historian and host Daisy Nell Collinson shared interesting tidbits about each schooner over a loudspeaker as they passed the shoreline. For example, as the 411/2-foot, California-made Malabar II sailed by, Collinson was quick to mention that she had a starring role in the Kevin Costner movie, “Message in a Bottle.” 

People from all over the country came to see these magnificent vessels in action. Caroll Tabor of Louisiana watched from the shoreline next to her Cape Ann-native friends.

“(The parade) is excellent,” she said. “We’ll be sticking around for the race, too.”

Magnolia residents Margaret Quinn and David Kriebel said they ride their bikes to the festival each year. 

Quinn was especially impressed with Collinson’s depth of knowledge regarding all the schooners on display. 

“This is Gloucester in all of its glory,” she said of the festival.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

 

American Eagle has won the Esperanto Cup at this year’s Mayor’s Race at the Gloucester Schooner Festival, early results show.

The results had not been finalized by the race committee at press time.

Roseway was the first runner-up in the large vessel race, followed by Adventure.

For medium vessels, Tree of Life won the Ned Cameron Cup and Brilliant won the M-Class division. 

Malabar II won in the small vessel division.

Columbia won its namesake trophy. It was the only schooner in its division for the third straight year.

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