Given Gloucester and Provincetown's similar heritage in fishing and schooners, Ken DiGregorio knew that the two would be a perfect race course for the revival of the Sperry Challenge for the Fishermen's Cup.
The Fishermen's Cup began in 1907 and was a race from Gloucester to Boston. The race has not happened recently, but DiGregorio, who will Commodore the race, got the ball rolling to bring it back in 2008. The event will take place on September 2, where schooners will race from Gloucester to Provincetown across Massachusetts. The race will be followed by the Provincetown Schooner Regatta, which will be raced out of Provincetown on September 6.
"The two town's similar traditions made it a good choice to revive the Fishermen's Cup," DiGregorio said. "Provincetown used to be the home of the schooner, and now Gloucester is."
DiGregorio and the race committee got the idea of getting the Sperry Challenge for the Fishermen's Cup revived and went to the American Schooner Association. In front of the committee, DiGregorio explained his desire to get the Fishermen's Cup going again, and the crew from the Adventurer, which is another schooner participating in the race, agreed to race them.
"We threw down the gauntlet in front of the committee and the Adventurer took the challenge," DiGregorio said. "From there we got six more boats and the race was on, we already have a number of other boats that have committed for 2009."
The 40 mile race will have eight schooners participating including The Hindu, The Bay Lady and Arlie out of Provincetown, The Adventurer out of Mystic Connecticut, The Alabama and the Shenandoah out of Vineyard Haven, Estrela out of Prudence, R.I., and The Lettie G. Howard out of New York City, For the first time, the event will be broadcast on the internet at http://charthorizon.com/races/2008_provincetown_schooner/htdocs/.
The Sperry Challenge for the Fishermen's Cup kicks off the Provincetown Schooner Regatta and Yacht race, which is a weeklong festival in Provincetown. The Regatta features two races (Fishermen's Cup and Provincetown Schooner Regatta) as well as a boat parade, a swim for life to raise money for AIDS, and a Commodore Reception. All events take place in Provincetown from September 2 to 7.
"It's a very interesting experience," DiGregorio said of the week's festivities. "There will be several other boats sail along side the schooners watching the race, and the events during the week attract a lot of attention."
The Sperry Challenge for the Fishermen's Cup at a Glance
What: The Sperry Challenge for the Fishermen's Cup, a 40 mile schooner race across Massachusetts Bay.
Where: Massachusetts Bay from Gloucester to Provincetown. The Race can also be viewed on the internet at http://charthorizon.com/races/2008_provincetown_schooner/htdocs/.
When: September 2
Who: The Hindu, Adventurer, Bay Lady, Arlie, Alabama, Shenandoah, Estrela and The Lettie G. Howard.