Virginia and Alabama Join Connecticut Schooner Festival

Additional ships also include Sophia Christina and Tree of Life from Rhode Island, Perception from Martha’s Vineyard and Adventure from Gloucester

NEW LONDON, Conn. (July 30, 2013) – The WNLC Classic 98.7 Connecticut Schooner Festival has announced that 10 additional schooners have confirmed their participation in this year’s celebration in Mystic and New London September 11-15, 2013. Among the new ships committed to participate include: Virginia from Norfolk, Alabama and Perception from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Sophia Christina from Weekapaug, Rhode Island, Adventure from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Mary E and Spirit from Essex, Connecticut, Mystic from Mystic, Connecticut, Tree of Life from Newport, Rhode Island, and Tyrone from Chatham, Massachusetts. This brings the total number of schooner participating in the festival to 20.

“It’s shaping up to be a wonderful maritime celebration,” said John S. Johnson, Chairman of the Connecticut Schooner Festival. “We’re thankful for the participation of so many vessels, and look forward to welcoming their crew to our shores. Guests will be amazed at the site of all these magnificent ships docked along our waterfront. All will be open for boarding and some will even be available for day-sails along the Thames River.”

The WNLC Classic 98.7 Connecticut Schooner Festival celebrates the state’s maritime heritage, history and spirit of innovation. The five-day festival begins when the schooners arrive at Mystic Seaport and are available for viewing on Wednesday, September 11. The festival continues the following day, Thursday, September 12 with a dockside education program for Connecticut school children at Mystic Seaport. In addition, there will be students learning aboard the schooner Quinnipiack as it transits Long Island Sound from its homeport in New Haven to the festival. Following this initial education program in Mystic, the schooner fleet moves to the New London waterfront on Friday, September 13.

Educational partners for the Connecticut Schooner Festival include:
• Mystic Seaport
• Connecticut River Museum
• LEARN
• East Lyme, Stonington, Waterford, New London, Montville, Groton and Ledyard Public Schools
• Fisher’s Island School District
• The University of Connecticut, Avery Point
• Marine Science Magnet School of Southeastern Connecticut
• Connecticut River Academy at Goodwin College
• Schooner Inc. – New Haven
• Sound Waters – Stamford

The Connecticut Schooner Festival will feature five days of family fun and entertainment including a schooner race along Fisher’s Island Sound on Saturday, September 14, with prime viewing from New London’s Ocean Beach Park, ship visits, schooner sailing trips on participating schooners, two dockside music concerts, a juried plein air painting competition, a giant sand sculpture, The Great New London Chowder Challenge among New London’s many restaurants, with visitors voting for their favorites.

Most of the New London activities will take place on the waterfront near City Pier, but a “Made in Connecticut” expo, featuring Connecticut-made products, will take place there was well. In addition, New London’s creative Flock Theatre will present a unique street pageant called “The Burning in Effigy of Benedict Arnold” as the centerpiece of a program that will include, among other offerings, an appearance by the Ancient Mariners fife and drum corps of Pawcatuck, Connecticut. There is no charge to visit the festival, and a complete schedule of activities is available at CTSchoonerFest.com.

Among the 20 schooners taking part in the 2013 Connecticut Schooner Festival include:
• Virginia, a 121-foot wooden replica of its original twentieth century pilot vessel which sailed in the Chesapeake Bay from 1917 to 1926;
• Alabama, a Gloucester fishing vessel built in 1926 to serve as the pilot boat for Mobile, Alabama;
• Sophia Christina, a 62-foot wooden vessel modeled after an 1870’s Boston pilot schooner;
• Adventure, a 122-foot historic wooden dory fishing schooner built in 1926 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
• Mary E, a 75-foot authentic clipper built in 1906;
• Spirit, a John Alden designed Malabar Schooner visually and virtually exact in both her exterior and interior appearance as the day launched in 1934;
• Mystic, a 170-foot three-masted square topsail schooner built and launched in 2007;
• Perception, a 68-foot vessel designed by L. Francis Herreshoff in 1924 and built in New Zealand in 1983;
• Tree of Life, a masterpiece of craftsmanship combining old world and traditional design with modern hull construction;
• Tyrone, a 75-foot schooner designed by S. Sturgis Crocker and built by Simms Brothers, Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1939 to be an offshore passage maker;
• Adventurer, a 122-foot historic wooden dory fishing schooner built in 1926 in Essex, Massachusetts;
• Brilliant, Mystic Seaport’s prize-winning 64-foot schooner described by Wooden Boat magazine as one of the 100 most beautiful classic boats in existence;
• Equinox; a racing rig Muscongus Bay Schooner, owned by Mathew Otto and built by Ralph Stanley in Southwest Harbor Maine, 1983-1984, 28-feet in length on deck with a spar length of about 40-feet, moored in North Basin above Mystic Seaport;
• Irena, a Tom Colvin Gazelle model 42′ schooner, built of steel in Florida in 1984, launched in Seattle in 1986, moved to Waukegan, Illinois, for Great lake sailing;
• Lelanta, a 1929 custom designed private yacht by Boston designer John G Alden and built of steel by G de Vries Lentsch at Amsterdam, Holland;
• Malabar II, a two-masted gaff-rigged schooner designed in 1922 by John Alden in Boston Massachusetts;
• Mystic Whaler, a reproduction of a late 19th century coastal cargo schooner that was designed for the passenger trade by Chubb Crockett of Camden, Maine;
• Niamh, a 42-foot Tom Colvin Saugeen Witch schooner;
• Quinnipiack, New Haven’s 91-foot flagship schooner, built in 1984 and originally named the ‘Janet May’, she has been sailing in New Haven for over 20 years
• Quintessence, a duplicate of an early 20th century Friendship sloop, built in fiberglass by Jarvis Newman and Mack Pettrigrew.

When the schooner festival arrives in New London on Friday, September 13, the ship captains will be honored at the United States Coast Guard Academy, with the corps of cadets marching in a Regimental Review. The public will also be treated to entertainment including music on the waterfront, a lighted boat parade to welcome the schooners and a host of other activities including sand sculpting and Kidsploration with Steve Elci and Friends and a large color board for budding young artists.

Then, on Saturday, New London’s restaurants will engage in the chowder competition from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with visitors getting to vote for their favorites. The plein air painting competition will conclude at 2 p.m., Saturday after two days of painting throughout the New London and Mystic waterfront area. In addition, Saturday’s festivities include an awards dinner at 6:00 p.m. at Ocean Beach Park’s Port ‘N’ Starboard gourmet banquet facility to recognize the winners of the schooner race.

The Connecticut Schooner Festival will finish on Sunday, September 15 as the ships form a parade of sail and head down the Thames River to close out the event.

Historically, schooners have played an important role in the development of our state and country. They were hardly strangers in Connecticut waters as the country struggled against the mighty British navy; they hauled cargo, and, sadly, at times slaves. Arguably the most well known of this class, La Amistad, was intercepted in Long Island Sound by a Revenue Cutter ship and escorted into New London, where it remained moored for more than a year behind the federal Customs House which remains in service to this day. In 2000, Mystic Seaport launched the Freedom Schooner Amistad, an approximate replica of the original. Today, her mission is education.