October 19, 2013 along Portsmouth, Virginia's riverfront.

"One of the Greatest Gathering of Schooners in the World" featuring participating schooners from the 24th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Schooner Days 2010 Welcomes the Schooner Heron

The Schooner HERON close-hauled with the Schooner VIRGINIA during the beginning of a past Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.
Schooner HERON was designed by French Naval Architect Dominique Presles and built in La Rochelle, France, in 1984. A sistership was built four years earlier, changes and improvements made, and HERON was the final product for this design.

Schooner Heron Specifications:
Length Overall: 60 feet
Beam: 15 feet 6 inches
Draft: 6 feet board up, 13 feet board down
Displacement: approx 22 Tons
Sailing Rig: Staysail Schooner
Construction: Aluminum
Engine: 100 hp Detroit Diesel

Schooner HERON under sail.
Schooner HERON  is generally high up in the standings, and won First Place in her class in 2001 and 2008. In 2001, she was overall winner, having the best corrected time of all vessels.

Schooner HERON jockeying for position during the beginning of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.
Schooner Heron Charters is offering two seats for paying crew aboard for the 2010 Race. Click on the link here http://www.schoonerheron.com/gcbsr/index.html for information about this exciting offer. Wow, what an adventure!

Crew aboard the Schooner HERON in this year's Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.
Visit their website at http://www.schoonerheron.com for information about the Schooner HERON and please be sure to come and participate in this year's Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia and meet the crew of the Schooner HERON. See you there!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Schooner Dove II: Racing in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race

After Dove II sailed us to a 3rd place finish in the 2008 Race (with an inexperienced crew and only 2 days of sea trials after her 2-year refit), we had high hopes for the 20th Annual Great Chesapeake  Bay schooner race salted for October of 2009.

Schooner Dove II  racing in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.
We crossed the start line rolling at 7 knots in 15 knot winds, with a double-reefed mainsail and single-reefed foresail as we anticipated that the forecast of rain, 40 degree temps and 35 knot winds during the night would bear out. The rain and temperature were as predicted; the wind did not exceed 25 knots. (making them the kindest winds over the last several races).

DOVE II  racing during the 20th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race
We built an early lead on our B fleet and on many of the boats in the A and AA fleets that had started earlier. But as it was said long ago, “pride goeth before the fall.” We sailed down the Eastern Shore at close to hull speed, so I didn’t call for any reefs to be shaken out, to guard against the high winds that did not happen.

Three boats with the sense to put up more sail sneaked by us in the night to place 1-2-3, and we placed 4th in our fleet, less than 11 minutes out of first place on the 80-mile course!

Captain Mike from the deck of  DOVE II observes the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II
If we’d shaken out just one reef, would the extra half-knot of speed have made a difference in our finish? We’ll never know. But I have learned that even after several thousand miles sailing Dove II since her refit, I still don’t know how truly fast she is. My crew and I do take some solace from our 8th place finish (corrected time) among all schooners over the “long course” (126 mile).

Yes, we intend to participate again this year! The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race is an awesome event that draws far more schooners than any schooner race anywhere, and sailing in it just one time is enough to understand why it is the biggest schooner race today. If you have the opportunity to take part in this race, on any boat and in any capacity, DO IT!

Captain Mike of the DOVE II

Visit the DOVE II at their website at http://www.schoonerdove2.com/ Stop by and meet the crew during this years Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia, October 15 & 16, 2010. See you there!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sailing With the Privateer LYNX. Destination: 2010 Schooner Days, Portsmouth, Virginia

Privateer LYNX under sail. Visit her at Schooner Days, Portsmouth, Virginia.
 Sail along with the Privateer LYNX as she makes her way south to Baltimore, Maryland to participate in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race and then to Portsmouth, Virginia for the 2010 Schooner Days. You can follow her daily travels by visiting the track finder site at http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=WDA988  Please enjoy reading a few recent ship reports written since her departure from Montreal. You can also visit the Privateer LYNX website at  http://www.privateerlynx.com/

17 September 2010
Old Port, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Wx NW F2, 17 Degrees (Celsius) 2/8 Cumulus

Lynx is snug in at the Jacques Carthier Basin in the historic Old Port District of Montreal. Our Transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway is complete, and we transited 12 of the 15 locks in company of other Tallships. On Monday night and Tuesday morning, we transited the Welland with our sister Privateer, Pride of Baltimore II, but entered the river ahead of her on Wednesday morning, passing through the 1000 Islands area of New York just as darkness was giving way to daylight.

A brisk, bright day and a swift current allowed Lynx to clear the first locks by late afternoon – well ahead of schedule and allowing for a night at anchor, somewhere. Ultimately deciding on Lake St. Francis, we found ourselves joined by Pride II and the German Brig Roald Amundsen. Weighing anchor at dawn Thursday, the three of us continued the “stepping down” process through the last four locks together, reaching the final St. Lambert Lock together just after three. After boarding Pilots, we joined Bounty and Unicorn in the entrance Parade of Sail.

Even though the weather turned to a gloomy rain, a few hearty hundreds braved the showers to watch the ships as we fought the impressive current of the St. Lawrence river into the old port.

This marks the end our Great Lakes tour in terms of both itinerary and geography: Not only is this the last port before we head back to the East Coast of America, Montreal marks the lowest elevation Lynx has been at in nearly three months. All the locks are behind us, now only the swift current of the St. Lawrence remains to carry us back to sea.

Bonjournee from Capitan Jamie Trost et la equipage de Lynx

The Privateer LYNX off the coast of Greenport, New York.
 160 NM Run since Departure 1530, 20 September.
Barometer at 1022Mb and falling slowly
Breeze at Force 4, SW
Seas: 1-2'.
MotorSailing between 7-8.5 at 1400 RPM with Foretops'l set. Breeze dead astern

Montreal is a hard port to leave. Not for any real logistic reason, but for the personal reasons of the crew. The Old Port venue for the Tallships Festival was perfect, natural tourist draw just a block from the Old City itself, and except for a cold and rainy parade of sail, the weather was absolutely spectacular - clear and warm sunny days that brought throngs of people down to the event. Lynx
saw nearly 7000 people across the deck in three days.

And for the crew, there was plenty to do in their short time off. Montreal is a very old-world city despite being decidedly in Canada. It is often used as a stand in for European back drops in American movies. So simply walking the town was quite a pleasure. Add to that a lively night-life and it's a wonder we got all the crew back aboard Monday morning.

But now, nearly 200 miles down the river, we are experiencing the edge of autumn. What a difference from when we made our inbound passage exactly three months ago. Then the days were as long as they could be, and only the midnight to four watch was totally in darkness. Now the season is decidedly changing. Along the riverside the trees are showing swaths of color in the green, and the
rainy, cool weather that greeted us coming in to Montreal has returned from its weekend off.  Once again we are traveling out with our sister Privateer, Pride of Baltimore II, and Captain Miles and I will be in close contact to discuss the weather and share resources.

The breeze is building, and promises to stay favorable for a while, but it is definitely time to head South. Unfortunately, we must head north to nearly 50 degrees latitude in order to round Gaspe and do so. So off we go toward the Northeast - almost exactly the wrong direction to get to Gloucester, but the only way to do it by water.

All best,

Jamie Trost and the bundled up crew of Lynx.

The Privateer LYNX anchored at Appledore Island, Maine.
22 September, 2010
Day Two: Montreal, Quebec to Gloucester, MA
48°52.8'N x 067° 46.1'W, St. Lawrence River
150 NM Run since 1200, 21 September.
Barometer at 1014Mb and falling slowly
Breeze at Force 5, WSW
Seas: 3-4'.
Sailing between 8-9.5 Foretops'l, Weather Course, Fores'l and Stays'l set.

This passage might best be broken down into several stages. The first being the motoring from Montreal to Quebec city, with all its narrow channels, and still more motoring with a peppering of sail for the slightly wider section of river between Quebec and Escoumins, where the pilot station is. That section is behind us, and Lynx is again full length - we shipped the mainboom on to deck in Montreal, so that we would measure under 35 meters and not require the expense of a pilot.

But there has been plenty of river since, and since last night at 2300 we have been sailing it, with the breeze filling in from astern. Even our conservative sail plan has us skipping right along, and should have us into the Gulf of St. Lawrence by tomorrow at dawn. From there the next section starts, taking us down to the Strait of Canso, and one last lock before we can put the lock gear away. The Canso Lock is a control lock for the water between the Gulf and Chedabucto Bay on the south side of Nova Scotia, so it is not quite as daunting as the 15 we saw in the seaway.

But for tonight they are giving a gale watch in our waters approaching Anticosti Island, and favorable or not, a gale is a gale. So with the last of the sparse daylight here, we're going to tuck some reefs in and snug down for weather.

All best,

Jamie Trost and the crew of Lynx wishing you a Happy Autumnal Equinox.

The Privateer LYNX under sail with the City of Chicago, Illinois in the background.

 23 September, 2010
Day Three: Montreal, Quebec to Gloucester, MA
48°04.6'N x 063° 21.3'W, Gulf of St. Lawrence
192 NM Run since 1200, 22 September.
Barometer at 1027Mb and rising slowly
Breeze at Force 6, WNW
Seas: 5-7'.
Sailing between 8-9 under Reefed Foretops'l, Fores'l, Stays'l & Jib.

Out of the river and into the Gulf, and at great speed. Through a combination of currents and brisk wind, Lynx is onto the next stage of the passage, the transit across the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is a bit lumpy and quite confused out here, but we should make it across the Gulf and into the Strait of Canso by tomorrow morning, and possibly anchor in that area to wait out the next weather system before pressing on along the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

It has been a surging 36 hours of sailing, and promises to continue through this evening. It might not be the most comfortable, but it is getting us in the right direction without using any more of our fuel - Lynx carries 1000 gallons, but the mileage from Montreal to Gloucester is roughly 1300, and we'd be hard pressed to motor that far if the wind didn't cooperate.

And, as has happened so often along our routes this summer, we were again within sight of Pride of Baltimore II exactly at noon today. With the same sail plan, but a longer waterline, she crept up on us steadily through the morning and is now fading away on the Southern horizon. They will get down to Canso before we do, but we hope to share the same anchorage together over the weekend.

All best,

Jamie Trost and the rocking and rolling crew of Lynx.

A bull's eye view of the LYNX sails and flying the American flag. Photo by Jim Sabiston.

The Privateer LYNX is the Recipient of the American Sail Training Association's
Transpacific Yacht Club's

The Lynx Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational organization, dedicated to hands-on educational programs that teach the history of America's struggle to preserve its independence. For donation information, please contact the Lynx Educational Foundation 1-866-446-5969 509 29th Street, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Schooner A J MEERWALD: Visit Her During Portsmouth Virginia's 2010 Schooner Days

Vintage picture of the Schooner AJ MEERWALD under sail.
The A. J. Meerwald is a Delaware Bay oyster schooner, a distinct vessel that evolved to meet the needs of the local oyster fishery. Launched in 1928, the A. J. Meerwald was one of hundreds of schooners built along South Jersey's Delaware Bayshore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry that coincided with the Great Depression.

History & Specifications

1942: In June, the Maritime Commission commandeered the A. J. Meerwald under the War Powers Act. She was turned over to the US Coast Guard who outfitted her as a fireboat. The vessel underwent a dramatic change at this time, with most of her sailing rig being removed.

1947: In January, the A. J. Meerwald was returned to the Meerwalds. Eight months later, they sold the vessel to Clyde A. Phillips who used her as an oyster dredge under power.

1957: The oyster industry crashed with the sudden appearance of the parasite Msx.

1959: Ownership passed to Cornelius (Nicky) Campbell who outfitted her for surf clamming. She operated primarily as a clam dredge into the late 1970's. She was essentially retired until her donation to the Schooner Project in 1989.

1998: on Earth Day, the A.J. MEERWALD was designated New Jersey's official tall ship by Governor Christine Whitman.

2002: Delaware Bay Schooner Project becomes the Bayshore Discovery Project.

The A. J. Meerwald was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Picture of the original crew of the A J MEERWALD

Deck plan

Length on deck - 85'
Draft - 6'
Beam - 22'3"
Rig height 70'
Freeboard 4'
Sail area - 3562 Sq Ft
Gross Tonnage - 57 tons

For more information about the A J MEERWALD's programs and camps, please click here to go to their website. We hope you can come and visit her on October 16 during the 2010 Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia. See you there!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth: "A picture is Worth a Thousand Words."

 The old and wise adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" and "a picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound" defines the purpose of this blog. Simply stated, I will never be able to describe to you what I can show you through my images of Schooner Days past.  And, as Napolean Bonaparte once stated "A good sketch is better than a long speech"...especially since we're entertaining over 40 schooners, so scroll down and take a look at what you can discover for yourself this October 15 and 16 at the 2010 Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia. Make sure you bring your camera!

The Schooner "Sultana" from Chestertown, Maryland

A red star decorates the bow of the 'Liberty Clipper' from Boston, Massachusetts
The American flag hangs from the stern of the A J Meerwald with the Mystic Whaler in the background during Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia.
The 'Pride of Baltimore II' is tied along the Olde Towne Portsmouth seawall
A close-up image of the Pride of Baltimore II nameboard.
The schooner Liberty Clipper gets her masts slushed before departing Olde Towne Portsmouth
The schooner Liberty Clipper gets her masts slushed before departing Olde Towne Portsmouth. Usually, it’s the youngest (lightest) member of the crew who gets outfitted, then strapped into a boatswain’s chair (boson’s chair, really just a board strung between some rope). Then this person is hoisted to the top of the mast with a bucket full of slush. These days, slush is not meat grease but Vaseline petroleum jelly. They start at the top, smearing Vaseline all over the mast. When a section is finished, they yell to the deck, where someone standing by lowers them a few feet.

“SLUSH FUND”-slush was the unpromising name for fat scraped off the top of the barrels of meat. The crew found it perfect for greasing masts to make sail hoisting easier and for preserving leather fittings. The cook, unhappy about this, would secret it in his ‘slush fund’ and stowed it away.  He typically sold it ashore, mostly to candle makers and people in the fish and chip trade.

"Beware of the Attack Flamingo?' Really!
'Mystic Whaler's' port light.
Wooden mast hoops used on vintage schooners.
Trailboard of the Schooner 'Lady Maryland."
The eagle figurehead from the Freedom Schooner "Amistad.'
A gathering at Schooners in Olde Towne Portsmouth's High Street Landing.
American flag flies in front of the Schooner 'Liberty Clipper.'
Schooner masts and rigging  decorate the seawall of Virginia's historic seaport- Portsmouth.
Silhouettes of schooner masts and rigging at the end of the day. Time to move up High Street to the restaurants and pubs. See you there.
These are just a few of the pictures from Schooner Days past and there's plenty more to come. So bookmark this blog and please plan to come and visit us at Portsmouth Virginia's Schooner Days. All photographs were taken by Joe Elder. Have Schooner Days pictures to share. Send them to cjosephelder@gmail.com.  See you there!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The 2010 Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia

2010 Schooner Days in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia
 October 15-17, 2010

Schooner Days is a celebration of the world’s largest gathering of schooners along the waterfront of Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia. It's held this year in conjunction with the 21st Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race from Baltimore to Portsmouth- racing to save the bay!

A gathering of  great vintage wooden schooners are clustered together in Olde Towne Portsmouth for Schooner Days.
 This three day celebration offers numerous maritime-related activities, many are free to the general public.

The Portsmouth waterfront from North Landing to beyond the High Street Landing will showcase over 40 schooners from local and distant ports and is considered the largest gathering of schooners in the world.

Schooners line the seawall at Portsmouth, Virginia's High Street Landing
 Schooner Days was created to commemorate Portsmouth’s rich maritime history with a variety of scheduled historical recreation events including demonstrations by shipwright artisans, maritime related musicians, costumed actors and even a hands-on building of a skiff! Other exhibits will be on hand to bring awareness for the need to preserve and improve the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay.