27 Days to the Gloucester Schooner Festival From Al Bezanson
Hi Joey…The 28th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival will soon be upon us. I wonder how many remember The Annual Great Gloucester Schooner Races of the late 60’s. This is GREEN DRAGON after the circa 1969 race where we were decked out as fishermen.
Here was the deal for those races. They handed you a little piece of paper with an “X” on it, a black & copy of a section of Gloucester Harbor. Go anchor on that spot and when the boatload of old schoonermen comes by, hoist your sails and get underway ‘like fishermen.’ They would judge you for up to 25% of your score. When everyone got underway we gathered by the breakwater where we got the gun to race up to Newcombs and back, boat-for-boat, no handicap as I recall. Another 25% of your score. Keep on going and anchor on your X. No GPS or other instruments. You found it with landmarks. Only one try. Eventually the old timers came back, a captain came aboard, stood at your foremast and figured out how close you were to X by shooting bearings with a sextant. 50% of your score. Tough luck if the tide changed and you swung off it before the judges got to you. First place boat went to Lunenburg to face the speediest schooner they had at the time. These were all small schooners of 30 to 50 feet.
As for the crew in the photo. All but one are still walking. That’s my kid with the yellow hair. First one to ID the lot gets a beer on me at the Cape Ann Brewery or the Gloucester House or wherever he can find me during the festival this year.