Saturday, October 11, 2014

Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race 2014

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race is held annually, with schooners of all types and sizes racing each other from the Bay Bridge North of Annapolis to the southern end of Chesapeake Bay. Starting at 13h30 on Thursday 16th October, this is the 25th running of the annual race, which was started by the late Capt. Laine Briggs.This is really two parties, one in Baltimore, Maryland, the other in Portsmouth, Virginia, linked by a yacht race.

I have sailed in this race twice before, on steel boats that I had designed. In 2004 it was on the 60ft gaff schooner "Ancilla II", then owned by Renny Barnes. About 5 or 6 years later I did it on the  Hout Bay 40 "Adventure" that was owned by Charley Holmes.

This year I will sail with Dan Hall on his GRP staysail schooner-rigged Shearwater 45 "Apella". She was built in Cape Town by Patrick Fraser. Patrick commissioned the Shearwater 45 design and built two of them, one for himself and the other for his colleague Denis Colclough. The one that we will sail was the boat owned by Denis and was originally named "Wave Maiden".
"Apella", snapped by solo-circumnavigator Ant Steward at a recent
chance meeting when leaving Newport RI.

The Shearwater 45 has a modern underbody below her classic good looks. It allows these boats to show surprising speed under most wind conditions.

The two schooners were both fitted out with very distinctive colours and detailing, styled after the very luxurious private Pullman carriages that were used by wealthy families to travel on the railroads of North America.
Sistership "Moonbeam" out of the water, showing underbody.
Gorgeous interior of "Apella", looking aft
Looking forward.

The cutter-rigged version of this design won two boat of the year awards at the 2000 Annapolis Sailboat Show. Read more about the Shearwater 45 in an earlier blog post.

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