Schooner Race 2011 ~ Night Sailing

In Portsmouth, friend, fellow sailor, and fellow blogger Steve Early appeared on the docks, working that day. We went for coffee and a bit of breakfast. We talked about many things, having much in common. He asked something I hadn’t expected, though: “How did you like sailing at night?”

It caught me off guard. It’s a simple question, but requires a careful answer to get right, and I don’t think managed it. Most of the Schooner Race takes place at night. Not many photos or video to show for it. I can’t just show them to explain. The previous post was what happened during the day. This is what it was like at night:

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Schooner Race 2011 ~ The Race

Schooners across the horizon



At 4am, the sky over Baltimore Harbor glows pink and bruised, like dirty cotton candy. It’s foggy and raining, and I am in search of coffee. I find it at a 7-11 which, despite the name, is open all night.


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Schooner Race 2011 ~ Parade Video

  Direct Youtube Link


Rain. Wind. A tipping and rolling platform. Not exactly ideal conditions for shooting video.

On the other hand, it really gives you a reasonable feel for what it’s like to be on board. Controlled chaos, interspersed with moments of odd tranquility.

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Schooner Race 2011 ~ Baltimore

Mystic Whaler in Baltimore Harbor


Still going through all the photos and video. Will take another day or two to get the whole gallery up, and a few more for the video, but I’ll post some favorites in these daily logs. Got some very nice shots, and it was a great trip. A lot of adventure got packed into a few days, and it started in Baltimore.

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Live Race Tracking

photo by Allen B. Graves


In addition to the live SPOT tracking page for Quintessence, which will show her position throughout the week, there is another tracking page dedicated to the race itself.

The Baltimore Marine Center has donated gear and tech to put tracking devices on all the schooners. This will show the relative positions of all the ships during the race, so you can see who is in the lead. You get to it here:

 Baltimore Marine Centers > Home

You’ll see a Live Race Results link to access the page. They’ll ask for you email address, then you can open the tracking page.

You’ll also see an optional version that uses Google Earth. Funny thing is, when I open it now, 36 hours before the start, all the schooners are crowded into a tiny parking lot outside Colchester, Connecticut. I suppose that’s where the transponders are being programmed. They’ll be assigned to the schooner captains tomorrow.



Quintessence of Serendipity

The schooner “Quintessence” in the foreground during
the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race in 2007


Winds are fluky. No wind. Some wind. Takes you one direction, then another. Never know where you’ll end up. Sometimes it can be a very pleasant surprise.

A few weeks ago an email landed in my inbox from a Traditional Small Craft group I belong to. Someone needed a few more hands to help crew a schooner down from New Jersey and back. Sounded interesting, and it appears I have some free time on my hands at the moment. Hmmm.

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