The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race is a unique matchup that sends every schooner imaginable down the Bay, 118 nautical miles from Annapolis to Norfolk. Some 30 schooners of all sizes take to raise funds for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
This year, the race has gone the way of most large fundraisers: it’s being held virtually. Each of the 12 schooners participating has picked a nonprofit partner, and is “racing” to raise as much money as possible for their Bay charity. Nearly all 12 have already hit their goal, and the donations continue to climb.
The switch to virtual racing can’t keep all the schooners away from the Annapolis harbor. As Bay Bulletin reported last month, Baltimore privateer interpretation ship Lynx and General George Patton’s famed sailboat When & If are both visiting at the docks at the end of Prince George Street.
There will still be a Parade of Schooners on October 25 at 12:30 pm with both visiting boats participating, along with the Woodwind I and Woodwind II, Adventure, Adventurer, and others. Schooner Woodwind Annapolis Sailing Cruises is holding a special cruise so members of the public can join the parade and rally to follow.
The schooners will have plenty to celebrate, even without their 118 nautical mile journey. Ten days before the parade, over $45,000 had been raised, blowing away the $30,000 goal. The funds support Chesapeake charities from The Elizabeth River Project to the Watermen’s Museum and Living Classrooms. The Schooner Race also provides educational activities to 100 students in Baltimore, 100 students in Norfolk, and—for the first time in 2020—100 students from Anne Arundel County Schools.
Stacy Spaulding, the race’s Maryland Educational Chairperson, explains why: “We focus on students who, because of their economic situation, may live within a few blocks of a river or stream in the Bay’s watershed and yet know very little about it. We believe the best way to learn is to let them work side-by-side with our experienced crews where they raise sail, study the science and engineering involved in sailing, study the biology of our waterways, and discuss the importance of being a good steward of our hallowed Bay.”
To join the race, choose a schooner and make a contribution, go to the race website.
-Meg Walburn Viviano