Sultana Wins Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race

Schooner Columbia took second in the AA class. Photo: Tim Shahan/ www.timshahan.com

The Chestertown, Maryland-based schooner SULTANA claimed victory in its class at the 29th annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.

More than 30 schooners of all sizes race 118 nautical miles from Annapolis to Norfolk each year, raising funds for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The race start was delayed until Friday morning and the finish lines shortened slightly, because of Hurricane Michael’s impact on conditions.

 SULTANA joins the pre-race Parade of Sail in Baltimore. Photo by @all_seas on Instagram, taken from S/V Panthalassa
SULTANA joins the pre-race Parade of Sail in Baltimore. Photo by @all_seas on Instagram, taken from S/V Panthalassa

In the AA class, in which the largest schooners compete, Captain Michael Fiorentino and the crew of the SULTANA won with a “corrected time” of 14 hours, 26 minutes and seven seconds. It’s the second time in three years the 1786-replica ship has won. The handicapping system accounts for the differences in the competing vessels’ designs. Newcomer Columbia, a replica of a 1923 Gloucester, Massachusetts racing schooner which hails from Panama City, Florida, came in second. And the 126-foot schooner Virginia came in third.

In the smaller classes, race winners included the 93-year-old schooner Hindu, Libertate of Annapolis, and Sea Hawk, a Mobjack Bay-designed 42-footer based in Portsmouth.

-Meg Walburn Viviano