At the end of the recent holiday weekend I was amazed to see what at first looked like a schooner race in New York harbor. Six large schooners were all short tacking down the channel against a gentle southerly breeze. I soon realized that this was no organized race but was instead an informal gathering orchestrated by the setting sun. Five large schooners and one frequent visitor all offer sunset cruises in New York Harbor. They all sail to roughly the same place, out past the Statue of Liberty, and all sail at close to sunset. In a single stroke the harbor suddenly is filled with sails. Here is a short video of a recent evening.
Two of the schooners sail from the East River. The venerable Pioneer, built of iron in 1885, sails from Pier 16 at the South Street Seaport, while the Clipper City is one dock upriver at Pier 17. The Clipper City is a 1984 built replica of an 1854 cargo schooner from the Great Lakes.
Sailing from Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River, the Adirondack and the Adirondack III (ex- Imagine), are near twins. Both were built in the 1990s, modeled after 189os pilot schooners. The most modern looking schooner is the Shearwater, which nevertheless is over eighty year old. She sails from the North Cove on the Hudson and is the only one of the six schooners which is not gaff rigged.
The last schooner, the A.J. Meerwald, is th the official Tall Ship of the State of New Jersey. She was built in 1928 as an oyster dredge. Her home port is Bivalve, New Jersey but is a frequent visitor to new York harbor usually sailing from Liberty State Park. Here is a short clip of sailing on the Meerwald from last summer.