The 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race turned out to be a great race indeed. The schooner Virginia, which has been absent in recent years due to financial issues, returned to race and was the first across the finish line, breaking her own past record time. At the smaller end of the fleet, schooner Norfolk Rebel, under the command of Steve Briggs, won a respectable third place in the Class C race. Click here for a detailed summary of the race results.
The schooner race began in 1988 when Captain Lane Briggs of the Norfolk Rebel challenged Pride of Baltimore II to a race from Baltimore to Norfolk. Lane Briggs died in 2005 and his son Steve has stepped in as captain. Norfolk Rebel, a sail assisted tugboat, often referred to as a “tugantine,” consistently places well in her class.
Highlights of the race from the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race website: What a race this was! Perfect wind from the start, all the way to the end. Winds were out of the ENE around 20k, gusting up to 25 at times. Those who could flew spinnakers, while the big boats almost danced with glee.
The race was officiated by Eastport Yacht Club (EYC), who were kind enough to supply not only the officials, but also the start boat and reaching mark. Many thanks to them for all their expertise.
Everyone was glad to welcome Schooner Virginia back after her multi-year absence. Schooner Brilliant also made a re-appearance, all the way down from Mystic, Ct., and the boat that got the most attention for sheer perseverance was “Flower of Caithness,” whose owners Tom & Katie Guy shipped her from Scotland in a shipping container and installed the rig overnight while the rest of us were enjoying the Parade of Sail and crew dinner at the Polish Home Club.