Columbia Arrives Thursday, August 27

Come down to Maritime Gloucester (23 Harbor Loop, downtown Gloucester) to celebrate the arrival of the schooner Columbia on Thursday, August 27, at 10am. All attendees will be entered into a raffle for a free 2015 Schooner Festival Hat and Schooner Festival T-Shirt! (must be present during the drawing to win)

Help us welcome the Columbia is proper Gloucester style!

Gloucester Schooner Festival Celebrates Essex Schooners

The story line of this year’s 31st annual Gloucester Schooner Festival, which runs from September 4th to September 6th, is all about Essex built and Essex inspired schooners. And the arrival of the 610’ USS Fort McHenry, but we’ll get to that.

The Schooner Columbia-- yesterday and today

The Schooner Columbia– yesterday and today

The signature or attraction schooner at this year’s Festival is the replica Columbia. The original Columbia was a 141’ classic Gloucester Fishing Schooner built at the historic A.D. Story shipyard of Essex, Massachusetts in 1923. That fall, the Columbia, designed for speed,  challenged the Bluenose, Canada’s legendary schooner in the International Fishermen’s Cup Races in Halifax. Nearly winning the title, the Columbia was narrowly defeated by the Bluenose and was one of the few American schooners to provide a challenge to Bluenose. (The other being the Gertrude Thebaud which beat the Bluenose in the Lipton Cup in 1930. The trophy is on display at Maritime Gloucester.). The replica Columbia was built by Brian D’Isernia at his boat yard, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, in Panama City, Florida. The Schooner is currently sailing to Sable Island, where the vessel was lost with all hands in a gale on August 24, 1927.  Following a memorial service at sea, the Columbia will make the return trip to Gloucester that never occurred. The Columbia is slated to arrive in Gloucester on August 27, 2015 in advance of the Schooner Festival.  “This is such a great story,” says Schooner Committee Chair, Daisy Nell Collinson. “We hope the public will come out in great numbers to welcome the Columbia and, over the weekend, celebrate the great history of schooners from Essex and Gloucester.”

This year’s schooner race also includes three of the remaining five Essex-built working schooners. The schooners Adventure (1926), Lettie G. Howard (1893), and the Roseway (1925) will all be racing this year. The Highlander Sea (1924) will be resting comfortably at the Gloucester Marine Railways as it enviously observes its wooden brethren compete for the Esperanto Cup. Of the remaining “intact” Essex-Built Schooners, only the Ernestina-Morrissey will be missing from this austere group. The Massachusetts owned schooner is being rebuilt in the state of Maine. Joining their elders will be the schooners Thomas Lannon, Ardelle and the Fame, all built over the last 20 years by 11th generation boat builder Harold Burnham at his boat yard in Essex.

USS Fort McHenry

USS Fort McHenry

The Schooner Festival will also feature a major attraction vessel — the USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43), which is a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. She was named for Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, the 1814 defense of which inspired The Star-Spangled Banner. This 610’ vessel is actively deployed around the world for combat and humanitarian purposes. It carries as many as 22 officers and 391 enlisted sailors. The ship will be available for public tours on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. “The City of Gloucester is honored to have the USS Fort McHenry in our historic harbor,” says Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken. “We hope the community and weekend visitors take this opportunity to board the ship and honor the great men and women serving our country.” For more information about this Navy vessel, go to

For a complete list of the Gloucester Schooner Festival schedule, go to

Lead sponsors of the Festival include: the City of Gloucester, First Ipswich Bank, Market Basket and Institution for Savings. For a full list of sponsors, go to the Festival’s website. The Festival raises much needed funds from the community by offering Schooner Festival raffle in addition to corporate support. Please purchase raffle tickets (available at Maritime Gloucester) or during Maritime Heritage Day. These funds directly support our efforts to put kids on the water.

Maritime Gloucester is a 501(c) (3) non-profit institution whose mission is to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, maritime heritage and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiences. Its one-acre campus is located on Gloucester Harbor at 23 Harbor Loop, adjacent to the Coast Guard Station. For more information go to or like us on Facebook.

USS Fort McHenry

The USS Fort McHenry will be visiting Gloucester during the 2015 Schooner Festival. A Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy, she was named for Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, the 1814 defense of which inspired the Star-Spangled Banner.  (More information to follow)


Columbia to Join Schooner Festival

YesterdayTodayColumbiaD-Web (4)The Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee is thrilled to announce that the schooner Columbia, a steel hull exact replica of the historic Gloucester Fishing Schooner, will join the fleet during the 2015 Festival.  Columbia was launched in 2014.

Click here to view the Columbia’s brochure.

Information about Columbia (written in 2014):

Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. is pleased to announce that the COLUMBIA (ESG Hull 981) a steel hull exact replica of the historic Gloucester Fishing Schooner, has completed her sailing trials. The sailing trials were held on September 18, 2014 directly offshore of the beaches of Panama City, Florida. Ninety-one years earlier, the original “COLUMBIA” was officially measured on October 27th, 1923 just before her race with the “BLUENOSE” by Raymond J. Milgate, a marine surveyor of Halifax, N.S.

The original COLUMBIA was a 141’ classic wooden hull Gloucester Fishing Schooner built at the historic A.D. Story shipyard of Essex, Massachusetts. The town of Essex was the center for North American Fishing Schooner construction. Designed by the innovative William Starling Burgess, the original COLUMBIA was bred for speed. In the fall of 1923, the COLUMBIA challenged the BLUENOSE, Canada’s legendary schooner in the International Fishermen’s Cup Races held offshore of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nearly winning the title, the COLUMBIA was narrowly defeated by the BLUENOSE and was one of the few American schooners to provide a real challenge to BLUENOSE.

Tragedy struck the promising young COLUMBIA on August 24, 1927 near Sable Island, the notorious “Graveyard of the Atlantic”, where the COLUMBIA was lost with all hands in a gale.
The COLUMBIA will continue to undergo final outfitting and delivery preparation this fall at Eastern. The COLUMBIA will also be exhibited at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show October 30th – November 3rd, 2014. Details can be found at the website below.

Working with John W. Gilbert & Associates of Boston, Massachusetts, the design was re-engineered with a steel hull instead of wood. An engine room and staterooms were added to the design. Covey Island Boatworks of Lunenburg Nova Scotia built the rigging and spars. Blocks were fabricated by A. Dauphinee & Sons and all the sails were constructed by Michelle Stevens Sailloft, LTD, both from the Second Peninsula, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Teak decking was completed by Teakdecking Systems of Florida.

Festival Raffle features Caggiano Painting

Lanes Cove by John Caggiano, Rockport, MA

Lanes Cove by John Caggiano, Rockport, MA

Tickets are now available for the 2015 Gloucester Schooner Festival Raffle. The grand prize in this year’s raffle is a beautiful 9″x12″ oil Painting by Festival Artist John Caggiano– Lane’s Cove.  (The painting is 9″x12″ in an antiqued  gold painted wooden frame (overall frame size 15″ x18″)

Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25 and are available for Festival Committee members and at Maritime Gloucester at 23 Harbor Loop in downtown Gloucester.

Prize list:
Grand Prize: 9″x12″ Lane’s Cove Oil Painting by Festival Artist John Caggiano
Ryan & Wood Distilleries Gift Basket
Twelve 1 1/2 lb lobsters from Mortillaro’s Lobster Co.
Two Tickets aboard the Schooner Thomas Lannon
$85 gift certificate from North Sails
$50 gift certificate from Turner’s Seafood w $50 gift certificate from Russell Orchards
$50 gift certificate from Lobsta Land Restaurant
$25 gift certificate from Turtle Alley Chocolates
Daisy Nell children’s books: set of 5 books/CDs

The drawing will be held on 9/6/2015, at the conclusion of the Gloucester Schooner Festival.
Proceeds from this raffle will support the Gloucester Schooner Festival & its Youth Education Fund.

Sail Away At Gloucester’s Schooner Festival

Sail away from your daily life and into the 31st Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival, which will take place over Labor Day Weekend, September 4-6, 2015. Immerse yourself in the history and the beauty of these ships and experience a tradition and art form that dates back to the early 1700’s. Taking place in Gloucester Harbor and nearby waters of America’s oldest seaport, the Gloucester Schooner Festival honors the major role the fishing schooner has played in the heritage of Gloucester and along the eastern seaboard.

The festival begins on Friday, September 4th with some of the participating vessels arriving at the harbor throughout the day. On Saturday, September 5, the festival celebrates Schooners with Maritime Gloucester Heritage Day from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Heritage Day is free to the public with over 25 artisan vendors and community organizations set up along the Center’s Schooner Way. The Schooner Adventure will be available for tours, Schooners Ardelle and Lannon will be offering public sails, and Maritime Gloucester’s exhibits and aquarium will be open with half- price admission. There is traditional music in the afternoon and evening, and a lobster bake as well. The day culminates with fireworks display over Gloucester Harbor.

A spectacular highlight of the festival is the Parade of Sail on Sunday morning, as participating schooners make their way through the harbor and out past the breakwater, to the Mayor’s Race starting area off Eastern Point. Participants in the large boat category include last year’s winner American Eagle. This year’s participants also include three Essex built boats, the Adventure (1926), Lettie G. Howard (1893), and the Roseway (1925). The 141’ steel replica Fishing/Racing Schooner Columbia (originally built in Essex in 1923) will also be participating in this year’s Festival. This beautiful vessel is a sight to see.

After the Parade of Sail, there will be a complimentary shuttle bus to Eastern Point to watch the start of the Mayor’s Race, courtesy of Cape Ann Transportation Authority. The Mayor’s Race starts at 1 pm and is great way to relax and enjoy the impressive handling of these beautiful boats.

The Gloucester Schooner Festival is not only for the oldest of maritime history buffs but the youngest as well. During the Schooner Festival, numerous opportunities for young sailors are available, from community programs and beyond. Whether you are a Schooner history fanatic, someone looking to escape for a weekend or a family looking to get involved in sailing, the Schooner Festival has something for everyone.

For more information visit:

Gloucester Times: Essex teen awarded Schooner Fest Scholarship

Essex teen awarded Schooner Festival’s first scholarship

By Sean Horgan Staff Writer, Gloucester Daily Times

Eric Fossa of Essex, a 2015 graduate of Manchester Essex Regional High School, will use the $1,000 Gloucester Schooner Festival Youth Scholarship to help pay his first-year tuition at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Eric Fossa of Essex, a 2015 graduate of Manchester Essex Regional High School, will use the $1,000 Gloucester Schooner Festival Youth Scholarship to help pay his first-year tuition at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Eric Fossa is most comfortable at that point where machinery and the oceans intersect, so it’s no wonder the Essex resident and 2015 graduate of Manchester Essex Regional High School is headed to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy this fall to further his education.

Fossa will have a little bit of financial help for his freshman year at the country’s oldest continually operating maritime training academy as the first-ever recipient of the $1,000 Gloucester Schooner Festival Youth Scholarship.

“I plan right now to study marine engineering, though at some point I might decide to change to maritime transportation,” Fossa said one day after finishing work at the Atlantic Industrial Models machine shop on Essex Park Road. “I’ve been doing a lot of engineering stuff here and I really like it. And I love the ocean.”  (click here for complete article)

Gloucester Schooner Festival Awards $1,000 to Local High School Graduate

Eric Fossa from Essex is this year’s recipient of the Gloucester Schooner Festival Youth Scholarship. The Gloucester Schooner Festival Youth Scholarship Committee is pleased to award the Manchester Essex Regional High School graduate with $1,000 in support of his upcoming first year at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. In a very competitive pool of applications, Fossa’s stood out from the rest.

“Growing up in Essex has given me a passion for the ocean,” Fossa explains in his application. He has worked at Atlantic Industrial Models, a local machine shop, for the past several years and is also a member of the National Honor Society at Manchester Essex Regional High School. He wishes to further his passion for both the sea and machinery by pursuing a major in Marine Engineering at Massachusetts Maritime University.

A small, informal awards ceremony will be held for Fossa later this month.

About the Gloucester Schooner Festival Youth Scholarship Program:

This is Gloucester Schooner Festival’s first year presenting the Youth Scholarship. This was made possible with help from a very generous grant provided by the Gerondelis Foundation in memory and honor of Barbara “Sis” Smith of Gloucester. The $1,000 dollar scholarship was created to aid a Cape Ann student who intends to attend the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, or participate in a semester-long program at The Landing School, Wooden Boat School, Chewonki School, SEA Semester Program or Coastal Studies for Girls Semester Program.

The Gloucester Schooner Festival developed the scholarship program to help Cape Ann teens further develop seamanship, sailing and maritime skills. The scholarships will be available again in 2016.  Additional scholarships are also available to aid in participation in selected summer programs.


Schooner Festival Scholarship Program 2015

Click here to submit application.

Dear Friend of the Gloucester Schooner Festival,

We wish to let you know we have funds available that will allow us to offer scholarships to Cape Ann kids (including Ipswich), for your summer camp or program. With the help of a very generous grant from the Gerondelis Foundation in memory and honor of Barbara “Sis” Smith, the Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee has set up a scholarship fund that will support at least two young, sea-minded members of the Cape Ann community with a scholarship of up to $500 towards one of five summer education programs. These programs include (1) Gloucester Museum School/Project Adventure; (2) Coastal Explorers/Maritime Gloucester; (3) Lowell Boat Shop Camp; (4) Fame Summer Camp; (5) Hurricane Island/Thompson Island Outward Bound or (6) a recognized sail training program (e.g., ASTA approved program.) In order to be eligible for the scholarship, students must fall within the ages of 12 to 19 and be a resident of the towns of Rockport, Gloucester, Manchester, Essex, or Ipswich. By presenting this scholarship, Gloucester Schooner Festival is hoping to support the advancement in maritime education and participation among Cape Ann youth. Send an email to and we will forward to you an application. Preference is given to those with financial need.

Students must fill out their own application and we must receive the application by June 25, 2015  in order to be eligible. Scholarship decisions will be made by July 1, 2015. 

Thomas Balf
Executive Director
Maritime Gloucester
23 Harbor Loop
Gloucester, MA 01930


Bring the Ernestina Home to Gloucester

Vote here:

Piper Boatworks and Maritime Gloucester are finalists to conduct the restoration work on the Schooner Ernestina, which is owned by the State of Massachusetts. This 156-foot schooner was built in 1894 at the James and Tarr Shipyard in Essex for the Gloucester fishing fleet. Named the Effie M. Morrissey (now Ernestina Morrissey), she was first owned by Capt. William E. Morrissey and the John F. Wonson Co. of Gloucester. She fished out of this port for the first ten years. She has a remarkable 120-year history including fishing in the U.S. and Canada, arctic exploration, navy service, and as a Cape Verdean packet vessel. We certainly believe that the restoration of the Ernestina-Morrissey at this site (Maritime Gloucester) offers historical, cultural, educational and economic benefits to the Commonwealth and its citizens. Upon its restoration, the schooner will enter a new chapter of its life as a sail training vessel and ambassador for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. If you agree, we welcome your expression of support by clicking on the link and signing the petition.