CAMBRIDGE — Schooners and other historic vessels are sailing for Cambridge for the eighth annual Cambridge Schooner Rendezvous, which starts this Friday, Oct. 25, and continues through Sunday.
While they’re docked at Long Wharf Park here, many of the ships will put out their gangplanks and invite the public aboard for tours and day sails.
The event features participants in last week’s Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, from Baltimore to Portsmouth, Va. At this time, nine schooners have confirmed their participation including the race winner in its class, Pride of Baltimore II, and Lady Maryland, which finished third in that class among six other boats, including Mystic Whaler, which did not finish the race.
In the next smaller Class A, both the Heron, which finished fourth, and the Prom Queen, which finished third, are expected in Cambridge.
Other schooners expected in Cambridge are the Martha White, Celebration, Tyrone and Eastern Passage, along with other vessels including Elf, a clipper ship built in 1888, Isa Lei, a ketch, and Dorchester’s own skipjack, Nathan of Dorchester.
Saturday, for the first time during the rendezvous, a free sail will be offered to the first 20 elementary school-aged children who arrive in pirate attire. Those younger than kindergarten age may ride with a paying adult. The line forms at Long Wharf at 10 a.m. Saturday near the Mystic Whaler from Mystic Seaport, Conn. The Mystic crew will also be dressed in its best 18th century garb.
Saturday and Sunday, day sails and dockside tours are available from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., along with live entertainment, food, vendors, family-friendly activities and historic walking tours of Cambridge’s High Street. Admission is free; each ship sets admission prices for tours and sails. There will be free transportation from the Hyatt dock to Long Wharf aboard the deadrise workboat built especially for the Phillips family of the famous seafood restaurants.
The weekend’s schedule includes an opening ceremony Saturday at 10 a.m. with a Blessing of the Fleet, welcome from Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley and music by the Mid-Shore Community Band.
A parade of sail is set at 2 p.m. in the Choptank River Saturday, weather permitting.
Entertainment includes several musical performers, including Slow Boat Captains for Truth and Justice, Janie Meneely & Calico Jack, Pint & Dale and Schooner Time.
Historical re-enactors will be on hand to celebrate Dorchester’s patriots from the War of 1812, with a Vigilant Crew encampment and other re-enactors.
Saturday evening, ticket holders are invited to join the captains and crews of the vessels for an Eastern Shore Dinner at the Cambridge Yacht Club. For additional information and to purchase tickets, go to www.richardsonmuseum.org or call 410-221-1871.
There will be a free jam session back at Long Wharf Park after dinner.
The Cambridge Schooner Rendezvous honors the past lifestyles and traditions of these vessels that not only worked the Bay and its tributaries but engaged in trade as far away as South America. Among the event’s sponsors is the Richardson Maritime Museum. For more information, call 410-221-1871 or www.cambridgeschoonerrendezvous.com
“This is a unique opportunity to see these majestic ships up close,” said Jane Devlin, chairman of the 2013 Cambridge Schooner Rendezvous. “We welcome all to join us at the Rendezvous this year to celebrate and learn more about our maritime past, as well as our future possibilities as a waterfront town.”
Each year, the Rendezvous offers Dorchester youth sails on one of the several schooners, which will begin docking here as early as Wednesday night.
Several hundred children will be given the opportunity to experience a part of the vast sailing heritage of the Chesapeake Bay Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.
For more information and a complete schedule of events, go to www.cambridgeschoonerrendezvous.com.