Gloucester and the Schooner Festival

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Mon 3 Sep 2012 11:00

Position           42:36.63N 070:39.41W

Date                1200 Monday 3 September 2012


Plans are variable to fit the circumstances.  Having managed by default to get an excellent position in the anchorage and then realising that we could stay for the weekend and enjoy the annual Schooner Festival there was really no other suitable course.


During Thursday the anchorage rapidly filled up and we were treated to that most enjoyed of a all cruiser occupations; watching other people anchor and make a muck of it.  There but for the grace of God has nothing to do with it; rather more of the I’m all right Jack has it.


A notably unflustered effort came from the work boat style cruiser ‘Peter Henry’ who arrived without fuss and with an eye on the forecast put two anchors down.



The owners Cate and Deaken Banks it turned out are experiences sailing cruisers having crossed both the Atlantic and the Pacific under sail.  Currently they are working on their 50 foot steel hulled sailing boat conveniently ashore in their garden.  It was great to meet them and heir friends Carol and Jay with their steel double ender Gandalf.  Carol and Jay had direct experience of piracy in the Arabian Gulf and have bullet holes to prove it.  Some interesting yarns were told.  Cate and Deaken were able to give us lots of good advice as to how to get the best out of the weekend.


Over Friday and Saturday the harbour filled with schooners of all sizes in preparation for the actual parade of sail on Sunday.  



A rising wind provided entertainment and the rescue of an unattended yacht that took itself off dragging its anchor through the other boats and gave all of the yachties on hand great fun in rescuing it.



The use of inflatable dinghies on each side meant that no damage was done to anything whilst I got the plumb job of getting the engine started and motoring it back to a mooring to await its owners – “Where has our boat gone?”.  They did not seem unduly concerned and no doubt will continue to anchor on a bit of rope and the sort of anchor that you get as a gift in a Christmas cracker.


Saturday night saw the Parade of Lights, think village carnival but with boats as floats, followed by a spectacular fireworks display, all enjoyed from our grandstand seats aboard.



The Parade of Sail was a wonderful example of organised chaos with the schooners in their correct order ably assisted by a flotilla of small spectator boats, our dinghy selves included, trying to stay out of the way and failing.  One guy even managed to take his dog for the ride.



The schooners of course were a magnificent sight.






Monday morning, Labor Day and a public holiday saw the anchorage empty rapidly with both spectators and participants leaving to make their way back to home ports.


One bonus sighting for us was the replica ship Bounty which had been a weekend aattaction, leaving the harbour under full sail.


The inflatable is a bit of give away but nevertheless an amazing sight



With the schooner in the background there is the making a great painting