Nov 072015

Expect to see today a different Salem than you saw last month as we harken back to our “other” historical claim to fame as a maritime power. You are invited to join the Essex county sailing community as it marks the end of the sailing season with Salem’s second annual Downrigging Festival today beginning at 10am.

NPS downThe day-long event features four public sails, an assortment of maritime talks, live demonstrations, wooded boats, ship tours aboard FRIENDSHIP and more! Public sails require a reservation and fee, but all other activities are free to the public.

A better day could not have been selected. Visibility is expected to be 10 miles with one foot waves, good breezes and temperatures in comfortable low 60s.

All vessels will be docked at Salem Maritime National Historic Site (173 Derby Street) or Pickering Wharf Marina (23 Congress Street).

Participants include Schooner FAME, Schooner ARDELLE, Schooner ADVENTURE, Essex National Heritage Area, and Salem Maritime National Historic Site.


Schedule of Events

  • 10am – Friendship opens for public visitation
  • 10:30am – A Presentation on Baker’s Island and Essex National Heritage Area with Greg Guckenburg and Mary Hillery and Captain Ed Wolfe. 160 Derby Street, 2nd Floor.
  • 11am – Open ship and demonstrations (each half hour) aboard FRIENDSHIP12:00PM – FAME Public Sail (90 minutes)
  • 12pm – An illustrated talk on the current downrigging of FRIENDSHIP
  • 12:30pm – A conversation with maritime photographer Leighton O’Conner. 160 Derby Street, 2nd Floor.
  • 1pm – ARDELLE Public Sail (90 minutes)
  • 2pm – FAME Public Sail (90 minutes)
  • 2pm – An illustrated talk on the current downrigging of FRIENDSHIP
  • 2:30pm – Steve and Jenny Sail for a Cancer Cure, a Conversation with S/V Ahava. 160 Derby Street, 2nd Floor.
  • 3pm – ARDELLE Public Sail (90 minutes)
  • 4:30pm – A Presentation by Captain Stefan Edick, Schooner ADVENTURE. 160 Derby Street, 2nd Floor.

To purchase tickets for public sails ($10 for adults, $5 for children 13 and under) aboard FAME or ARDELLE online go to or call the Schooner FAME at (978) 729-7600.

Visit for the complete schedule and updated information.

Come see the Salem of the sea!

Sep 272015

In the midst of the mayhem & madness that swirls around Salem in October for Haunted Happenings, there will be an homage to Salem’s other historical claim to fame— seafaring adventures as the National Park Service will present a free outdoor showing of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World  Oct. 3rd at 7pm on Derby Wharf.

MasterThe stage for the film is the vast ocean. The adventure is high. And the film will be projected on the exterior of the historic Pedrick Store House!

Noted film reviewer Roger Ebert wrote “Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is an exuberant sea adventure told with uncommon intelligence; we’re reminded of well-crafted classics before the soulless age of computerized action. Based on the beloved novels of Patrick O’Brian, it re-creates the world of the British navy circa 1805 with such detail and intensity that the sea battles become stages for personality and character.”

Ebert went on to say “The film centers on the spirits of two men, Capt. Jack Aubrey [Russell Crowe] and ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin [Paul Bettany]. Readers of O’Brian’s 20 novels know them as friends and opposites — Aubrey, the realist, the man of action; Maturin, more intellectual and pensive.”

Here is a taste of the film from the 2003 trailer

And what about our own resident-in-harbor tall ship? The Friendship of Salem, will also be open for special evening hours from 5-6:30pm, just to help you get into the maritime mood.

As this is an outside, free event, definitely bring lawn chairs, blankets, and snacks— but NO alcoholic beverages allowed.

Be there a rainstorm or a squall? Then the film will hoist anchor and be shown in the NPS auditorium at 2 New Liberty Street, Salem. For more info call the Visitor Center at 978-740-1650.

There is one other thing to take note of, the last line on the NPS Cinema by the Sea Facebook page “Visit us on this very special evening to find out how Salem and Master and Commander are linked!”

Sea-faring action. Complex character studies. Free admission. And a mystery. Who could ask for more on a Saturday night in Salem?