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!

Jul 252015

Let’s repeat three words. LARGEST. SAILING. SALEM. Our seaport community was a key player in the early days of this country’s maritime exploration and trading. And it’s nice to see that our connection to the water continues as more than 400 junior sailors from around the country are expected to participate in the 2015 United States Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) Optimist Dinghy New England Championship in Salem, Aug. 4-6 from Winter Island.

SailingThis is the largest junior sailing regatta in the United States, with sailors between the ages of 9 – 14. You noticed we didn’t say “sailors” to qualify the reference. These young people are every part of the word.

As an example just look at Sail Salem, which is the local host. It offers an educational program for children that promotes positive life skills and values through the sport of sailing. Founded in 2008, Sail Salem has introduced sailing to over 1,000 children from Salem and surrounding towns.

And it’s not just a one-time summer thing. Children have grown up through the program, from beginner, to intermediate sailor, to counselor in training, to sailing coach. The majority of a junior instructors are former students of Sail Salem.

According to Sail Salem, “Lessons are conducted in Salem Harbor off Winter Island to bring the love of sailing to many children who would not have had the opportunity to be on a boat.”

Adults are also encouraged to sail and evening lessons for all levels are available throughout the summer.

No wonder the 2015 Regatta is being held here. Previous competitions have been held in Newport, Rhode Island, and Portland, Maine

What does this have to do with the Downtown District, which is what we usually talk about? We expect a sizable percentage of those 400 sailors and families to explore Salem either before or after the regatta. We would like them to feel welcome. Spectators interested in watching the races from the water will find regatta tours at Sea Shuttle and Mahi Mahi Harbor Cruises.  Charter boats are available through McLaughlin Boat Works and Zim Sailing. Regatta accommodations options can be found at

One other thing. Sail Salem is still looking for volunteers to help with some of the on-land activities. Contact Pat Connolly-Atkins at if you would be interested in helping.

Sail Salem and the 2015 USODA New England Championship Regatta are sponsored by Cabot Wealth Management.

Complete regatta information can be found at

Nov 012014

Halloween has come and gone, but Salem does not roll up the sidewalks. We move on to the next big event, which in the case of this weekend, harkens not to our “witchy” past, but our maritime history. Salem’s first annual Downrigging Weekend is set for November 1 & 2.

The Essex county sailing community marks the end of the sailing season with this two-day event. And you benefit!!! Half-price public sails on the schooners Thomas Lannon, Ardelle, and Fame and downrigging demonstrations aboard Friendship are just some of the elements of this festival.

  • The Thomas Lannon is a beautiful representation of a turn-of-the-century Gloucester fishing schooner.
  • The Ardelle is a representation of the handsome and seaworthy pinky schooners that dominated the fisheries in the 1820-1840 period.
  • The Fame is a representation of the Salem privateer that captured the first prizes of the War of 1812.

Downrig_Flyerabc_1Inspired by the Sultana Downrigging Weekend, the Salem Downrigging Weekend is a celebration of not only the end of the sailing season, but also a tip of the sailor’s cap to maritime culture, wooded boats and the sailing heritage of the Essex county.

The Captains of the Fame, Ardelle & Thomas Lannon, along with the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Essex National Heritage Area are partnering together to offer this weekend of activities – both on land and sea.

There will be 6 public sails, 6 live demonstrations, 2 films, 3 Q&A sessions with captains, ship tours and more! Public sails require a reservation and fee, but all other activities are free and open to the public.

Then you can follow-up your stint on the water at Finz Restaurant from 7-10pm on Saturday night for drinks, free appetizers, music, raffles and plenty of salty sailing wisdom.

Schedule of Events

  • Make sail reservations online for all vessels via the Schooner Fame website
  • Please make a note of the individual trip times (see below) for each vessel. When making a reservation, choose the reservation time that matches the vessel you’d like to sail.
  • Fame sails: 10:30am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm.
  • Ardelle sails: 11:30am, 2:00pm.
  • Lannon sails: 4:30pm.

Saturday, November 1st

  • 10:30 – 4:30pm. public sails aboard Fame, Ardelle, Thomas Lannon.
  • 11am – 4pm. Friendship open for public visitation.
  • 11am – live demonstration aboard Friendship.
  • 12:30pm – free screening of the Thomas Lannon movie, plus q&a session with captain.
  • 2:30pm – live demonstration aboard Friendship.
  • 4:30pm – free screening of the Fame movie, plus q&a session with captain.
  • 7pm – 10pm. “downrig or die” evening event at Finz Restaurant.

Sunday, November 2nd

  • 11am – splicing workshop aboard Fame.
  • 12pm – Ardelle downrigging demonstration.
  • 1pm – Lannon downrigging demonstration.
  • 2pm – Friendship downrigging demonstration. q&a session with captain on the ongoing preservation and maintenance program for Friendship.

All vessels will be docked at the Salem Maritime National Historic site (173 Derby Street) or Pickering Wharf Marina (23 Congress Street). Free film screenings will be held in St. Joseph Hall, 2nd floor. (160 Derby Street). Visit for the complete schedule and updated information.