The Gloucester Schooner Festival celebrates the contribution of the fishing schooner to the history of Gloucester and of New England. The events feature the last remaining of these great old vessels as well as modern representations. Square riggers such as PICTON CASTLE, GAZELA and FRIENDSHIP have been known to participate as well as up to two dozen schooners of all shapes and sizes.
On Sunday, September 2 they will form up for a Parade of Sail and then head out to compete in the Mayor's Race for the Esperanto Cup, a trophy from the first International Fishermen's Races sailed in 1920. Join us on the Schooner FAME as we depart from Salem for a 5-hour adventure. We will join the other schooners and tall ships off Eastern Point and sail the first leg of the race before returning to Salem in the afternoon.
On our way toward Gloucester, we'll be cruising along the "Gold Coast" of Massachusetts and expect to see such highlights as:
- Baker's Island
- The Misery Islands
- Baker's Island Lighthouse
- Eastern Point Lighthouse
What Is Not Included?
- Lunch is included. Beer, wine, soft drinks, water and assorted snacks are for sale on board at reasonable prices.
- Guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and sandwiches, but no alcohol can be brought on board due to state regulations.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is recommended to get your spot on this annual event. Tickets can be purchased in advance with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
- Is there an age limit for these sails?
- No, everyone can sail and we offer a reduced price ticket for children 13 and under. All children are required to have a ticket. Toddlers are welcome, but since this is a 5-hour trip parents should determine whether this event is appropriate for their children. Parents are strongly urged to keep toddlers from trying to walk by themselves on board, as they can easily lose their balance on a moving boat. Please keep in mind that strollers are not allowed on board the boat but can be safely left on the dock.
- Do you really raise the sails and turn the motor off?
- YES! Giving our passengers the experience of living in the Age of Sail is what we're all about. We try to only use the engine for about five minutes at each end of the trip to help us get into and out of our slip. However, since we can't predict the wind on this day, there is some potential for motoring so we can easily make our way back and forth from Gloucester.
- What will we see during the sail?
- We'll be heading "down east" to Gloucester to sail along with schooners from all over the East Coast. We'll be sailing in company with such vessels as American Eagle, Alabama, Harold Burnham's new schooner Ardelle, Liberty Clipper, Rachel B. Jackson, the historic Roseway, and the Thomas Lannon. En route, we'll be cruising past the beautiful coasts of Beverly Farms, Manchester, and Magnolia including Baker's Island, the Misery Islands, and of course the Baker's Island and Eastern Point Lighthouses.
- What happens if the weather doesn't cooperate?
- New England weather forecasts are not entirely reliable, so we don't usually cancel trips based solely on the forecast. The captain decides whether or not to sail very close to departure time. Thunderstorms, fog, rain, and/or winds in excess of 25 knots may cause a trip to be cancelled. If the Schooner Festival Sail is cancelled due to the weather, it may be rescheduled. All guests will be able to either reschedule for another trip (subject to availability) or receive a credit for a future event on board the schooner.
- What happens if it rains during the sail?
- You get wet! This happens very rarely, now that our captains can view radar images on their cell phones, but keep in mind that this is a schooner, not a cruise ship! There is limited space below decks and you will be out in the weather. So dress accordingly — on sunny days, bring a hat & sunscreen; on cool days, bring a sweatshirt; if there's a chance of rain, bring a hat and a rainslicker.
- Is the sail narrated?
- There is no formal narration during our sail, but you can expect the captain to give a talk about the exploits of the original Schooner Fame. The crew will also point out places of interest as we sail past. Our crew are very knowledgeable about the history of the Schooner Fame, Salem and the surrounding areas, and several of them actually helped to build the schooner. If you let them know you're interested, they'll talk your ear off! But if you prefer to relax and enjoy the view, we're not going to put a bullhorn in your ear.
- Is there a bathroom on board?
- Yes. It is below decks, accessible by descending a short ladder, so those with limited mobility may wish to do their business ashore before coming aboard. As on most traditional vessels, our bathroom uses a marine head, which is a bit different than a conventional toilet. Instructions are posted, but the crew will be happy to explain its operation.
- Is the schooner wheelchair accessible?
- We regularly accommodate people in wheelchairs on our sails, but please note the wheelchair cannot wheel directly onto the vessel. In order to get from the dock onto the boat and comfortably into your seat, our staff will need to assist you. If you have a wheelchair that folds or is light, we can actually seat you in your chair on board. For those with heavy electric wheelchairs, you will need to leave it on the dock. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please click on the "Contact SchoonerFame" for more information.
- Are food and drinks available during the sails?
- Lunch is included with this cruise. Lunch will consist of cold cuts to make your own sandwiches, as well as salads, soft drinks and something sweet for dessert like cookies. Additional food and drinks can be purchased on board. Snacks ($1), water and soda ($2), and beer and wine ($5) are available for purchase. Passengers are also welcome to bring their own food and soft drinks. However, coolers and alcoholic beverages may NOT be brought aboard. Please note that only cash is accepted on the boat.
- What should I wear?
- It's cooler out on the water, so bring a sweatshirt or windbreaker. High heels or dress shoes will be uncomfortable and potentially unsafe — we recommend sneakers, sandals, or boat shoes. It's also a good idea to bring your cameras, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Where can we park?
- There is free two-hour parking in the Pickering Wharf complex; metered parking on Derby Street; a municipal garage on the corner of Derby & Congress Streets; and an open lot for Pickering Wharf customers off Congress Street. In short, there is plenty of parking, but don't count on finding a spot right in front of our ticket booth. Allow time to find a parking space. Dropping off passengers at the ticket booth is often a good idea.
- Am I going to get seasick?
- Seasickness is rarely a problem on beamy schooners like Schooner Fame operating in protected waters close to shore. Nobody has ever gotten sick during one of our sails on the Salem Sound. However, those prone to motion sickness may wish to take precautions before boarding. We cannot officially advise you to take any medication, however!
- Can pregnant women attend the sail?
- Yes, expecting mothers are welcome to sail with us.
- Can I bring a pet?
- Not for this trip, due to the length of the event.
- Can I stow anything (eg, my backpack) during the sail?
- Unfortunately, there is limited storage space on board the boat, so we cannot store larger items for you. If you are bringing a snack, please note that coolers are not allowed.
- Is there shade on the boat?
- Once raised, the sails will definitely provide shade to one side of the boat at all times, but there is no covered section of the boat.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes, gift certificates are available and make a great gifts for any occasion! Please click “Contact SchoonerFame” if you’re interested in purchasing a gift certificate.
- Can I book a private charter sail?
- Yes, private sails are available. If you're interested in a private charter, please click “Contact SchoonerFame” to the left of the page to make a request!
- Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- All participants are required to have tickets for this event.
- Our boat is United States Coast Guard documented for a certain amount of passengers and we cannot exceed the capacity. This means that all passengers including infants and toddlers must have a ticket.
Launched in June 2003 from the H. A. Burnham Boatyard in Essex, MA, our new Schooner Fame offers public sails on historic Salem Sound, where pirates, privateers, East Indiamen and men of war have been making history for 400 years. The Schooner Fame sails up to three times daily from Memorial Day through September and then weekends only through Halloween from Pickering Wharf Marina in downtown Salem.
The Schooner Fame also offers summer camp sessions and is available for private charters. For more information about private charters, our camp programs, or to purchase Schooner Fame merchandise, please click on the "Contact SchoonerFame" link.