Great Provincetown Schooner Regatta
This four-day festival includes events for sailors, visitors, and spectators. Visitors may tour historic vessels, learn more about them, reserve a seat on a schooner, watch races from spectator boats and advantageous areas all about town. All events are open and free to the public except where noted.
Provincetown was the first great fishing port on the eastern seaboard, dating back as far as the Vikings. Many of the leading fishing vessels that plied the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans throughout America’s early maritime history called Provincetown home. Her skippers were well known for their skill and seamanship. At the height of the commercial fishing in the 19th century, Provincetown harbored as many as 100, 90-ton Schooners and 700 vessels. The port of Provincetown was also responsible for three times the catch of any other fishing port in New England.
The first Great Provincetown Schooner Race was held in 2002. Provincetown resident Captain John Bennett had been racing his Schooner Hindu in the Gloucester Schooner Festival and was inspired to organize a schooner gathering in his homeport. Although Bennett didn’t live to see his dream become reality, the committee he formed hosted the inaugural regatta that September in his honor.
The first event was such a success that its organizers were urged to carry on the tradition and further, to expand the event to other vessels, both historic and modern. The race became a regatta for schooners, catboats, other historic vessels and modern sailing yachts and small boats.
The first schooner race of the annual regatta runs a course from Gloucester to Provincetown, comemorating the Lipton Cup race of 1907won by Provincetown’s Rose Dorothea (despite a broken mast!) Sir Thomas J. Lipton, a sailing enthusiast and founder of the Lipton Tea Company, provided the trophy. The original one-of-a-kind silver cup currently resides in the Provincetown Public Library, which also houses a half-scale replica of the Rose Dorothea, constructed by local boat builder Francis “Flyer” Santos.
The mission of the regatta is to celebrate the role of the Great Atlantic fishing bank schooner in Provincetown’s maritime history while providing educational opportunities for residents and visitors to experience these historic vessels both in port and at sea. The regatta shares the story of Provincetown’s place in the traditional fishing industry as well as educates the younger generations about the days of Cape Cod’s past, when commerce and transportation truly “ran with the wind.”
- Monday, Sept. 2, 6:00pm: Captains’ Meeting for Fishermen’s Cup Challenge.
- Tuesday, Sept. 3, 6:00 – 7:00am. Fishermen’s Cup rolling start: schooners leave Gloucester Harbor for Provincetown.
- Wednesday, Sept. 4, 9:00am: Rhodes 19 Fishermen’s Series. Three races.
- All Day: Commercial schooners offer day sails
- 1:00-3:00pm: Schooner and catboat tours
- 7:00pm: Movie screening
- Thursday, Sept. 5, 8:00am: Captain’s Breakfast for the Long Point Schooner and Yacht Race & Cape Cod Catboat Race (Captains and Navigators only)
- 10:30am: Parade of Sail begins, All vessels. Provincetown Harbor
- 10:30am: Paint the Parade on MacMillan Pier Call (508) 349-7511 for details
- Noon: Long Point Schooner and Yacht Race begins. Cape Cod Catboat Race begins.
- Noon – 3:30pm
- Castle Hill “Paints the Race aboard the Captain John Boat. Artists, photographers and anyone interested in getting the best view are invited.
For more information, go to Great Provincetown Schooner Race website.