Tall Ships Set Sail for Inaugural City Dock Up Rigging Weekend Festival – Capital Gazette
The arrival of the Lynx tall ship, the annual harbinger of the spring boating season in Annapolis, has turned from a celebratory weekend into a festival.
The Annapolis Up Rigging Festival celebrates the schooner tour in May and adds tours of the Pride of Baltimore II, two smaller schooners and a sloop, all available for free tours, plus music, entertainment maritime art and activities for children. Organizers describe the festival as “an inaugural and hopefully annual event.”
Although the Up Rigging doesn’t begin until Friday, the Lynx stopped at City Dock on Tuesday afternoon and plans to begin offering tours Thursday, pending clearance from the U.S. Coast Guard, Capt. Sean Canniff said. .
The 122-foot schooner is the eponymous replica of an 1812 boat built to serve as a blockade runner, quickly evading British warships while ferrying goods and supplies out of Baltimore. The current Lynx was built in Rockport, Maine, in 2002, and now splits its time between Nantucket, Massachusetts, and St. Simons Island, Georgia.
“We always stop here on the way up and down. Annapolis has been a really good port for us,” Canniff said.
So good, in fact, that her current crew of 10 includes two former Anne Arundel County residents. In the fall, the Lynx contracts with the US Naval Academy to give midshipmen a 19th-century sailing experience, replacing an earlier partnership with the US Merchant Marine Academy. For $60 this weekend, civilians can also cosplay as they outrun the Brits, including a chance to fire the ship’s cannon on an evening cruise. Or, earthlings can board the ship for free while it is docked.
“Guests,” Canniff corrected, “We call them guests.” (At least one of his sailors prefers the term “Earthman”.)
Other ships welcoming guests aboard include the Pride II, the clipper built to replace Maryland’s iconic Ambassador ship that sank in 1986, killing three crew members. Tours will also be available aboard a 1958 sloop called The Easterner and Adventurer, a small 1984 Cherubuni schooner.
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At 2 p.m. Saturday, Mayor Gavin Buckley will be on hand to help commission the RV Marie Tharp, a newly refurbished steel polar expedition schooner owned by the Ocean Research Project, a non-profit organization based in Annapolis. . Once a bottle of choice whiskey has been smashed against the hull, the boat will set off to explore the Arctic and Antarctic coastlines, helping to measure the effects of climate change by mapping topographic changes.
Erik Evans, director of the Downtown Annapolis Partnership, was the lead organizer for Up Rigging, which came together in just three weeks. In the spirit of the annual autumn Sultana Down Rigging in Chestertown, Evans sought to balance a serious maritime education with family boating fun. Kids can build their own model ship (for a fee) and set sail in Susan Campbell Park, or decorate their own pirate headgear (for free) courtesy of Tattered Hatters.
“Adults love them too,” Evans said. “I guess you’ll end up seeing as many adults wearing hats as children.”
The singing of sea shanties has had a surprising renaissance during the pandemic thanks to a series of viral TikTok videos. Up Rigging spotlights two local enthusiasts of the genre: The Bilge Rats and Ship’s Company Chanteymen. The US Navy Band Brass Quintet and a cover of Jimmy Buffett were also part of the musical programming.
“We’ll have a real variety of nautical entertainment,” Evans said.
If the three-day festival is well received, Evans hopes Up Rigging will become an annual event, although he acknowledged that dock space is limited for visiting vessels.
“We are already working on how we can accommodate more tall ships next year,” Evans said.