Ahoy! Greenport Maritime Festival returns this weekend

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOS | The Coast Guard barque Eagle tied up in Greenport.

There may be no shivering of timbers or 16 men on a dead man’s chest, but Greenport will be all about ships and the sea this weekend during the 23rd annual Maritime Festival, which will feature tall ships, antique boats and iceboats.

A flotilla of tall ships sailed past Bug Light in Orient and into Greenport Harbor Thursday aftenoon. Here for the festival are the privateer Lynx, a replica of a historic ship from the War of 1812; the U.S. Coast Guard’s barque Eagle and Zaida, one of the vessels in the Picket Patrol, which kept a lookout for enemy vessels during World War II.

The Maritime Festival is a fundraiser for the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation.

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Lynx was one of six vessels that sailed into Greenport Harbor over Memorial Day weekend in this year’s Tall Ships Challenge. It is also visiting ports along the East Coast to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

The 114-ton Lynx, launched in 2001 in Rockport, Maine, is an interpretation of the original, built in 1812 by Thomas Kemp in Fell’s Point, Md. — the same place the ship that inspired Pride of Baltimore II was launched.

The current Lynx is operated by a not-for-profit educational foundation based in Newport Beach, Calif. It was hired to train the cast and crew for the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

The 122-foot square top-sail schooner will hold daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Monday.

In addition to ship tours, there will be “sailaways” through the harbor will that will allow visitors to experience sailing on a tall ship and help the crew hoist the sails and steer the ship. Sailaways aboard Lynx will take place between 3 and 5 p.m. Friday through Monday.

Tickets for ship tours are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 3 to 12. Sailaway tickets are $65 for adults, $55 for seniors and active military and $35 for children ages 4 to 12.

Sailing tours from Mitchell Park Marina on schooner Samanthe will also be available on Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

Eagle is a German-made tall ship built in 1936 that was taken as a reparation by the U.S. following World War II. The 295-foot ship then sailed to its current homeport in New London, Conn., where it acts as a training vessel. Russell Drumm, author of “The Barque of Saviors: The History of the Eagle,” will talk about his book and sign copies Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Front Street.

Zaida, which was owned by George Ernest Ratsey, was used during the 1940s in the Picket Patrol — a part of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary made up of motor boats, yachts and other small craft. Mr. Ratsey was the great-grandfather of Greenport residents Jane Ratsey Williams and her brother Colin Ratsey.

Zaida is one of the last remaining yachts from the all-volunteer Picket Patrol — known as the “Hooligan Navy” — that patrolled the waters off of Long Island during the second World War.

Jack Fisher, 90, a resident of Peconic Landing in Greenport and a former member of the Hooligan Navy, has been selected as grand marshal for the festival’s opening parade, which steps off at 11 a.m. Saturday and heads south down Main Street and west on Front Street.

The traditional Land and Sea reception, sponsored by Greenport Harbor Brewery, will open the festival Friday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. at the East End Seaport Museum. Tickets are $30 each; $25 for museum members.

The Greenport Classic Yacht Regatta, as part of the Woodenboat Magazine series and sponsored by the not-for-profit group Sail Greenport and S.T. Preston & Son Chandlers, will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. in Gardiners Bay.

On Sunday there will be a dory race, as well as snapper-fishing and chowder contests. The musical group Dunegrass will give a live performance in Mitchell Park from 1 to 3 p.m.

Throughout the two-day festival, 35 classic boats and iceboats — many antique — will be on display in the park. There will also be various street events as well as Captain Kidd’s Craft Alley, Kings of the Coast pirate shows and a Mitchell Park treasure chest.

Cruises to Long Beach Bar “Bug” Lighthouse are scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. each day of the festival. Last year was the first time in about a decade that the lighthouse was open to the public. The structure was built in 1990 to replace the original Bug Light, so named for the insect-like appearance of its spindly steel legs. That building was destroyed by arsonists on July 4, 1963.

The Greenport Maritime Festival will conclude Sunday with raffle drawings in Mitchell Park.

All proceeds from the festival will offset East End Seaport’s costs to maintain the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse.
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