Camden Windjammer Festival celebrates maritime heritage

By Susan Mustapich | Sep 05, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich The Camden Windjammer Festival took place Sept. 1 through 3 in Camden Harbor with at least 20 windjammers visiting the harbor and open for tours.

CAMDEN — The Camden Windjammer Festival took place Sept. 1 through 3, with maritime displays and crafts on the Public Landing, a lobster crate race, Build a Boat Contest, a pirate invasion, music, dance, fireworks and many windjammers visiting the harbor and open for tours.

The festival is an annual celebration of Camden’s maritime heritage and working waterfront traditions, organized by the town's Parks and Recreation Department.

On Sept. 1, the Maine Windjammer Association presented Capt. Jim Sharp with its Lifetime Appreciation Award at the Harbor Park stage, just before the Schooner Bum Talent Show got under way.

Sharp has been part of the schooner world since the 1950s, and was one of the early members of the Maine Windjammer Association during the time he owned the Stephen Taber and Adventure. He has devoted himself to rebuilding more than 30 vessels and showcasing the coast of Maine as a schooner captain. In 2009, he and his wife, Meg Sharp, came out of retirement to renovate the old Snow Shipyard property in Rockland to create the Sail, Power & Steam Museum and Children’s Museum.

The Lobster Crate Race saw 44 young contestants run a fun and competitive race, with the three top winners covering around 300 crates each. The race was sponsored by Camden National Bank employees. CNB employees built the lobster crate run the evening of Sept. 1, and staffed the race Sept. 2, registering contestants, timing and scoring, and wrapping those who took at dip in the cold water in comfy beach towels they could take home.

A new Build a Boat Contest featured the opportunity for teams of youth and skilled mentors to build Optimist sailboats, and then participate in a fun paddle race in the sailboat hulls in Camden Harbor. Four intrepid teams pushed off Sept. 3 into a chilly Camden Harbor in their Optimist sailboat hulls, which had been nailed, seamed and sealed just the day before.

In a departure from past Build A Boat races, none of the boats sank immediately or after slowly taking on water, and all contestants remained dry. The contestants were confident, regardless of how their boats handled. While some took off on a straight course, others got turned around, yet were steadfast while learning how to steer and coordinate their paddling.

Several key sponsors made Build A Boat possible, this year: EBS Building Supplies provided the plywood, Bench Dogs cut the hull components from the plywood on its Computer Numerical Control machine, and the SIKA Corp. provided the sealants. Adventure Advertising assisted with converting the boat plans for the CNC machine, and Jim and Meg Sharp offered all of the teams a place to finish out the masts and final touches on their Optis at the Sail, Power & Steam Museum.

The Pirates of the Dark Rose encamped at Harbor Park all weekend, and on Sept. 3, invaded Camden Harbor in their boat, Must Roos.

Throughout the three-day festival, Sharp and Camden Harbormaster Steve Pixely kept up a lively narration on the public address system at the town landing. In what is said to be a tradition, Pixely had "The Wreck of the Hesperus," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow read aloud by Camden Hills Regional High School student and harbor assistant Matt Nickerson, and himself read "Cremation of Sam McGee," by Robert W. Service.

Capt. Jim Sharp announced the arrival and departure of windjammers, daysailers and boats of all types with a wealth of interesting details Sept. 1 at the Camden Windjammer Festival. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
At least 20 windjammers visited Camden Harbor Sept. 1 through 3 at the Camden Windjammer Festival, with many offering tours of the historic vessels. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
From left, Ward, age 9, aka Captain Hook and Grant, age 7, aka Croc, paddle their brand new Optimist sailboat hull Happily Ever After in the Build A Boat Race in Camden Harbor Sept. 3, winning "best decorated." (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Four intrepid teams paddled off into Camden Harbor in their newly constructed Optimist sailboat hulls Sept. 3. The boats were nailed, seamed and sealed the day before. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
It was all or nothing for William Rice of Massachusetts, who won first place in the Camden Windjammer Festival crate race Sept. 2, running across 312 crates in 2 minutes. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Lucas Drinkwater of Standish took second place in the Camden Windjammer Festival crate race, crossing 307 crates in 2 minutes. He has twice won the crate race in prior years. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Destiny Turner ran a full 2 minutes over 193 crates in the Lobster Crate Race at the Camden Windjammer Festival Sept. 2. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Robbie Fawcett ran for a minute and 59 seconds, traveling over 234 crates during the Lobster Crate Race at the Camden Windjammer Festival Sept. 2. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
In a competitive Lobster Crate Race Sept. 2 at the Camden Windjammer Fesitval, Britta Denny ran for a full 2 minutes over 190 crates. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Charlie Moss flew over 234 crates in 53 seconds before taking a dip in the harbor during the Lobster Crate Race at the Camden Windjammer Festival Sept. 2. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Pirates of the Dark Rose encamped at Camden Harbor Park Sept. 2 and 3, entertaining with puppet shows, face-painting, duels and an invasion, complete with cannon fire.. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Must Roos sailed into Camden Harbor Sept. 3 under the British flag, with some pirates dressed in disguise, before raising their pirate flag and invading Harbor Park at the Camden Windjammer Festival. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Pirates of the Dark Rose invade Camden Harbor Sept. 3 in the Must Roos, beside the windjammer Mary Day, with cannons blasting. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
A duel between British soldiers and pirates culminated the invasion of Camden Harbor by the Pirates of the Dark Rose Sept. 3 at the Camden Windjammer Festival. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Nautical Dog Show returned to the Camden Windjammer Fesitval Sept. 3 by popular demand, with an obstacle course,  costume contest, and best tricks, all presented by P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The winning contestant in the Nautical Dog Show costume contest carried netting full of fish Sept. 3 at the Camden Windjammer Festival. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Diane and Dennis Vanpelt of Lincolnville brought basset hound Primrose in her mermaid outfit and Bernese mountain dog Boomer in his pirate gear to the nautical dog costume contest at the Camden Windjammer Festival Sept. 3. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
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