Celebrate Maritime Heritage at Gloucester Maritime Rendezvous 

June 22, 2023 / History/Maritime, Things to Do & See

Described by Gloucester Maritime Executive Director Michael DeKoster as a “once-in-a-lifetime” event, the Gloucester Maritime Rendezvous promises to be a “can’t miss” event of the summer! Enjoy sailing on historic Gloucester Harbor aboard one of eight signature schooners, including four visiting majestic schooners and Gloucester’s own iconic schooner fleet. Experience deck tours with the crews and witness the excitement of Dory Races that have been ongoing between two sister cities for more than 71 years! 

Starting Thursday, July 6th, running through Sunday, July 9th, Gloucester Maritime Rendezvous packs four days of invitation-only schooner visits from Nova Scotia, Florida, Baltimore, and Salem as well as deck tours, sails, and dory races that are sure to please all who attend. 

Let’s further explore this summer event and how you can make the most of it during your time in Gloucester, Massachusetts. 

Schooner Adventure vessel with sails raised, view with flags from the side.

What is the Gloucester Maritime Rendezvous? 

The Gloucester Maritime Rendezvous is a four-day celebration of maritime history that allows visitors and community members alike to experience multiple historic sailing vessels and an international rowing event 71 years in the making.

In addition to touring and sailing visiting schooners and the local Gloucester schooner fleet, visitors will have the opportunity to watch the historic International Dory Races between Gloucester’s finest rowers and their counterparts from Nova Scotia. 

With the expert planning of the International Dory Race Committee, onlookers can experience the thrill of the Dory Races from the shoreline near the Harbormaster and the Coastguard Station. (Visit Maritime Gloucester for more information on viewing points and where to watch the action.) 

The Story Behind The Dory Races

For more than 70 years Gloucester rowers have taken part in the annual International Dory Race competition – held in Gloucester each July and in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in September. This home-and-away series has become a favorite event that sailing and rowing enthusiasts look forward to every year. 

Local Gloucester rowers compete to become the best in our city. The winning crew then competes in a final rowing competition on Saturday morning during the Maritime Gloucester Rendezvous weekend against the best rowers from our sister city of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. 

Not only are these races a symbol of our shared heritage as historic fishing communities on the North Atlantic, but this year we also celebrate the 400+ Anniversary of Gloucester, Massachusetts. 

Dory Races

What To Do & See 

Maritime Gloucester Rendezvous has a complete schedule of events on its site for specific times and locations of races and schooners in the harbor. Here are just a few of the highlights so you can best plan your weekend enjoying what can only be described as an exciting and postcard-perfect event. 

Greet the Fleet

Kicking off the weekend the Rendezvous plans to (weather and wind permitting) hold a Greet the Fleet when all vessels arrive at the harbor. During this breathtaking event, all schooners will greet our counterparts out on the water and will sail into the harbor together. Cannons will announce the arrival from Stage Fort Park and visitors will be delighted with a 180-degree opportunity to photograph these awe-inspiring vessels with their sails unfurled as they enter the harbor. 

Deck Tours 

Each day during the Rendezvous, visitors will have a chance to take free deck tours of the schooners including; the Columbia from Panama City, Florida; Pride of Baltimore II, from Baltimore, Maryland; Adventure, from Gloucester, MA, and When & If from Salem, Massachusetts. 

Set Sail 

For those who would like to sail aboard one of the schooners (or several of them), click the links to each schooner below and book your ticket. Each sail varies in time, cost, and leaves from specific docks. Please see the links for tickets and the dock location for each schooner. 

Please be sure to check Maritime Gloucester Rendezvous for any chances in location or times for sails. 

Museum Visits 

The Maritime Gloucester Museum, its popular Maritime Science Education Center will be open during the weekend for visitors to explore the history and see exhibitions. 

There will be demonstrations and museum exhibits to explore, as well as food trucks and places just to sit and enjoy the sails and vessels. Be sure to bring your camera! 

International Dory Races 

Arrive at Solomon Jacobs Park to get your viewing spot for the International Dory Races that will delight and amaze even the hardiest of land lovers. The races take place Saturday morning from 10 am – 12 pm. 

Schooner Gam 

To wrap up an amazing weekend on the water, the visiting and local fleet of schooners will hold a Schooner Gam Sunday, July 9th from 10 am – 1 pm. Get your tickets for sailing or enjoy from the shore. This will be one of the last events of the weekend and an appropriate way to say farewell to our visiting vessels. 

Join us for celebrating the 400+ Anniversary of Gloucester and a long tradition of maritime sailing with this must-attend event of the summer.