Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race set for Sept. 22
CAMBRIDGE — The 22nd annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race will be held on the Choptank River in Cambridge at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22.
The event, hosted by the Dorchester Skipjack Committee, will feature a boat parade, races and other fun events for people of all ages. The race is free, and will feature several skipjacks that are more than 60 years old as well as a few that are more than 100 years old.
The race viewing area is at Long Wharf Park, at the foot of High Street in Cambridge. Grounds open at 8:30 a.m.
The race is a part of the preparation for oyster season, and the winner captain will have their name engraved on the Heritage Cup Trophy, which was established by the 1880 Bank of Cambridge. They also will receive a smaller version of the cup.
The other boat will receive money for boat preservation and maintenance.
Choptank Heritage Skipjack Racing chairperson Louis Hyman said the event allows the community and the racers the opportunity to celebrate about a 130 years of tradition with the oyster harvesting season starting in October. He said more than a century ago, thousands of skipjacks cut through the waves, but now there is just about 25 skipjacks left.
Most of the boats will be docking the day before the race. The morning of the race, the boat parade will happen at 9 a.m. with the race commencing at about
“People will be able to see the entirety of the race from Long Wharf Park,” he said. “We will have a festival at the parking lot — food trucks, and alpacas from Outstanding Dreams Alpaca Farm of Preston,” he said. “Big Brother, Big Sister organization, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and 10 exhibits will be there.”
In 1997, Hyman and others like him started the event to bring back some pride and to preserve a long tradition that is native to the Bay from being slowly lost to time. Saturday’s annual race and the Labor Day race at Deal Island are the only two remaining skipjack races.
The host skipjack is the Nathan of Dorchester. Up to 12 ships will be racing along the Choptank River, depending upon the wind and weather.
For more information, call 410-228-7141 or visit www.skipjack-nathan.org.
The Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race will be held Saturday, Sept. 22, in Cambridge. The free event is open to the public, and the race will start and end by Long Wharf.