Chop­tank Her­itage Skip­jack Race set for Sept. 22

Dorchester Star - - NEWS - By NATE NKUMBU nnkumbu@ches­pub.com

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

10 a.m.

“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.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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.

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