Rigging Elf, the classic racing yacht from 1888

…for the new season. Each fall, Captain Rick Carrion and volunteers remove and carefully store the mast, boom, bowsprit and topping lift,  then in spring – varnish and re-rig them all.  And Rick rigs those lines carefully, because once the 70 foot mast goes up in the air, the only way to change anything is to go up there in a bosun’s chair…….which is pretty tippy.

In the photo below, you can see the tall ship, Sultana towering over the scene. She is at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for a few weeks, offering educational workshops, visiting from her home port of Chestertown, MD. What you can’t see in the photo below are a few of the crew from Sultana, swimming and frolicking in the Miles River harbor.

A crowd gathered at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as Pete Mulally, President of Eastern Shore Flagpoles, showed up and set his enormous crane next to the dock. It took about 30 minutes for the crew to lift the mast into place and set it into Elf. It will take another day to fit everything into place. Finally, a shakedown cruise will happen early this week, to put all the sails up and sort everything out. They’ve got one week till the 2nd annual Elf Classic.

The ELf Classic is set for Saturday, May 19th, and features Elf, and 18 other classic yachts – you can see the list of registered yachts here. You can be guaranteed that this race will be beautiful, with 18+ gorgeous classic wooden yachts racing across the Chesapeake Bay.  

The race will be run in the style of the 1880’s featuring the nautical version of a “Le Mans start”. Captains will be rowing their dinghys to their vessels in Annapolis harbor from the Eastport Yacht Club at 9am, competing to be the first to raise their anchors, sails and get underway.

It will take some 6-7 hours to cross the Bay, and the in late afternoon, the captains finish the race by anchoring off the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, and rowing to shore to sign the race log at the bandstand on the museum’s grounds. Last year, some of the captains came up looking pretty sharp in yachting costumes. We can assume that in year 2 of the race, there will be some new twists.

Fomr more information on the Classic Yacht Restoration Guild and the Elf Classic, click here.

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~ by kbosin on May 12, 2012.

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