Skipjacks, Schooners, and Ironman MD at City Council

Cambridge Seal

CAMBRIDGE — Sept. 26 is the day that Skipjack races come to the Cambridge waterfront.

When the signal cannon goes off, some 14-20 skipjacks will sail off, demonstrating their traditional beauty and dexterity in the Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race. The number of participating skipjacks is greater than last year as the event gains in popularity. Lou Hyman, the committee chairman, sought the noise variance and permission for the cannon but it probably also covers the raucous cheers of the crowd rooting for the hometown favorite, The Nathan. The council also unanimously approved waiving fees for visiting boats. The event will take place at Long Wharf from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Just a month later on Oct. 23-25, some 18-20 schooners will arrive for the 10th Annual Cambridge Schooner Rendezvous. It seems a schooner rendezvous is like a class reunion; you show up, you show off. The show will go on with re-enactors present to make the past come alive.

Schooners have been around for 400 years, a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. The mainmast aft is taller than the foremast. (I’m just throwing those terms out because I just learned them and I want to do a little showing off myself.) Schooners were popular with New England fishermen, trading companies, and pirates.

Jane Devlin of the Richardson Maritime Museum asked the City Council for free dockage for registered vessels, permission to erect a tent, use of electricity and trash cans, allow vendors, and barricades for traffic control. She also sought a noise variance to cover music, and permission to serve beer and wine. The city has a history with this event and approved all the requests. We will be able to board the schooners and get more intelligent explanations of their rigging and functions than provided here.

The Ironman Maryland also comes in October. The race will take place on Oct. 3, but the 2,000 athletes will start arriving earlier. Gerry Boyle, who heads the massive operation, asked permission for a variety of needs. He asked for the use of Great Marsh Park and Long Wharf, putting up a tent, changes in parking patterns, and race route changes. He expects an army of 47 staff members as opposed to last year’s 37. Also, the medal this year will have the image of the Choptank Lighthouse. Two thousand athletes, their families, friends, and other fans of the Ironman will mean crowds and excitement; Gerry Boyle promises a more appealing, more impressive spectacle in this moneymaker for Cambridge.

Smaller scale events also received permits and noise variances. Dorchester Recovery Initiative will hold a celebration, “Recovery Works, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m on Sept. 26 at 208 Sunburst Highway. Noise variance granted.

The Dorchester County Department of Social Services is holding their first Family Fest on Oct. 24 and requested city permission for use of electrical outlets and also a noise variance. Both were approved by council.

In other business not related to celebrations, the council failed to approve changes in Ordinance 1054, an ordinance governing the requirements for home care siting in residential areas. The ordinance went back to Planning and Zoning for more work. The council also heard a first reading of an ordinance regulating dumpsters and pods (ordinance 1055). That will also require more work before it receives council approval.

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