I post this as the race is approaching its finish; see live tracking at the bottom here.

Twenty-fours hours ago Baltimore-based Chock WYTL-65602 was leaving Annapolis to go on station as pin boat 1 . . . the west side of the starting gate.  Pin boat here takes on a whole new meaning.  For a Chock-sibling with a different mission, see bowsprite’s latest here.

Norfolk Rebel, currently itself transformed into a schooner and sailing, was the other pin boat.  Here the jaunty captain and crew relax as schooners arrive at the starting line midday yesterday.

Condor was our platform, dashing around trying to catch the arriving schooners as they plotted a “red-carpet” course toward the pin boats.  No offense to the smaller, class B boats . . . the faster ones . . . but we focused on the larger class A boats.  First in was A. J. Meerwald.  Links to many of the vessels can be found here for full info, but Meerwald is 84 years afloat.

Next across the red carpet . . . Sultana . . .

Lady Maryland . . . whom I sawsome years back in the sixth boro,

Some of the class B boats like the one in the distance . . . I never could identify.  Any help?  RORO is Rigel Leader.

Mystic Whaler and unidentified in background.

And the two vessels  (sort of) that started it all . . .  From l to r, 1916-launched, Tottenville NY-built Virgina  and Pride of Baltimore 2.

Kings Pointer . . .  Summerwind, a 1929 Alden schooner, and unidentified smaller vessels.

Anyone identify these?

Libertate.

A part of the field just minutes before the starter-cannon.

When a schooner races starts on a day with little wind, vessels crowd on all manner of sail, and yet . . . the “natives” on SUPs pass them.  I believe the schooner is Prom Queen, now vying for first across the finish line.

Mystic Whaler and Summerwind, with bulker Clipper Emperor in the distance.

Part of the field follows.  Notice the difference between the start of a schooner race and a tug race.

First Coast bypassed the schooners towing a barge and was already in Norfolk by the wee hours today.

The natives sat down on their boards and hung out at pin boat Chock,

as racers rocket south toward Norfolk.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Thanks to anyone who can identify some of the vessels I could not.

More from the race’s start tomorrow.

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