The annual, and this year the 50th, rendezvous and races of the Friendship Sloop Society will take place July 22 – 24th, 2010 in Rockland, ME. These lovely gaff rigged sloops have a long history in Maine and an enthusiastic group of Friendship sloop owners convenes annually for fun and racing.
Races take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday inside Rockland harbor, and by far, the best place to watch is from the Rockland Breakwater.
The lovely gaff rigged Friendship sloop has no real birth, but was gradually developed around 1880 from the fishing and lobstering needs of the men of Muscongus Bay on the Maine coast. For many years, these easy to handle boats, were used by fishermen for daily catch. The FSS explains where the name came from, “There are many names that are remembered as builders: Carters, McLains, Collomores, Winchenbachs, Morses and others but Wilbur Morse’s name comes up as father of the Friendship Sloop because of the large number that come from his shop. It is said a sloop was launched every two or three months. Because of Wilbur’s mass production and his shop being in Friendship, this great sloop acquired the name of the town he was building in.”
Today, many of the sloops are privately owned, primarily along the East Coast, but some as far as the Pacific (that make the annual trek to Rockland!). A few operate daily sails for passengers on the coast of Maine in the towns of Boothbay Harbor, Belfast, Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and a few others.