A new season is upon us and we are prepping the campus and the calendar with all sorts of opportunities! As Executive Directory, I am always amazed by the wonderful programs we offer and the great partners that we have who allow us to accomplish so much. The Sea Pocket Aquarium, our Working Waterfront and Pier, our educational programs and our exhibits are fantastic areas to explore and learn. But we also have fantastic partners and groups that make Maritime Gloucester so unique. The Gloucester Gig Rowers, Schooner Festival members, the Adventure, the Dive Locker, Large Pelagics, and local schools all make our world a special place to be and visit. But, with respect to all these fantastic groups, I offer a special acknowledgement to our partners Harold Burnham and Mary Kay Taylor and the Schooner Ardelle!

As someone who has spent a good amount of time on wooden boats, I can attest to the old adage that the best wooden boat is your friend’s wooden boat. That certainly is true for Maritime Gloucester with the Ardelle! Imagine a friend with a classic schooner who says that you can use it for your job or for fun, that they will maintain it for you and staff it when you want to go out, and when you are not using it they will take people on trips and give you part of the money they make. Sounds too good to be true? Normally I would agree. But that is exactly what the Ardelle partnership does for Maritime Gloucester each year.

Ardelle is the workhorse of our on-the-water programming. Last season she made 250 trips from Maritime Gloucester including 5 circumnavigations of Cape Ann. She visited Rockport, Essex, Thacher Island, Lanesville, Manchester, Salem, Boothbay Harbor Maine, and more. Over 1500 students participated in 57 educational sails aboard her on trips ranging from around the harbor to around Cape Ann. A fantastic and irreplaceable benefit of our school and summer programs is being able to take the participants out on the water to directly engage with what they are studying. They get to learn, explore, study and have fun in ways that would be radically different without the Ardelle.

Ardelle brings the community together and brings it to Maritime Gloucester. Seamanship Sunday Mornings is a new class that began last year. It taught seamanship skill to adults through hands-on courses in handling lines under strain, driving the vessel both under sail and power, anchoring, docking, reefing and a whole lot more. (BY THE WAY: It starts up again this month and the courses look better than ever, with traditional fishing methods, navigation, and ungrounding being taught.) Music nights aboard Ardelle included performances by Down Home Swing, Daisy Nell & Captain Stan and the Crabgrass Band, Marina Evans, and Headlands. Likewise, the regular sails featuring historical harbor tours with Justin Demetri were a great success and gave passengers a great perspective into the past and present lore of Cape Ann.

I don’t often single out a partner for acknowledgement on these pages. So many do so much to contribute to our mission. But having partners like the Ardelle and Harold and Mary Kay is a thing to be acknowledged. They raise countless dollars for other community charities and organizations through events, the gift of trunnel tickets, and donations made at community events, raffles, and auctions. And they raise thousands of dollars for Maritime Gloucester through their regular public sails and the charters they offer. I highly encourage you to take part in the activities aboard the Ardelle this summer. This summer for your event or family get together, consider booking a charter on the Ardelle. It is a great way to financially support Maritime Gloucester! Charters are on sale at pre-season prices on our website until this Sunday, so don’t hesitate to book online!

It is truly amazing to have a partner so dedicated to your mission and to helping you succeed. I think I speak for the entire Maritime Gloucester family when I say thank you. Here is to a fantastic upcoming season!


Michael De Koster, Executive Director