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Dozens Of Sail Boats In The Inner Harbor For Good Cause

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- For more than a quarter century, a competition has been making waves up and down the East Coast--and the tradition continues this week.

The Parade of Sail is kicking off the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.

Marcus Washington with more on the race and the excitement.

They stretch across the Inner Harbor, giving a show and putting viewers in awe.

"At first, I thought we were just going to go on a tiny little boat, but then when I saw these, I got really excited," fifth grader Brittany Dunford said.

Dunford is just one of the many getting a sneak peak at the boats taking part in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, setting sail Thursday, following the Parade of Sail Wednesday night.

"I think it's going to look really neat because it's going to be near the end of the day--like afternoon--so it's a beautiful sunset and all the boats out in the sea," said fifth grader Sophia Shuman.

Once the race begins, they will travel 126 miles, beginning just south of the Bay Bridge near Annapolis and ending at the Thimble Shoal Tunnel near Hampton Roads, Virginia.

"It's good to see these old vessels still sailing and people that have the passion to keep her going. We need more of that," said Captain Steven Briggs, Norfolk Rebel.

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race started as something very simple: a race between two boats--the Norfolk Rebel and the Pride of Baltimore II. The winning prize? A case of beer.

Over 26 years, a lot has changed.

"We've raised over $150,000, donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation," said Captain Briggs.

"I oversee a number of skilled people and semi skilled people to care for the vessel, operate the vessel, maintain safety, maintain equipment for a wide range of responsibilities," said Captain Jan Miles, Pride of Baltimore II

Miles will lead the crew on the Pride of Baltimore II during the race, with some ships traveling 14 knots in speed.

"I say 16 miles-per-hour. So it sounds slow for land, but for those who know, for a boat like this, that's really fast," he said.

A fast pace for a good cause.

"I wouldn't trade it for nothing," Captain Briggs said.

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race starts Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

The largest number of boats to ever participate in the race is 55. The two schooners winning the most times are the Pride of Baltimore and the Woodwind out of Annapolis. Both have at least five wins.

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