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Schooner Virginia Brings First Place Trophy Home to Norfolk

Nauticus Foundation Celebrates Schooner Virginia’s Victory in 34th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.

Norfolk, VA — Nauticus is delighted to announce that the Schooner Virginia had a triumphant return to Norfolk this past weekend earning first place in the AA-Class of the 34th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race (GCBSR). Founded over three decades ago, the GCBSR is focused on promoting awareness of the Chesapeake Bay’s maritime heritage and encouraging preservation of its resources—topics at the forefront of the Nauticus Foundation mission. 

After a busy summer season conducting educational day sails in Hampton Roads with visits to Cape Charles and Yorktown, Schooner Virginia spent most of September hauled out in Mystic, Connecticut for routine maintenance. She returned to the Chesapeake Bay last week to serve as Nauticus’ representative in this year’s GCBSR. 

This year, the Schooner Virginia was led by Captain Michael Fiorentino and represented by a crew of 22—comprised of 14 volunteers and eight paid mariners. Sarah Linden-Brooks, Director of Sail Nauticus said, “Virginia’s first-place win was made possible by the effort of our volunteers especially through the busy season. Their passion for sharing sailing with our community—be it an education day-sail or a race down the Chesapeake Bay—is what allows our program to succeed. It’s a labor of love, and we’re grateful for their commitment.” 

Virginia welcomed students aboard the vessel in Baltimore, Maryland last Wednesday, to engage in experiential educational programs sponsored by the race committee. Thursday morning, Virginia, and the three other vessels in her class, departed Baltimore for the start line off Annapolis, Maryland. The race had incredibly light wind which added to the challenge and complexity of this year’s event.

Virginia is part of a longstanding, friendly rivalry with the Pride of Baltimore II. Captain Fiorentino notes, “The close competition between the Virginiaand the Pride of Baltimore II has drawn attention to the broader goals of the GCBSR over the years. This rivalry adds an extra layer of excitement to the GCBSR. It’s a testament to the dedication and passion of both crews and elevates the overall experience of the race—igniting passions for our region’s maritime heritage.”

The Nauticus Foundation has been the steward of Schooner Virginia since 2016. Since coming to the Nauticus FoundationSchooner Virginia has taken the top prize at the GCBSR twice, including earning the all-time course speed-record in 2018. Virginia will be on display as part of SailFest, the annual fundraiser to support Sail Nauticus, on Saturday, October 21.

About Sail Nauticus 

Support for Sail Nauticus directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides a life-changing experience for underserved youth in our local community. Our mission is to inspire, instruct, and impact Hampton Roads kids through the use of sailing and maritime sciences. To learn more visit

About Nauticus
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, VA, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit