Sultana 2021

Downrigging Weekend



It began back in 2001 largely as a lark when the newly launched schooner SULTANA and the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II paired up for a casual sail on the Chester River the weekend before both vessels “downrigged” for the winter. The combination of a stiff breeze, fall colors at their peak and thousands of waterfowl overhead made it a day few onboard would soon forget. “We’ll have to do this again next year,” remarked both captains – and thus Sultana Downrigging was born.

Almost two decades later, the event has grown to be one of the largest Tall Ship rendezvous in the country. This year the event showcases the all-new Port of Chestertown Marina and is further enhanced by the addition of a three-day bluegrass festival. Visitors can expect to see a waterfront packed with ships and wooden boats, performances by the region’s best bluegrass musicians, great food in the festival’s new waterfront village, lectures by nationally recognized authors, activities for children, opportunities to sail on the visiting Tall Ships and the chance to spend the weekend in Chestertown – one of America’s best preserved historic seaports. Don’t miss it!


Downrigging is organized by the Sultana Education Foundation (SEF), an education nonprofit that provides hands-on educational experiences that give students a chance to investigate the natural and human history of the Chesapeake Bay while exploring solutions to create a more sustainable ecosystem.  SEF provides programs for 14,000+ students and teachers annually.  Proceeds from Sultana Downrigging benefit SEF’s programs and support the nonprofit organizations that operate the other Tall Ships participating in the festival.


The Sultana Education Foundation makes every effort to minimize the waste produced by our Downrigging Festival.  Our goal is to significantly reduce, and eventually completely eliminate, trash sent to landfills as a result of the festival.  All food service vendors use compostable dishware and flatware for food/drink and volunteers will be spread throughout the Festival to ensure that attendees know how to properly dispose of recycling and compost.  We ask that attendees please refrain from bringing anything to the festival that you can’t take with when you leave or that cannot be composted.   Visitors to the Festival Village are encouraged to bring their own reusable drink containers (empty when you arrive, please).