Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum Great Biloxi Schooner Race Oct. 18th

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum will hold the 2014 Annual Great Biloxi Schooner Race on Saturday, October 18th, 2014. Robin Krohn David, Executive Director of the Museum said, “The 2014 Great Biloxi Schooner Race will start at 11:00 a.m. from the Schooner Pier on Point Cadet in Biloxi and will proceed down the Biloxi channel past the Lighthouse, just as Biloxi’s fleet of working schooners did every summer from the late 1800s until the 1930s when the introduction of the marine engines and the changes in oyster harvesting laws caused the extinction of these beautiful vessels.”

Robbie Schmidt, President of the Museum Board and Chair of this year’s Race Committee, said, "In the early 1900s, thousands of tourists and locals would crowd the piers and seawall in Biloxi to watch this nationally-renowned competition of captains and crews who made Biloxi the Seafood Capital of the World.” Jennifer Schmidt, Chair of Race Day, said, "Once again, the public is invited to watch the race along the beach front and public piers from Point Cadet to the Lighthouse.” The Museum’s schooners are second only to the Biloxi Lighthouse as the most photographed and nationally-publicized Coast attraction.

The 2014 race is a rematch of skippers from 1994, when the Museum revived the event for the first time since the 1930s, with the Museum’s then recently launched schooners, the MIKE SEKUL and the GLENN L. SWETMAN. Gene Walet, the famous Olympic sailor from Pass Christian will again skipper the GLENN L. SWETMAN. Gerald Blessey, former Mayor of Biloxi will again skipper the MIKE SEKUL. Local volunteers from throughout the Coast will serve as crews.

The Biloxi Schooner Project was started for the Museum in the mid-1980’s by then Mayor Blessey and his wife, Dr. Paige Gutierrez, a cultural anthropologist who studied and wrote about the traditional culture of the Gulf Coast. The Schooner Project granted naming rights for the highest contributions, which were made by the families of Mike Sekul, who founded Gulf Central Seafood and Glenn L. Swetman, who as President of the Peoples Bank of Biloxi specialized in funding boatbuilding and factories for the seafood industry. The wooden schooners were built by local, master boat builders. Bill Holland of D’Iberville built the Glenn L. Swetman. Neil Covacevich and Paul Bodin of Biloxi built the Mike Sekul.

One goal of the Schooner Project was and is to encourage the continuation of boatbuilding and related skills that the Biloxi area had long been known for, and to inspire fine craftsmanship in general. Another goal is to provide a unique, family-oriented tourist attraction where locals and visitors can easily enjoy the experience of sailing on an old-time, historic vessel along the beautiful Coastal seascape. The boats also serve as educational settings for thousands of Coast students at the Museum’s Sea-n-Sail Adventure Camp and field trips.

Both schooners are available for walk-on sails and for charters. Visit our website,, for times and contact information.


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