Sloop Clearwater To Raise Sails and Spirits Amid Pandemic


KINGSTON, NY – The white sails of the iconic Hudson River Sloop Clearwater have long lifted the spirits of anyone who sees it floating atop the Hudson. Since 1969, Clearwater has served as a symbol, reminding us to dream, to hope, and to work together to address our world’s challenges. On Sunday May 17th, on the 51st Anniversary of its launch, Clearwater will again raise its sails to inspire hope and solidarity, this time in the face of a global pandemic. The event will stream live on the organization’s Facebook page from 1PM-4PM. 

Press and members of the public who want to catch a glimpse of the sloop on Sunday may safely distance themselves from one another (wearing masks and maintaining six feet from each other) along the banks of the Hudson River at Kingston Point Park and Rhinecliff Landing (near the train station) at the below times to catch a glimpse of Clearwater as they embark on their maiden voyage of 2020 and honor the people of New York State working together to “bend the curve”. 

“Anywhere you go in the Hudson Valley you meet people who sailed on the sloop as a kid, or who volunteered for a week onboard, or who came on for a public sail and helped raise the mainsail. Clearwater is such a special boat, connected to communities up and down the Hudson.” said Erik Fyfe, Education Director. “Raising our sails right now is a small way we can share a moment of beauty with everyone struggling with the current crisis, and hopefully provide a glimmer of hope that we will get through this together.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Clearwater’s programming; known worldwide for their experience-based Hudson River environmental education and grassroots community activism. Last year, 13,000 people experienced the Hudson through Clearwater’s rich learning experiences on the river. Now amidst the pandemic, the organization has launched a virtual field trip initiative, helping students access the river, interact with educators and explore the sloop while quarantined at home.

The Clearwater captain and crew who will be sailing the vessel have remained quarantined together as a family unit onboard the sloop since early March. They have spent the time aboard, preparing the boat to sail, producing YouTube videos showcasing life onboard the sloop, and giving back to the community by helping deliver meals and volunteering at a local farm.

“Clearwater is so grateful to the community of people who has been helping support us during this crisis. We are excited to have the opportunity to share our first sail of the season with everyone in the Hudson Valley and beyond who has given so much to this organization over the years,” said Sloop Department Director and Captain, Amy Nelson.

Below is an itinerary that the Captain and crew will be observing to celebrate the collective effort of New Yorkers on Sunday, May 17th.

1300 Clearwater gets underway from the Hudson River Maritime Museum

1320 Clearwater exits Rondout Creek

1345 Set mails’l and jib sails (with a traditional shanty) 

1400 Set Topsail (weather permitting) 

1415 Sail by Kingston Pt. 

1445 Moment of silence

1450 Breaking of silence with a song

1500 Sail by Rhinecliff Landing

1530 Strike sails

1545 Enter back into Rondout Creek

1600 Alongside dock at Hudson River Maritime Museum


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