The Friendship Sloop Society
The Friendship Sloop Society is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Maine in April of 1961. The purpose of the Society as stated in the Constitution is to encourage the building and sailing of Friendship Sloops, and to provide a medium for owners and friends to meet and enjoy each other around a common interest. The formation of the Society was actively promoted by Bernard MacKenzie of Scituate, Massachusetts, then owner of Voyager registered as #1 in the roster. "Bernie" then owned #96 Voyager. The 1961 Sloop Yearbook lists 22 members. Fourteen craft participated in the first race. Sloops now registered with the Society total 285 with the greatest growth occurring in the 1970's with the addition of 50 fiberglass sloops.
Social and racing events were held at Friendship, Maine until 1984 but moved to Boothbay Harbor in 1985 when the need to accommodate our much larger fleet became apparent. In 1995, the annual Homecoming was moved again, this time further east to Rockland, Maine where the rendezvous and races were again held in 2019. The Southwest Harbor race, was held for the 27th year in 2019, the weekend before the event at Rockland. In the past, society events have been augmented by stopovers at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and the gathering of sloops at Friendship for the annual Friendship Day events.
Until recently, sloops located south of Cape Cod participated in the New London sloop races held in early July. For many years, a racing series was held in Marblehead at the Corinthian Yacht Club in August.
The final event of the year is the Annual Meeting in November. This meeting had been held for a number of years at the New England Center on the campus of the University of New Hampshire, but since 2003 the meetings have been held at Martin's Manor in South Portland, ME.
The Sloop Society has two publications: the Annual Yearbook and Guide which is published in July and serves to chronicle the history of the Sloops; and a newsletter which is published two times a year that contains the reports of various Society activities.
In recent years it has become obvious that we have much in common with the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and the Sail, Power & Steam Museum in Rockland, and have become involved with them in our efforts for the preservation of records and sloop design information. By storing such records at Bath and Rockland, they become available as references year-round in a convenient location. The Friendship Museum in Friendship, ME also houses artifacts, memorabilia, and records pertaining to the Friendship Sloop Society.
The Sloop Society continues to encourage the building of Friendship Sloops, and we encourage anyone who is interested in our Sloops to join us as a member.