North Shore residents and visitors alike have long thronged the decks for whale watches and fishing charters. But now there’s another reason many get onboard: a growing interest in the area’s maritime history and the sail craft and shipbuilding that made it happen. “All indications are that there is an extraordinary interest in schooners and sailing,” said Tom Balf, executive director of Maritime Gloucester.
Balf notes that a record of more than 20 schooners appear set for the 29th annual Gloucester Schooner Festival on Labor Day weekend, a magnet for wooden boat fans and visitors of all stripes.
A few hours on the water gives visitors a chance for “reflecting upon the fishermen, artists and mariners who have defined this harbor for generations,” Balf says. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Joel Brown is the author of the Essex Coastal Byway Guide. He can be reached at email@example.com.