Sloop Clearwater Forgoes Visit to Bay; Capitol Hill Briefing Still Held

Due to rough conitions encountered in the Atlantic Ocean, the Hudson River sloop Clearwater won't make it to the Bay this summer as planned, but the Clearwater organization's June 29 Capitol Hill briefing (to which the sloop's visit was inteded to call attention) was held as planned.

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Photo by Dorice Arden

The sloop Clearwater left from Croton, NY, June 19, for Washington, DC, as part of an initiative to raise concerns about threats to federal clean water protections. However, when faced with unfavorable weather conditions in the Atlantic Ocean, Clearwater made the decision to return back to the Hudson River. After a thorough assessment of the weather, the captains, crew, and staff made the difficult decision to forego the trip to the Potomac River and other Bay locations, to protect the safety of the crew and vessel. 

Organizers of the voyage reported that the  decision was made, "out of prudence, with safety as the top priority. The Clearwater is a Hudson River sloop designed for carrying cargo on the River rather than for ocean voyages in rough conditions. With recent severe weather in the area and a tropical storm in the Gulf, it was decided to head back to avoid encountering potentially challenging conditions."

This is surely a disappoinment for Bay sailors who hoped to visit the vessel at the various locations around the middle Bay, including the Gangplank Marina in D.C., the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael's, and the Sultana Eduation Foundation in Chestertown.

Although the sloop didn't make it to Washington, the June 29 legislative biefing was help as planned. It was a reprise of events in 1970, when singer Pete Seeger sailed the Clearwater from the Hudson River to Washington, DC, and held a Capitol Hill forum on clean water, supporting the fight for the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA).

This year's briefing, entitled “Protecting America’s Water Amid Growing Threats,” was organized by the Clearwater organization, and co-sponsored by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and Clean Water Action. Speakers planned to address impacts of proposed EPA funding cuts and recent rollbacks in federal clean water policy on public and environmental health.