'Sailing through the Winter Solstice' Boats Revealed on Carroll Creek

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Sailboat sponsored by Ausherman Family Foundation

Courtesy of: Erika RIley, Frederick News-Post

Beginning this weekend, taking a stroll along Carroll Creek will include seeing sailboats of every shape and size decorated with lights — in addition to two baby sea monsters.

This is the fourth year of “Sailing through the Winter Solstice,” an installation and fundraising opportunity from Friends of the Carroll Creek Urban Park. The organization is also responsible for Color on the Creek, but branched out when they decided they wanted to do something specifically for winter.

“I grew up in Wisconsin and we used to drive around the neighborhood and look at tacky lights. And that’s fun. But this is just something different,” said Peter Kremers, co-founder of Sailing through the Winter Solstice. “I think it highlights the creek … it’s usually kind of dark and a little gloomy in the winter down there and this is something that brings people down.”

This year, it’s bigger than ever. There are 16 boats on the water and two out of the water. One will be featured in the Kris Kringle Parade, and one will be perched on top of Brewer’s Alley.

The 16 boats began launching bright and early on Saturday morning, in brisk temperatures. Several volunteers from the Friends of Carroll Creek Park and the participating organizations were in the creek itself, most of them in fishing gear or wetsuits to protect from the cold.

Kyle Thomas, co-founder of Sailing through the Solstice, was in a wetsuit that was formerly used by Coast Guard rescuers.

“The water is cold, but the suit is warm,” he said as he helped the Hurwitz Foundation out with their boat.

This is Hurwitz Foundation’s pink boat’s third year on the creek. Patty Hurwitz said that the boat was initially red, but they painted it to match the Foundation, which benefits breast cancer.

Returning for its second year, Frederick-based technology company STULZ has contributed a boat, the “Rickmer Rickmers Too.” The boat is directly modeled after the Rickmer Rickmers, a famous nineteenth-century sailing ship moored at the company’s headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.

Company president Jeorg Desler originally came up with the idea for the boat, which craftsmen from the company then made themselves. STULZ has partnered with SHIP, an organization that provides resources and support to homeless youth in Frederick County, on their boat.

STULZ also donated five pieces of equipment for use on Saturday, including two forklifts and two trailers. This made the process of getting the boats into the water a lot easier. In previous years, the boats were lowered into the water on wooden ramps, which Kremers said was very difficult.

It’s not just big companies represented on the creek, either. Couples Ed and Vicki Poole and Thom and Teresa Beckley, who are neighbors in Walkersville, worked together on the Snallygaster, a viking ship bearing a sea monster whose legend is native to Frederick. This year, there are two new additions floating behind it: two baby sea monsters, Sallygaster and Sullygaster.

Vicki Poole worked for the last couple of months to make sure the baby sea monsters were living up to their full potential. In order to provide some personality to both monsters, she had each of them balancing a ball, almost like a seal. Sally has hers on her nose while Sully has his on his tail.

“I wanted to make it kid-friendly,” Poole said.

The couples have chosen Sophie and Madigan’s Playground as their nonprofit of choice.

Many of the boats that are returning this year have been updated a bit. Kremers said that the idea is to make sure that there’s something new every year for both locals and visitors to see.

“We kind of like the idea of keeping things different, kind of like pop-up art,” he said.

There are also plenty of completely new boats out on the water. Matan Companies is debuting their patriotic boat, complete with sparkly firework-eque bursts and American flags. The theme was picked through company-wide surveys, said Meredith Roark, director of operations.

The Rotary Club of Frederick also has its first boat this year, named the Centennial in honor of their 100 year anniversary. The club was formed in Frederick in 1920.

“We have some other celebrations planned but we figured that this would be a wonderful segue into that year,” said Chris Kline, former president of the club.

Plenty of members of the club were in attendance, watching in anticipation as the boat was lowered via the forklift. They burst into applause once the boat was safely in the water.

Larry Hill, a member of the Friends of the Carroll Creek Urban Park, said that there are several challenges to overcome every year. New to the installation this year are 450-pound anchors to keep each boat in place on the water.

“It’s just getting better and better,” Hill said.

The boats will be on Carroll Creek through Fire in Ice in February.

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