Saturday, January 20, 2007

Good Night

Taken near Warren Island off Islesboro on the evening of June 5, 2006 from the deck of Timberwind. (by me)

Maine Mystery Site

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Maine Coast Windjamming Book Selection

A good book to have is Windjammer Watching on the Coast of Maine by Virginia L. Thorndike.

This small paperback contains info on every ship in the fleet. Of particular value is a chart that shows the silhouettes of all the Windjammers so you can recognize them at a distance. There is also a nice diagram of a schooner and a simple index of nautical terms.

The book is portable and meant to carry with you on a trip to Maine. Most of the windjammers have at least one copy on board. You can support the schooner's local area by ordering the volume online from The Wooden Boat Store, Brooklin Me.. It is also available at Amazon, Borders and Barnes and Noble. Most local bookstores can order it quickly.

Featured Windjammer: Heritage

Heritage is the newest Windjammer. Launched in 1983, she was built by her owners Doug and Linda Lee and a hired crew at the North End Shipyard in Rockland at which they are co-owners. Planning and construction took 4 years.

Heritage is a massive vessel. Victory Chimes is larger, but this is the biggest two masted schooner in the fleet. She was constructed of native woods and designed with carrying passengers in mind. She carries an authentic classic deck engine to raise her anchor and is covered in beautifully finished wood.

Schooner Heritage
Topsail Schooner with centerboard

  • Length on deck: 95 feet
  • Beam: 24 feet
  • Draft: Medium, 8 feet with board up / 18 feet board down
  • Construction: Wood
  • Sail Area: 5200 sf.
  • Power: Yawl Boat
  • Passengers: 30
  • Home Port: Rockland
  • Owners: Captains Doug and Linda Lee

Good Day

Photo By Jeff Sagel

The Pub in Castine
July of last year

Friday, January 19, 2007

Good Night

Photo by Jeff Sagel

Sunset, June 12, 2006 from deck of I. E. Evans

Windjammer Primer part 1

Top questions not to ask a windjammer captain:

  1. Where are we going tomorrow?
  2. Where are we going tomorrow?
  3. Where are we going tomorrow?
To be continued....

Some Couple from Near Me Wins Lobsters

J&E Riggin feeds more people from Pennsylvania. Good luck on the 200 million powerball lottery.

From JE Riggin Newsletter:

The winner of this years Friends and Lobster drawing is Dennis & Anita M. of Furlong, PA.

Once again this year, we will be collecting names of folks that are referred by a past passenger and both will be entered to win next years lobster dinner. The promotion will run through the end of December.

Winter Layup for Schooner Timberwind

A description to go with the "cold" schooner picture of yesterday.

From the Timberwind Newsletter:

Timberwind Undercover!

No, not a covert operation, just shelter from the winter weather...

One of the most frequently asked questions is, "where does the Timberwind spend the winter"? Well, she stays right there at her dock as you last saw her. We do however build a very sturdy and effective cover to keep the long tough Maine winter from getting to her.

The schooner is completely stripped of everything that can be carried off. Sails, Anchors, spars (including the top mast),furniture, bedding, rigging, Navigation gear, and all the galley stuff. The heads are disconnected, and the seacocks are closed. After being completely cleaned, washed down and oiled, and the cover is erected, we then slush the masts with about 2 gallons of Vasoline, paint the mastheads, and finally tar the rig. We also bring up from the bottom some huge anchor chains that are added as additional security against the rough winter storms as well as doubling up the docking lines.

The cover itself as pictured, is a frame work and dormer of 2x4's used as a back frame or ridge poles, with 3 inch plastic tubing used as frames or "ribs," spaced as evenly as the vessel allows, which is then covered with a 7 mil thick shrink wrap cut to fit loosely. Spruce battens add support to the plastic internally, and additional battens are screwed into scupper blocks out board so we can roll up and fasten the outer edges of the plastic, and finally heat shrink to fit snuggly.

The entire lay up process can take as few as ten days from start to finish. This is a lot faster of course than getting the vessel ready for the season which begins on April 1 with full crew working 6 days a week!

With Elizabeth's help I have put together a PDF photo page showing the various stages of the winter cover being built by me, Dawn, Andrew and Bethany

Just click on this link to see the photo page (This opens Adobe Reader)

Water Bug

Elizabeth Henkel, shore coordinator for Maine Adventure Sails of Rockland, writes about watching Anne Mahle on TV with her daughter.

Featured Windjammer: Mercantile

Photo from MWC Website

Mercantile is one of the prettiest windjammers in the world. She is the last surviving ship in a series built on Deer Isle in the early 20th century.

Like her fellow "coasters" she hauled cargo up and down the coast entering smaller ports with her shallow draft. The "Merc" as she is affectionately called was converted to a windjammer late in her career.

She was restored in 1989 and now carries up to 29 people on 3 and four day sails. Merc is owned by Maine Windjammer Cruises, the direct descendant of the original windjammer company founded in the 1930's.

Sailing Vessel Mercantile
Gaff Schooner with Centerboard
Launch: 1916, Deer Isle Maine
Refit: 1989

  • Length: 80 Feet on deck
  • Draft: Shoal (aprox. 5 Feet)
  • Sails: 4
  • Capacity: 29 passengers plus Captain and Crew
  • Home Port: Camden

Good Morning Rick

Cook/Caretaker Rick adjusts lines on American Eagle, Morning of June 2, 2006

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Good Night

Raft-Up on Race Week 2006 by me.

Windjammer Trip One

I've booked my first trip for this summer: June 18, 6 days on Schooner Timberwind. I am planning to host some Dungeons and Dragons sessions on board so I thought a long cruise would be best and race week is not a good choice; too distracting. That should also give me some time to help sail the boat and many of the other opportunities there are on windjammer cruises.

That week is also the fleet schooner "gam" in which many of the ships head to an agreed upon harbor and anchor. If conditions are good there is often a "raft up" of the windjammers so that the whole crowd can socialize and tour the other boats.

This scene is one of the most impressive displays of parallel parking you will ever see. The captains are all pretty nervous about it as the tying up puts strain on the big girls. Whatever happens I should get to see some of the friends I made on the other 4 boats I sailed on last summer.

I may add a second cruise before or after with the purpose of taking this blog sailing.

Cold Schooner

A certain windjammer based in Rockport lies shivering at the dock despite excellent winter clothes.

Will someone put the kettle on for Timberwind?

Subscriptions to Maine Coast Windjamming

Due to a number of requests I have put an email subscription link on the sidebar. You can receive this slowly growing blog by email or by Atom feed to your web browser or feed reader. I am also considering what to add to my profile. That link is the number one hit on the site. I will put more about me soon, and will add a photo against my will.

People have been shy to comment so far though I am thus far being quite uncontroversial. My goal is to post 6 times a day. There is little in the Blogasphere about this subject. Let me know what you would like to read.

I have had a few visitors from Leavenworth. Hmmm.....

Speak French

I like coasters. I like keelboats. Lewis R French is both. French is an authentic working cargo boat from 1871 and the last of her type remaining that was built in Maine. She has several "centerboarder" cousins in the fleet. Mercantile was also built in Maine in 1916.

Lewis R. French
Type : Topsail Schooner
65 feet on deck
19 foot beam (width)
7.5 foot draft (depth)
Home Port : Camden, Me.
Captain : Garth Wells
Lewis R French can be recognized at a distance by the distinctive upper "hole" of sail between its masts when fully rigged.

From Away

Linda Vetter

The schooner Zodiac is a Maine built schooner that few there know still exists. She was launched two years after Nathaniel Bowditch at Hogdon Bros. of East Boothbay and has the same famous designer, William H. Hand (Bowdoin.)

At 127 feet on deck she is nearly the length of Victory Chimes but carries just two masts. Her design is meant to be exactly as the traditional fishing schooners like American Eagle. The photo shows her reefed in without her main as she heads under the Golden Gate Bridge. She was the last working sailing pilot vessel in America and is now owned by a non profit that operates her.

Zodiac's home port is Bellingham Washington. She sails windjammer-like cruises in the San Juan and Gulf Islands and is manned by volunteers.

Good Morning

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Good Night

My Eyes are Blurring

Look at the Pinky

Photo from Summertime Website

One of my favorite boat designs is the "Pinky," a 17th century European design adapted to schooner rig in New England. These salty looking vessels were double ended with a sharply pointed and upturned (pinked) stern. They are famous for their seakeeping ability as fishing boats.

Penobscot Bay has a locally built windjamming schooner called "Summertime" (above) that is based on the "Pinky" vessels. Her homeport is Brooklin but she is often in other ports including Rockland. Summertime does both day sails and longer cruises. She is a favorite sight to see for those in her cruising grounds.

Political Interlude

I said I would comment on the global climate change issue raised by Bob Tassi and so I will.

This is clearly one of the three vital issues to act upon in our current times, just below political stability and prosperity in the Middle East and just above health care (but not by much.) I am a political operative, that much should be known. I was a Republican in my younger days and would still be thought of as conservative if our political climate had not moved so far right. I am now a Democrat and worked long and hard for congressional change in November.

The Film an inconvenient truth is a priceless contribution to us. Whatever your feelings about Gore (mine have changed several times,) the movie and its subject are not a curiosity, they are the future. Momentum on climate change has accelerated due to Gore's work. This week EXXON/Mobile cut most of its ties to anti-global climate change advocates, which closely follows Senator McCain's reversal on the issue. There is progress occurring.

Politically, these changes will be slow. Individual actions on neutralizing carbon like Capt. Tassi's are what is needed. Many are attempting this thanks to Al Gore's effort.

For coastal communities this issue is not in the future it is now. Seas are rising. Many people I know are still looking for a "magic" techno solution. Real effort and some sacrifice is what we have now, along with some good help from science. The good news is that our citizens are aware. That was obvious from our last election. That is not enough. We must all try to act now. Maybe we can actually view this as an exciting positive challenge to work with nature and not against it.

We are part of the system of the creator's creation. Do we really need to assert otherwise? That kind of pride will lead to a very dismal future. Hope is here if we keep it. In five years one quarter of cars may be hybrids. Americans have a chance to take the lead in short order. Everyday folks will decide our future. Thankfully, most of us fit somewhere in that category.

Anne Mahle on Maine TV

Happy Wednesday!

- WCSH's 207 show tonight We just wanted to let you all know to tune in to NBC tonight .

Tonight will feature Broiled Flank Steak Salad with Blue Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Crostini! Yummy!

For those of you who are not in the Maine area to tune in, we will have the video of her cooking up on the site shortly. We will also have the recipes available for download!

Captains Jon Finger & Anne Mahle
Schooner J&E Riggin

voice: 1-800-869-0604

Captain John Foss

From Windjammer Association Newsletter:

Meet Captain John Foss of the Schooner American Eagle

Anyone who knows Captain John Foss will surely remark on his most recognizable trait: his sense of humor, which fellow captains and loyal passengers call “dry,” is infamous among the fleet. But to spend time with John Foss is to know why passengers come back to the American Eagle year after year, and the wisdom he possesses makes him a most respected sailor.

Captain Foss spent winters in New York City until he was twelve, although his Maine roots run deep. His ancestors settled here in the seventeenth-century, and he is named for his great uncle who was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg while serving in the 20th Maine under Joshua Chamberlain. A tall man with a wry wit and an easy grin, Captain Foss spent summers and school vacations in Maine working in boatyards and on schooners. After graduating from Bowdoin College (where he majored in art history) and serving a “surrealistic” stint as a deck officer in the Coast Guard, Captain Foss bought the Lewis R. French and in 1973 set up the North End Shipyard in Rockland with Captains Douglas and Linda Lee. In the years since, most of the windjammer fleet have come to look upon the shipyard as a resource where schooners are rebuilt and repaired to keep them in service.

In 1984 he purchased the American Eagle, the last fishing schooner built in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The American Eagle is the second vessel that Captain Foss has rebuilt to be designated a National Historic Landmark. The schooner has now run voyages for 21 seasons with cruises from Lunenburg Nova Scotia to New York and Boston for tall ship events as well as hundreds of cruises in mid-coast Maine.

Unique among Maine windjammers, the American Eagle holds an international certificate and most seasons sails to Canada, “where it seems every year some nice Canadian rows out from shore to bring us fish – a schooner is a rarity there.” A cruise aboard the Eagle is a good balance between adventure and relaxation; and is also a platform of opportunity to observe nature and to sail a big vessel. The ship’s library has hundreds of books, mostly on how these schooners were used: the captain can quote from most of them The American Eagle sails to her old home port of Gloucester, Massachusetts, every year to take part in the annual Gloucester Schooner Race. She's won seven times.

Captain Foss has great respect for his many repeat passengers, who make up half of his passenger manifests. “We’re a business because of the people who come sailing with us and for no other reason. That’s who pays the bills, and that’s who’s preserving these vessels.” His favorite time aboard the schooner – “When we leave the dock” – can only be bested by “the dynamic of people from all over the country, all sorts of lifestyles, coming together – there’s nothing like it.”

In the off-season, Captain Foss spends time with his wife Kathy who is a school librarian and their two children, now in college. Besides restoring a 1935 wooden tug boat, he is active in coastal conservation groups. Also, thanks to his 500-ton ocean license, he works two weeks a year as an officer aboard the Elissa, an 1877 iron barque out of Galveston, Texas, with two other Maine Windjammer Association captains, Kip Files of the Victory Chimes and Barry King of the Mary Day. “We’re a very close group,” he says of the Maine Windjammer Association captains, noting that his daughter recently went to the prom with another captain’s son. “And despite the uncertainty and frustrations that sometimes arise from caring for a 19th century vessel in the 21st century, it’s certainly better than being ashore.”

To find out more about the American Eagle, call 1-800-648-4544 or visit their website.

Good Morning

Coffee is ready on the deck of Schooner Bowditch.

July 7, 2006

Photo by Jeff Sagel

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Good Night

Good Night

Technorati Profile

Striking Misfit

Angelique is a very noticeable only child in the windjammer fleet. She is the only Ketch ( a higher front mast) and the only ship not built of wood.

She was built in 1980 purposely for passenger service. Her design is a close copy of a traditional classic Northern European fishing vessel. Features include rounded stern (back), a nearly plumb stem (front) and traditional red "Tanbark" sails. Construction is of steel with traditional wooden topsides.

Angelique has twin engines and a deckhouse lounge. Owned by the McHenry family, this windjammer does quite a number of offshore wildlife oriented cruise. She is based in Camden. Angelique is one of the favorite sights to see on the bay. You can spot her from a long way off.

On race week last summer we on Nathaniel Bowditch informally raced Angelique from Castine to Bass Harbor on Mt. Desert Island. (photo is courtesy of Ted Dillard from Angelique's website.)

Windjammer Home Ports

Most people seek out tourist sites to find out about places. Sometimes it's often illuminating to look at main websites of towns. They often provide a more realistic view. Here are the main sites of the three home ports for the windjammer fleet in Maine.

Do You Know These People?

These folks are?....

  • Practicing Door to Door Soliciting
  • The Midcoast Chamber of Commerce
  • Missionaries
  • Sea Captains
  • Coming to Your House. Run.

Good Morning Ms. Riggin

J&E Riggin in Pulpit Harbor, Morning of July 7, 2006
Photo by Jeff Sagel on Nathaniel Bowditch

Monday, January 15, 2007

Boothbay Voyage

Courtesy of Boothbay Chamber of Commerce

Photo by Jeff Sagel

Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch is scheduled to sail to Boothbay for the Windjammer festival in the last week of June. Boothbay Harbor is one of the nicest in Maine, with a strong shipbuilding heritage which continues today. Bowditch was built in East Boothbay in 1922 as the racing yacht Ladona.

Nathaniel Bowditch is ideal for this adventurous run south. She is an excellent up wind sailer and has an inboard engine for greater speed. Many windjammers don't try this trip as there can be more challenging conditions and some uncomfortable seas occasionally. The reward for more intrepid passengers is high. Boothbay is a gem and entering by boat is the best experience for any harbor.

Events in the harbor include a parade of sail, fireworks, and a large multi-windjammer lobster bake on Cabbage island. The other boats scheduled this year are American Eagle, Heritage and Camden's Lewis R. French. French is the only original coasting schooner (1871) to sail down under Capt. Garth Wells. Some ships decide to go down at the last minute if the conditions are very favorable. I am seriously considering this voyage for this year or next.

Fair warning though: If the weather does not cooperate the captains will alter the itinerary, in which case you get a normal "no particular destination" sail. You will still have a great time.

A Ship's Store

Most of the windjammers have a ship's store where you can buy various vessel related items. These range from a small collection you can buy onboard to larger operations that have products they use and recommend .

Some have online access. Schooner J and E Riggin has one of the largest assortments.
Others with some web items include:

Grand Old Opera of Stonington

July 6, 2006 by Me and N. Bowditch

Winter and Warming

A preview of the next Timberwind newsletter includes a useful editorial on global climate change, particularly in connection with Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. This is an issue very close to the Maine Windjammer community, along with many who are in the coastal areas being impacted first. Here is the text. I will weigh in after some thought.

The Timberwind Weighs In On Global Warming

poster Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” was the focus of many discussions on the quarterdeck of the Timberwind last summer. I was aware he had written a book and produced a commercially successful movie. I was aware he was traveling around the country giving his slide show again. I already knew that in spite of his passion and expertise regarding global warming, he hadn't had much success rallying the country while in the Congress or the Senate. I was aware he had continued to be a advocate for a comprehensive ratifed global plan (Keyoto) as Vice President.

Yet unbelievably, I was still one of those people who didn’t feel the need to see the movie. I already understood the science at a conversational level, and believed global warming to be a fact. I viewed it as “ preaching to the choir” after all, we were registered members of “leave no trace” right? Well, as it turns out, I was both wrong and arrogant at the same time, though hardly a first for me!

Mr. Gore’s presentation expands our awareness with the use of visual images, graphics and science, presented in a way that can be easily understood by anyone who wants to understand, and he does so with humor, insight, and humility. The moment you first grasp the magnitude and impact of the sequence of events that will occur after a sudden rise in earth’s oceans, well, I had never let it in before.

Some people approve of Al Gore, and some people don't; I understand. Nevertheless, Global Warming is too important of an issue affecting everything we think we know to "diss" the message just because we may not like the messenger. In my view, If Al were a firefighter standing on the front lawn of my burning house with a hose in his hands, I wouldn’t think to question him about his politics. I would just help him put out the fire!

His urgent plea for our attention is a brave and honorable effort, presenting a chronology of environmental havoc our industrialized world has created. He places a challenge before all people, and still inspires us with enough hope, that we might still turn things around if we prioritize this globally! The first step of course is to acknowledge what we are working with, and then to accept our personal responsibility in co-creating this problem. Once we separate the truth from the misinformation, (and there is plenty of it), we can welcome the changes into our lifestyles as this shift in awareness will demand. Look at it this way; Ultimately, it comes down to one individual who during any human event (whether they know it or not) becomes the tipping point leading to a chain reaction that results in a major change. Any one of us could be that tipping point, as human kind rises to the greatest challenge and purpose of all time. How cool is that!

This web site, www.climatecrisis .net is the official site of the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. In addition to screen savers, posters, and a link to purchase the DVD, it also provides in PDF form, a manual as it were, to use in a group setting should you become inspired to host a “An Inconvenient Truth” party or discussion. You can also download a complete “to do” list to help you and your family in becoming carbon neutral at home.

The Schooner Timberwind in association with Maine Adventure Sails has committed to implementing as many environmentally responsible procedures as practicable during the operations of our vessel, including recycling, composting, biodegradable cleaning products, and the introduction of bio diesel while running our yawl boat. In addition, a closer review as to how to deal more effectively with our waste products associated with our annual refitting and painting will begin this season. The Timberwind’s ultimate goal is to be fully self-contained in terms of grey and black water discharge by 2010.

We encourage all of our friends to see this movie as we feel it will influence your lives and the lives of your children. We also want you to come back and sail with us therefore contributing to our progress as the Timberwind achieves the goal of becoming carbon neutral!

Annie, from the Schooner J&E Riggin, turned me on to this flash animation. I think you’ll like it! shtml

Capt. Bob

A Grayt Day

Have a grayt day.

American Eagle off Pond Island, 5/31/06, by me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Good NIght Moon

Good Night. 6/11/06 from Isaac Evans

2007 Windjammer Plans

Several people have already asked me which windjammer(s) will host me this year. Good question. I am considering several possibilities. An electronic acquaintance asked if I would sort of think out loud about this here. So off and on I will.

Firstly, I sailed on 5 boats last summer. All are listed in the Links Section. One was (un)lucky enough to have me twice. Not this year, but there may be more than one. One is already assured. Last year I promised to return to host a sailing Dungeons and Dragons game on Timberwind. I never got back, so this season is a definite date, though I'm not sure which trip I want it to be. Race week is right out. I want to sail at least one other trip connected to that one and possibly do a mobile blog. Which vessel will be doomed to such a fate?

Isaac Evans Blog

Captain Brenda Walker has an increasingly interesting journal on blogger. Check this out. Sailing into the "Basin" is a nice accomplishment and a real event for her passengers. I wish I was there.

Windjammer Association

Most of the cruising windjammers are represented by Maine Windjammer Association. There is a good amount of info on their web site and they offer a free brochure package with all their members included.

Taber Crew Returns for 2007

Popular crew members Phil, Cara and Dave are returning for a second season of fun and punishment at the hands of Capt. Noah Barnes of Schooner Stephen Taber. First Mate Phil is rumored to be in Rockland this winter working on unspecified projects with the Captain. Cara will return to baking and playing the fiddle, and "super Dave" whom I've never met is also slated to haul some lines and such. No word yet on the cook but Noah and Jane are already selecting wine and cheese. See Links section to arrive at the Taber site.