Saturday, February 3, 2007

Good Night

Timberwind Galley Through Deck Hatch

Featured Place to Stay: Navigator Motor Inn

Many people like to stay in a more casual hotel/motel. I, myself, am often among this group. I like B&B's very much, but sometimes it's nice just to throw your bags in and crash in a more informal anonymous sort of way.

On my trip last year I stayed several times at the Navigator between sailings. This is a nice, basic and well kept motor inn right on the main street of Rockland. It has friendly staff and a good restaurant/bar. Some local folks hang out in the bar area, making for a very "real" atmosphere.

I came in by bus the first trip and the Navigator is directly across the street. You can see the harbor pretty clearly from the front rooms on the upper floors, and there are a few exterior drive up rooms with outside doors. The Navigator is the closest major lodging to the North End Shipyard Schooners ( A. Eagle, Heritage, I. E. Evans.) NAVIGATOR MOTOR INN LINK

Mid Maine Mystery Site


Good Morning

June 4, 2006

Friday, February 2, 2007

Good Night

Blazing Sky

Come to the Gam

Raft Up

Schooner Gam
is the first Maine fleet event of the season. The windjammers leave port Sunday night and sail to a harbor agreed upon by the captains.

The boats sometimes take different routes but all arrive around early evening to anchor together. Under most conditions the schooners raft up to create one big windjammer. This gives passengers a chance to visit and tour other vessels

The exact day of the gam within that week is decided on Monday by the captains based on weather conditions. The "raft-up" is not assured, but the crews do their best to accomplish this difficult feat if it will be safe and comfortable. Next morning, the schooners sail off on their own. There is often some playful racing in and out of the gam harbor and some of the large non-fleet vessels are invited if they are in the area.

This year's "Schooner Gam" is the week of June 18th. I will be aboard the Schooner Timberwind from Rockport.

Maine Windjamming Discussion Update

I will open a Maine windjammer Forum this weekend. I am now adjusting the settings. The group is already linked under "sites to see" but has nothing posted.

There is also a group beginning for Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch for those interested in the racing schooner. It is also listed in Sites To See and will begin soon.

New Blog By Schooner Mary Day

Captains King and Martin of Schooner Mary Day have started a journal about the boat and their lives. It has one long article a day. Although this is a promotion blog for the schooner, the posts have nice insights and observations about the full time windjammer life. It is nice to see Barry and Jen talking actively to their passengers and other windjammer watchers. I have linked to the journal in my blog list. Take a look.

Schooner Mary Day sails from Camden Maine.

Good Morning

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Good Night... from my house

New Maine Windjammer Discussion Group

By popular demand I am hosting a discussion group on Maine Windjamming. If you would like to be a charter member, post your email as a comment to this post or email me directly. I will send invitations when the site goes up. I will also post the group address for people to join later.

Windjammer Newsletter Article

From the Feb. newsletter of Maine Windjammer Cruises:

Love, Laughter and Life Beneath the Sail
Mattie Mosher's lifelong passion for windjammers

It has been said that fulfillment is best found where life and love intertwine. By that standard, Mattie Mosher's life is brimming over - filled with more than 90 years of rich memories that celebrate the sea.

To say that Mattie has a love for sailing would be an understatement. To say that riding Maine windjammers is her passion gets a little closer to the mark. Some have even gone so far as to say she is addicted to the big ships, to which she responds with a sly smile and laughter - but she makes no effort to deny it.

Mattie Mosher aboard Mattie in 1946.

Truly, Mattie's passion for salt and sail seems to know no bounds. While she hasn't kept a tally of the exact number of sailing trips she has taken aboard the Grace Bailey, the Mercantile and others, she can say that she has never passed up a chance to get out on the water. Mattie has enjoyed as many as three sailing adventures per season since 1939 and, at 93, she says that she has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

"I used to get down to the Caribbean also, and I loved to go parasailing whenever I was down there. I think I have to give that up," she laughed. "I do plan to get out on the Mattie again this season. I can't give that up."

Mattie Mosher and Captain Ray share a laugh on deck in 1995.

While Martha is her given name, her love of the ship led in part to her own nickname, which, she says, "just seemed to fit." She still lovingly refers to the Grace Bailey as her "Mattie," a name that speaks to the fascinating history of the ship.

Originally named after Edwin Bailey's daughter, Grace Bailey, the schooner proudly carried that moniker for more than 20 years. When Edwin's granddaughter Martha was born in 1888, she quickly found a special place in her grandfather's heart. In 1906, when Martha, or "Mattie" as she was affectionately known, was eighteen years old, the vessel was rebuilt and renamed Mattie.

Edwin gave his granddaughter his one-eighth share in the vessel and had Martha christen the rebuilt and renamed schooner. In 1919 Martha Bailey reluctantly sold her share when Captain Herbert L. Black purchased the Mattie and brought her to Maine.

Mattie under sail.

After a complete restoration by Capt. Ray and Ann Williamson in 1990, the vessel was rechristened by Ann, who returned the original name, Grace Bailey to the vessel.

Before relaunching, Capt. Ray asked Mattie to pick her favorite new cabin aboard the restored schooner. When she arrived for the first trip, the hand carved name board from the Mattie was hanging in her cabin, where it remains to this day.

Mattie has been a constant with the ship through four owners: Captains Swift, Nisbet, Bex and, since 1986, the Williamsons. Mattie often sails during one of the first full weeks and one of the last weeks of the season, enjoying all that Maine's winds and weather have to offer. Many Old Salts will go out of their way to book a reservation on the same trip as Mattie, enjoying her colorful stories and good conversation along with the captain and crew.

Mattie's love of sailing led her to many of the other loves in her life. Aboard the Mattie for a week-long cruise in 1946, she met another passenger, Malcolm Mosher, with whom she "hit it off right away." Their friendship continued after vacation's end, including several more sailing adventures, until the two were finally married in 1949. Mattie and Malcolm enjoyed many more excursions together in the years that followed, and, on a spontaneous trip to Camden from their home in Boston "just to look at the boats," they discovered the ad for their future home in a storefront window.

"I was looking around in The Smiling Cow and my husband ran up to me very excited about an ad that he found for a house outside Camden," said Mattie from her chair beside the old farmhouse's beautiful cast-iron-and-chrome wood stove. "It was a lot of work to fix this place up, but we never regretted a second of it. We fell in love with the place, and it got us nearer to the boats."

Mattie and Malcolm welcomed a son into the world a few years after they were married, and the story of their life and love together continued for many years, punctuated by the many wonderful sails they took along Maine's rocky coast. Mattie tended to her husband when he fell ill, and continued to sail after his passing, revisiting many fond memories of their time together at sea. Having a conversation with Mattie about sailing is like peeking through a scrapbook of her life, with many of the best photos taken on deck with a full wind in the sails.

Mattie Mosher enjoys a cup and good company on the Grace Bailey.

Whether she's describing last season's sail or her very first ride on a windjammer, Mattie recalls her experiences with the fondness and clarity of someone who truly treasures her time at sea: the rich, wonderful smells of coffee and bacon in the morning, the seaside clambakes, the friendly passengers and crew she met along the way...

"I just loved it from the very beginning," she said, describing her first cruise with a smile. "I've had so much fun sailing over the years. I don't know why anyone would want to do anything else. What better way is there to enjoy life?"

Memorial Day Windjamming

Several Maine Windjammers start their seasons early enough to offer holiday weekend sails. The weather is cooler, but the fares are lower and the schooners have most of the bay to themselves. I sailed in early June last year and had a great experience; Just dress warmly. Here is a list of windjammers sailing on Memorial Day Weekend in random order with their home ports.

  1. Nathaniel Bowditch 3 Days, Rockland
  2. Grace Bailey/Mercantile 3 Days , Camden (which vessel is by the owner's choice)
  3. Stephen Taber 3 Days, Rockland
  4. American Eagle 4 Days, Rockland
  5. Angelique 3 Days, Camden
  6. Timberwind 3 Days, Rockport
  7. Lewis R. French 4 Days, Camden
  8. Mary Day 3 Days, Camden
Check the websites for detailed information

Quick Schooner Tour: Isaac H. Evans

Take a look at some 360 degree images of the 19th century Windjammer Isaac H Evans.
(Java is needed to view them) Image Tour Page

Mid Maine Mystery Site


Good Morning

Morning View Over the Skiff on
Nathaniel Bowditch
July, 2006

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Good Night and... and... and...

Evening of June 5, 2006
Off Islesboro Maine

Windjammer Cruising Area : Part 2

Just to the east of the Maine Windjammers' home ports are North Haven and Vinalhaven Islands. Both are named after the largest towns. This is one of the most cruised areas of Penobscot Bay because of its close proximity to the mainland..

The channel between the two islands, called "Fox Island Thoroughfare," provides a shortcut past the islands and a protected passage for cruising and working boats.

Ferries from Rockland use the Thoroughfare to bring people and cargo to and from the mainland. Both islands have small year-round populations and have summer houses.

The town of Vinalhaven is still one of the largest lobster fishing centers in the world and is home port for hundreds of active fishing boats.

Featured Restaurant: Brass Compass Cafe

A very good early day eatery right on the main street in Rockland. Best liked for their breakfasts from 5:00am, they also serve lunch dishes from opening to close at around 2:00pm.

This cozy place holds about 50 people and gets very crowded by "Brunch" time on the weekends and during the tourist season. They have a patio for summer. Brass Compass Cafe'

Featured Place To Stay: Samoset Resort

Samoset is the largest, most well known resort hotel in the Maine windjammer region. Located north of the Rockland Breakwater, there isn't much they don't have. Food, scenery and golf are all within the grounds. Samoset Resort Link

Morning Surprise

Victory Chimes Appears Overnight and Anchors Near American Eagle
June 2006

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good Night and Good Luck

Owls Head Light from Deck of Schooner American Eagle
Evening ofJune 2, 2006

More Windjammer Discounts

I should point out that other boats offer early booking discounts.

Angelique: 10% if paid in full by tomorrow, 5% by April 1st
Stephen Taber: 8% if booked before March 1st
Nathaniel Bowditch: 10% if booked before Feb. 15th
Isaac H. Evans : 5% by tomorrow, 10 % for repeat sailors

Riggin and Timberwind Discount Deadline:Feb 1st

From "Maine Adventure Sails" :

"For the first time sailor, we look forward to getting to know you and in helping you make new memories. Call today and take advantage of our 5% early booking discount.

For those of you who have sailed before, either on the J&E Riggin, Timberwind or any other Maine Windjammer - take advantage of the Fleet Repeat discount of 10%

mention F107 when you call to receive your discounted trip price.

Remember we are here 7 days a week from 8am - 9pm (11pm until Feb 1st) E. S. T."

Thoughts on Bowditch and Timberwind

In response to a few questions I've received, here are a few thoughts on these schooners.

I have sailed on both of these vessels. I will be sailing on both again this year. They are very different boat designs. What they have in common is that they are unique in the Maine fleet. There is no other boat like either one. Actually they have a few other features similar to each other.

Both Bowditch and Timberwind were designed as deep water vessels, unlike the coasting schooners. They are both keel boats with drafts around 10-11 feet. They were both designed for long term offshore running and they were both constructed in Maine. The jobs they were designed for are totally different. Bowditch is the only classic yacht in the fleet. Timberwind was the pilot boat for Portland.

Both vessels are being restored from rough condition by families of of four who are newer to the fleet.. Neither is in the "bristol" condition of the more established cruising boats. However, they are both in excellent sailing shape, have comfortable basic accomodations and very good captains and cooks. Sailing with either family is kind of like sailing on a friends giant sail boat as opposed to a cruise type feel.

Timberwind's Bob and Dawn Tassi sail as a team. He is the captain, she is their cook and does as well as any I've experienced.. Their two kids Will and Emily are on board a lot of the season. Capt. Owen and Cathie Dorr of Nathaniel Bowditch were not both sailing last season. They have two younger sons. Cathie is planning to be on board more this year. Owen's brother Paul Dorr, a fleet veteran, has been their cook and he is an excellent one.

Both boats offer very authentic sailing experiences. They have fewer comforts than some boats but their heads are below deck. Bowditch features an airy midship galley and very open "racing" style deck. It is an exciting boat to sail on and handles like a Ferrari. Timberwind is cozier and is more of a great performing pick up truck. There isn't much Capt. Tassi can't get her to do if he wants.

Timberwind sails from Rockport which is an enchanting experience. Bowditch has a great location in Rockland. She is tied up next to J&E Riggin right in the middle of town at the MBNA dock off the boardwalk.

Build Your Own Schooner

Wooden Boat Store has a new model schooner available. The replica is of one of my favorite boat types; The Sharpie. More specifically, it is a modified sharpie fishing vessel used by turtle fisherman along the Florida and Gulf coasts at about the same time as the coasting schooners were active. Sharpies are very pretty boats.

These vessels were flat bottomed, shallow draft boats designed to sail in very little water. The larger sharpies (35-40 feet) were some of the fastest sailing boats in the world. Most were open boats but larger vessels had decks. They were in use from the Great Lakes to Texas and were first developed near New Haven Conn based on smaller rowing skiffs . Few were rigged as schooners(ketch rigs were more popular) so this model is quite distinct.

Modern replicas, both model and full size, are popular today with amateur builders because they are easy to build compared to other boat types. Sharpie Schooner Model

Mid Maine Mystery Site


Monday, January 29, 2007

Good Night and Good Luck

Nathaniel Bowditch anchored off Calderwood after lobster bake.

Windjammer Links and Posts

I've now heard from some visitors about people interested in having their links or services on the blog. I will consider all such wishes. You can post a comment to one of my blog entries and include information you would like posted.

I also encourage any requests on information about Maine windjamming you would like to see.

I will begin adding more links to sites on the main page for quick reference, as well as some lists of items that may be of interest.

Featured Place to Stay: Captain Swift Inn

Named after the man who founded the Maine Windjammer fleet, this Camden Inn maintains a nautical touch. Captain Swift lived in the house when he started windjamming in the 1930's.

The inn/B&B is located on a residential street near the center of Camden.

Captain Swift Inn

Climate Change Report Battle

Link to AP story on the upcoming international report on Global Warming.

Calendar of Wooden Boats in 25th Year

This year marks the silver anniversary of Woodenboat Magazine's "Calendar of Wooden Boats." Well known marine photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz has provided the pictures since its first publication in 1982.

Each month features a photo of a spectacular wooden vessel. Many are sail boats. Both large and small boats are included. This year has a fold out of all the previous calendar covers.

The 2007 Calendar of Wooden Boats

Mid Maine Mystery Site


Good Morning

Bowditch Pennant

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Good Night

Bowsprit of Isaac H. Evans Points at Pulpit Rock

Maine Windjammer Home Base

Here is a map view of the Windjammer's home ports on Penobscot Bay. Click on the map for a larger view.

Lighthouse Link: Curtis Island

This is one of the biggest attractions for day tours on the waters around Camden Maine. You can often get a good look from your Camden based windjammer as you leave and enter Camden Harbor. Curtis Island Light

Good Morning

Castine Harbor Through Trees