Monthly Archives: February 2007

Schooner sunrise

Good Morning Everyone. Today is the new moon. The stars were just dazzling here last night. I love to see the constellation of Orion this time of year. Given that it is Sunday and this is supposed to be a day of rest we are going out to Islesboro island to visit friends. I can’t wait to ride the ferry, see the winter ducks on the bay, smell the island spruce, and just take a few moments with dear friends. I offer you my favorite morning recitation, the Sanskrit Salutation to the Dawn which I often quote on the schooner:

“Look to this day for it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of our existence, the bliss of growth, the joy of action, and the splendor of achievement. For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vison but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day.”

This photo of the schooner’s transom at sunrise in Brunt Coat Harbor by Frederick “Fritz” Shantz reminds me that the reflections are as much a part of this beautiful event as is the glowing sun itself.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Nap and sail

Good Morning Everyone. A beautiful morning here. I am a little late getting this posted. I am continuing my research on ADA issues I mentioned the other day and spent 2 hours online this morning looking through all manner of government websites. This is the beginning of school vacation week here so the kids are getting a chance to play and rest instead of scurrying off to school first thing. This picture reminded me of how important and realxing a good nap can be for all of us, young or old. And I love nothing more than a nap in the sun with the gentle roll of the schooner rocking me like a baby. Doesn’t that just sound like heaven!

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Returning Light

Good Morning Everyone. 2 degrees below zero and the wind chill has all the makings for frostbitten noses. We spent most of yesterday digging out. I don’t recall plowing conditions quite as difficult as I encountered in our 1500’ of driveway yesterday. I had to drive a few laps around to break the snow with the tires and then take small bites out the crusty mess that was left. I only got stuck 3 times and a few hours late had myself and the neighbors plowed out. We have a business meeting in town today and will try to get out to check the schooner on the low tide this afternoon. All looked well from the shore yesterday. We’ll be painting screens in the barn this afternoon.

My heart is warmed today by seeing first light before 6 AM. Light makes all the difference in the world. I noticed yesterday that the woodchuck in the field had dug out of its borough. The snow and crust had been pushed away from the high entrance to the woodchuck’s winter lair. Glad to see he is making it. Seeing the brilliant white light of the glistening snow covered field should have sent him running for his sunglasses. (By the way, I am pretty sure it is a he not because I have good eyes but because his sweetie winters up next to the barn and brings her babies to the field via our driveway in the spring.) Even in the cold of winter the returning light makes all the difference in the world. Somewhere in all that light there is another sailing season ahead. I am loving the moment and dreaming of the future. Not a bad place to live.

This is a picture of first light over Blue Hill Bay with Mt Desert to the east of our secret schooner hideaway.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Windjammer Winter Snowstorm

Good Snowy Morning Everyone. I don’t have much to report today on the schooner front. 10 degrees in the dooryard and the NW wind is biting at the fingertips and tossing the treetops about. Yes, we received a good old-fashioned New England snowstorm yesterday. School was cancelled for the kids and they spent much of the day out playing. I plowed one big bank of snow for them to build a snow fort and banked snow at the bottom of their sledding hill as well. 14 inches of new snow fell yesterday (local reports of higher amounts in our town). We spent a fair chunk of the day just keeping the drifts away from the door.

Wind speeds at Matinicus Rock Lighthouse reached 50 knots yesterday with gusts to 60. The Penobscot Bay weather buoy had a steady 25 with gusts to 30 and with the wind shift from east to west has not slowed down the winds one bit. So I am throwing in a historical photo, which I mentioned the other day. I haven’t been down to the harbor today so Mary Day might look just the same as this photo. I really hope not. But this is the way schooners used to be layed up for the winter. A storm like the one we just had would have dumped freshwater, frozen or otherwise, all over the decks allowing some of it to eventually get down below. Freshwater moisture during the warmer weather is one of the elements that rot requires to grow and thrive. Once upon a time there were hundreds of schooners around these parts. Most of the old schooners have been reclaimed by the elements and the handful that exists today gives us a wonderful window into the past.

The accompanying photo was given to me and credited to noted photographer Carrol Thayer Berry but I don’t know this to be a fact.

Windjammer Romance

Good Morning Everyone. Happy Valentines Day to all of you. 6 degrees outside. The snow is falling here and it is expected to reach near blizzard conditions. Yahoo! We love the snow and this winters drought appears to be coming to an abrupt end. We scurried around yesterday afternoon like little squirrels, stashing firewood and clearing the dooryard for plowing. Kaitlyn and I also put some time into fixing cabin window screens and getting those primed to paint. We had an ambulance training meeting last night, blood borne pathogens and haz-mat awareness. Jen made the trek to Boston and back yesterday with successful completion of her application for her Coast Guard license renewal.

So in the spirit of love we provide the accompanying picture. These are some of our favorite birds. We hear loons in some of the anchorages we visit, yodeling away in the night. Dreamy and mysterious, just like love can be. Loons are diving birds and I have heard that hey can go quite deep to find nourishment. Hmmmm …. another metaphor not to be missed? I will let you draw your own conclusions. Windjammer vacations are so romantic.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Under Cover Schooner

Good Morning Everyone. 6 degrees below zero this and the wind chills will be bracing. We are in for a snow storm according the National Weather Service tomorrow. The forecast is for 8-12 inches of new white stuff here and 12-18 in the western mountains. So much of today will be spent hunkering down for an anticipated snow day for the kids and office day for us. Jen left at 0500 for Boston to go renew her Coast Guard license. Congratulations to Kaitlyn who just passed her National Registry EMT exam!

I received an email yesterday from 2 fellas who really should be working instead of reading this blog. They were wondering what it is we do to get the schooner through the winter unscathed. The single most important part of our annual maintenance cycle is the winter cover. Without that shrink wrap cover the schooner wood be open to elements, namely rain and snow, with no ability for the crew to work through inclement weather getting the boat painted. The schooner actually spends more of her year under cover than open to the weather. I have an old picture, from the 50s I guess, of the schooners left open to the weather chained together in a snow storm, rigging in place. I guess schooners were less expensive those days and the old timers would laugh to see the lavish care we provide. It takes us 2 full days to cover the boat. We use the same framework of PVC bows and laminated purlins each year. The shrink wrap comes in a roll 40’ x 149’ and is white to reflect the UV sunlight which can make the place like a green house some days. We wait for a calm day and roll it on (imagine the wind catching that kite and sending it up over the bay. The FAA would have a field day with that one.) A special propane fired blow dryer on steroids is used to shrink the plastic so that it is literally pingin’ tight. You can weld the plastic back on to itself where it over laps. Braces inside the cover keep everything rigid. Imagine the forces when the wind is gusting to hurricane strength as they will these next few days. Needless to say we double up our extra big winter lines in the stern and attach chains to the beach in the bow. I won’t be able to get to the schooner tomorrow but will sit here miles away with a prayer in my mind and the knowledge that we have done the best we can to see your schooner through the long winter. The lonely rocking chair sits empty waiting for someone to come warm her up.

Have a great day. Be well. Do Good.

American Windjammer

Good Morning Everyone. And happy Lincoln’s Birthday. 10 degrees in the dooryard, crystal clear skies and just flat calm and still in the woods. I can hear the occasional pop of a tree in the frozen darkness. First light is already here. Sunrise 0645, sunset 1706 (5:06 PM). It is another busy day here with a meeting in Camden.

Sawyer enjoyed his first downhill ski race yesterday. Shades of his father and grandfather before him flashed through my mind. Skiing was a big piece our family experience back in the days when it was more affordable. Just being outdoors in the crisp air together enjoying winter was a bonding experience. Our family sailing vacations were the summertime equivalent. There are not too many places in the world where you can ski on a mountain and sail on the ocean within a few miles of each. One curiosity of the Camden Snow Bowl is the fact that you can see the ocean from the top. I don’t have a picture of that to share but the breathtaking beauty of the snow covered Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay on a crystal clear bluebird day (okay, maybe penguin is more appropriate) … well it just makes you happy to be alive. Katherine Lee Bate’s 1895 poem inspired by a trip to the top of Pikes Peak came to mind.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Have a great day. Be well. Do Good.

Windjammer Ice Scupltures

Good morning everyone. Below normal temps again this morning but the promise of a warm sunny day; temperature is forecasted to soar right up in to the 20s today. A friend left 2 snowmobiles in the yard a few years ago and we fired them up yesterday for a ride around the field. Sawyer and Courtney loved it. “Mama, daddy, can we do it again.”
Yes, Jen jumps right onto the snowmobiles just a quick as I do. Go Mama. Today Sawyer has his first big ski race at the Camden Snow Bowl.

There is a winter festival in the Harbor Park in Camden this weekend. I was marveling at the sculptures in the amphitheater. On display for all to see were these crystal clear hand carved ice statues. After admiring what the human hand can so delicately create I went out to check the schooner. All dry in the bilges. Cover in tact. Harbor froze over out to the yacht club. As I walked back up the beach from the schooner I couldn’t help but notice the ice sculptures on the beach created by a different hand.

Enjoy this beautiful day. Be well. Do good.

Windjammer Challenge

Good Morning Everyone. 0 degrees in the door yard. Sunrise was at 0648 and cast a warm pinkish glow across the eastern sky. The last quarter moon is today. I can see it just to the south of us at this moment. Owning and operating a windjammer has some real challenges. This blog could be controversial for some folks. I do not mean it to be that way. I said from the outset that I was going to give folks a look behind the scenes, to share our imperfect lives. For those of you I upset I welcome your phone calls (800-992-2218).
For several years I had the honor of sailing with Skip. Skip had some “disabilities”. He was blind. His cane held up a body that was not the once youthful and active vehicle with which he pursued his vigorous life passions. He was a sailor before this writer was even a pup racing around the waters of Buzzards Bay on the Cape. If I recall correctly, he had a beautiful wooden Wianno Senior. Skip always brought his family along on the schooner to give him a hand with life’s various unavoidable necessities. In his humanness Skip became a hero for me. He became larger than life in my mind for the joy, humor, and determination he shared with the world. Getting around the boat was not easy. But he did it and never complained about what he could or couldn’t do. I could accommodate Skip’s “special needs” not because he wanted special treatment but because his mind was flexible, ready to accept life’s limitations.
On January 23, 2007 the Federal Register published Docket OST 2007 26829, a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) concerning transportation for individuals with disabilities aboard passenger vessels including small “mom and pop” windjammers. This NPRM is about policies regarding discrimination as opposed to physical accessibility standards. This docket proposes language under which we would need to operate our business and lumps us in with a wide range of passenger vessels. I think the windjammers are different in some respects than many other vessels. So as I read through this docket I have fears and concerns for our future. Will I have any right as a vessel operator to say that I can’t meet everyone’s needs based on any number of criteria while accommodating as many people as possible without putting my guests and my business at risk? What Skip taught me was that his disabilities were just those; they were his disabilities. He did not ask for anything more than a little help and we worked with Skip to make his sailing life as full as possible. While we have never wanted to say no to anyone, our schooner cannot be all things to all people. Skip saw that life has its limits and made his own access where he could. He dreamed within his limits and was an inspiring human being for doing so. I miss Skip and I look forward to meeting more courageous people like him with each and every passing summer.

PS I don’t know who took this picture of me reflecting on the sunset over Blue Hill Bay. For those of you I have offended you are welcome to print this out and use it for a target.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Maine Windjammer Swimming

Good Morning Everyone! Let’s not even talk about the thermometer this morning. I am getting a new one down at the hardware store today. Although ours isn’t broken I feel like I just need something new to tell you so am hoping a new thermometer might read something different than 0 degrees. I don’t mind the cold as much as I do reporting the same thing to you every day.

Cold is this relative sort of thing. I love the cold. The cold is my friend. I can always put more clothes on during the winter but on a hazy, hot, and humid summer day there are only so many clothes I can legally take off. Thank goodness for that you say. So if the cold is just a state of mind then what do we say about all the swimmers in the accompanying picture. I came across these non-retouched pictures this morning to prove that 1) the water in Maine is not as cold as some folks say or that 2) Maine windjammer passengers are a special breed.

I promise I did not digitally scan the swimmers into this scene. These are real people, really swimming, and not stunt doubles. The kids are loving the ride on Dad. Please be forewarned; I do not do this for all my sailing guests.