Monthly Archives: January 2009

Windjammer Memory Lane

Good morning everyone. Sub-zero temperatures have continued this past week but the sun’s warmth can be felt coming back. I noticed it sitting by the window and seeing how quickly the temperature jumped back up into the teens yesterday. Ice covered the entire inner harbor yesterday but it won’t last long. This week we celebrated Mary birthdays and I mean both Marys. Friday was world famous cook Mary’s birthday and Wednesday was the anniversary of Mary Day’s launching in 1962, an equally bitter cold day with snow. Built of hardy New England stock Mary Day Hawkins was there to christen her namesake in a beautiful dress and heels.
I wanted to share a little trip down windjammer memory lane. I have always contended that no history is complete without a look through the eyes of those who make the history happen in the first place. These photos were shared with us this summer by guest Bill Young. They were taken in July of 1977. When compared to Mary Day today many changes can be seen not just aboard the schooner but in the harbor and in the fleet.
It was during this time period that Mary Day moved to her newly created berth at the library park and even that dock system has changed since then. Fire had recently torn through the main cabin and forced a 3rd wheel into Captain Hawkins experienced hands. The first had been lost in a barn fire at their home in Sedgwick. There were no lazarettes or deck chairs to sit on. Topmasts ands topsails completed her rig after sailing 15 years “bald headed”. That change forced a change in companionway locations and cabin arrangements.The head rig and headsails were trying different configurations. But some things have not changed at all. People can still be seen laughing on deck. Crew are the same young and enthusiastic people we see aboard today. And the Maine coast is as spell binding as ever.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Photos by William B Young used by permission. Thank you Bill and everyone else who has helped us capture Mary Day’s history.

A Tad Chilly in Camden, Maine USA

Good morning everyone. It has been a tad on the chilly side here. Our southern correspondents tell us that below freezing temperatures have been noticed as far south as Alabama. As you can see from Jim Dugan’s photograph the harbor froze over… literally overnight. Salt water freezes at just a little over 28 degrees, depending on the salinity of course, and the top 4-6 feet of Camden Harbor up near our berth is brackish meaning that the salinity is greatly reduced by the outflow of the waterfall. The day before this picture was taken there was no ice to speak when I walked down the beach to get aboard the schooner. I remember standing on the shore looking over at the schooners and marveling at how ice-free the harbor was. The stiff northwest wind and the waterfall stirred the harbor enough to keep things open but as soon as the cold Arctic air came in behind and the wind stopped blowing the stage was set for ice.

The air temperature was 12 below zero both Friday and Saturday morning. The steel Coast Guard vessel pictured here came through late Friday afternoon and we watched as she shouldered her way through ice 1.5” thick in places. Very slowly she made a single swath down the east Wayfarer side passing just astern of Mary Day at the head of the harbor and then out the west side by the town docks and the yacht club. I am not sure how many boats are actually trying to move these days but we do see the occasional lobster boat coming and going. In another week all that ice may be gone as quickly as it arrived.

Our dear friend Maggie tells us of the days when she was a little girl in Camden. Her father would not let her go skating on the harbor with the other kids. Daring young skaters and fisherman checking their boats would walk across the ice carrying long poles held horizontally. Were one to break through you could catch yourself from going all the way through. I have walked on the ice around the schooner holding tight to the cover skirt. If only we could paint during the winter working on the schooner’s topsides from the ice would be so much easier than standing on a paint float.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Oh Captain, Oh Captain, Please Don’t Rumba!

Good morning everyone. Another 6” of snow fell this weekend and we took a few hours to enjoy the wonders of winter here in New England skiing in the woods. The full Wolf Moon on Saturday causing astronomical high tides plus a 1’ tidal surge brought by the low pressure system meant we had tides over the bulkhead in Camden. At low tide just the opposite happens and the tides dip well below normal. I was able to step to the docks from the beach and get aboard the schooner on Friday after work and all was well.

I had an interesting email this morning from a wonderful gentleman looking for a vacation to replace a now defunct “windjammer” sailing experience that formerly sailed in the Caribbean. He sent us a very humorous swashbuckling note, complete with colorful pirate party images, wondering if we might be able to fill the void, complete with canons and limbo parties and would the captain be leading the rumba line? I regretted to tell him that we probably did not offer the booty he was looking for. When I think of images to share with folks about our windjammer sailing experience they actually include sails, and lots of them. Now I will tell you, as I told him, the show here is not the captain. That’s for sure! When I lead the rumba line most folks think I have a seizure disorder. The Maine coast and the sailing are the show and I do my best to get out of the way and let folks relax as they see fit. I enjoy seeing folks reconnect with nature and with friends, new and old, while watching some of the most spectacular scenery in the world pass by. I really have to thank my swashbuckling friend for his thought provoking email because he reminded of what makes a Maine windjammer experience so different and so unique. 131 days until we sail… not that we are counting.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Do It Yourself New Year

Good morning everyone and a Happy New Year to you all. Things have been busy as you might imagine with two small children, the Christmas holiday and school vacation (all 16 days of it!). The holiday season is always an emotional roller coaster around here. Seeing family and friends is, of course, the highlight of it all and the many cards we received from guests are so greatly appreciated.

Now we are back to the grindstone. I am working at the local boat yard these days, a job I started just before Christmas. I am thankful to have winter work to bring the ends a little closer together. I am working with former Mary Day crewmember Brad and our fisherman friend Les to replace the stem structure in a very old motor yacht. That leaves Jen at home single handing the global headquarters for the schooner as well as the myriad family logistics. There are just not enough hours in the day which combined with the holidays should explain the absence of the blog.

The New Year seems to be starting with a ‚Äúdo-it-yourself‚Äù theme, a practice that makes these windjammers possible. I spent this past weekend working on my truck replacing the window regulators (these cable drive gizmos that make the windows go up and down had broken on the same day while plowing snow). I replaced the battery, fixed the windshield washer unit and rotated the tires. I also had to fix the hydraulic pump by tearing apart the back end of our 1941 Ford 9N tractor we use to move yawl boats and trailers around our tight dooryard. What is it in the universe that causes so many things to go on the fritz simultaneously? Honestly, I felt like Midas, with the exception of the gold part. All is set back to rights with hardly a single air-borne wrench and no parts left over. I hope all your home handy projects go just as well. Remember Bruce’s sage advice, all you need is patience and perseverance.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good. And do it yourself.

Very cool aerial photo by the very talented (he can jump really high!) Rich Holzer of Dolphins Eye Productions.