Springtime along the Maine coast is a wondrous time of year. After 6 snowy months under cover the windjammer fleet begins to emerge from its winter slumber and one by one the boats emerge from their cocoons.
Crews put in long days getting the vessels in shape. People stop us along the street to compliment how beautiful the boats look with fresh coats of paint and varnish. The shipyards and chandleries are bustling with activity.
And after all the topmasts are rigged and block and halyards are run aloft the sails finally come aboard. Ours are coming straight from the sail maker‚Äôs loft where they have spent the winter having every inch of seam and every cringle inspected.
Watching the mainsail carried down the dock like a caterpillar and finally bent on to the wooden mast hoops is a little humorous as the floats sink under the weight of thousands of square feet of canvas all rolled up like a sausage.
Staysails and jibs are bent on to traditional steel hanks with marline that lends a particular pine tar perfume to the air and the callused hands of the crew. Like an insect pheromone the pine tar lets our bodies know it is time to go sailing soon‚Ä¶. very soon.
About now the vessels are getting ready for the annual rigorous Coast Guard inspection. Hours of training and hard work will be put to the test. We will work through the weekends sprucing up the cabins, making beds, polishing the brass, double-checking the life jackets and charts. We run through emergency drills time and time again. When the Coast Guard arrives we welcome the opportunity to ‚Äúshow our stuff‚Äù.
Guests will be arriving soon and the cycle will be complete. Summer officially starts when we cast off the mooring lines and leave the harbor behind‚Ä¶ destination unknown.
And now you know a little more about how much goes on behind the scenes. Here along the Maine coast traditional sailing vessels and the crews who keep them alive are as much a part of the season as spring peepers and robins.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.