"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

September 3, 2016

Camden Windjammer Festival

Lyman Morse Mooring
We've had a beautiful week in Camden and we've enjoyed starting our morning sitting in the flybridge watching the harbor come alive. What an amazing view and today was the best day of all. We had a front row seat, as the harbor got ready to receive some of the most magnificent ships in the area. Camden Harbor is home to ten windjammers...you can take a two-hour cruise or sail out of the harbor for a week. The day cruises came and went all day, but the bigger schooners began filling the harbor round noon. Many of the older ships have no engines and they were maneuver into place by small push boats and dinghies. It's the largest gathering of schooners in North America.

The festival had activities going on along the waterfront and I even took the launch over to look around, but I found out quickly the best place to see the ships arrive was on the deck of The Pearl. So I didn't stay on shore for very long. These beautiful sailing ships arrived all afternoon and filled the harbor. There was a time when hundreds of these ships filled the harbor every day. Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, builders launched everything from great clipper ships to smaller coastal schooners from shipyards in the inner harbor, while the turn of the century saw crews on the east side of the harbor creating the greatest oceangoing ships of the Great Age of Sail, including the six-masted George W. Wells. For nearly a century Camden Harbor was crowded year-round with moored schooners, Friendship sloops, and scows awaiting their next cargo to be brought to Boston, Philadelphia, or the West Indies. These amazing sailing ships served as the eighteen-wheelers of their time and the festival is held to remind everyone of those glory days.

Ships from right to left: Brier PatchBloodhound, Mercantile, Grace Bailey, Heritage.
 Grace BaileyBuilt in Patchogue, New York in 1882, the Grace Bailey was engaged in the West Indian trade, and hauling timber and granite until 1940, when she started carrying passengers. This 80' coaster was the flagship for the original Maine Windjammer Cruise fleet. 
Victory ChimesBuilt in 1900 in Bethel, Delaware to carry lumber up and down the shallow bays and rivers of the Chesapeake, the 132' schooner Victory Chimes is the last 3-masted schooner on the East coast, and the largest passenger sailing vessel under U.S. flag. 
Stephen Taber : The Stephen Taber was built as a coasting schooner in 1871 on Long Island, New York. The 68' schooner is the oldest documented sailing vessel in continuous service in the United States, and she was recently designated as a National Historic Landmark.
AngeliqueThe 95' ketch-rigged Angelique was built specifically for the windjamming trade in 1980. Patterned after the 19th century sailing ships that fished off the coast of England, the Angelique was built for safety, and offers the unique feature of a deckhouse salon.
 HeritageThe Heritage was built in 1983 by her owners at the North End Shipyard in Rockland, Maine. Designed for the comfort of her passengers, the vessel was built in the tradition of a 19th century coaster. 
Lazy Jack IIThe 58-foot Lazy Jack II is a gaff-rigged schooner built in Hope, Maine and launched in 2004. Its lines originate from L.F. Herreshoff's Mobjack which was a predecessor to the famous Ticonderoga. 
Lewis R. FrenchLaunched in 1871 in Christmas Cove, Maine, the Lewis R. French is the oldest commercial schooner in the USA, and was recently designated a National Historic Landmark. This season marks the 64' coasting schooner's 139th summer in Maine. 
Mary Day and Lewis R. French 
 Prophet: After 9,000 hours of labor, Captain Tom's handiwork is clearly evident in this Pinky schooner, Prophet. A true labor of love, just about everything on board has been hand crafted by this talented woodworker who lives aboard, year round, in Camden harbor.
Appledore II, Appledore and Surprise 
 J&E RigginA national historic land-mark, the J&E Riggin was built in 1927 in Dorchester NJ for the oyster dredging trade. In 1977 she was rebuilt for passenger sail. Known for her eco-friendly and culinary travel, she is the only Maine windjammer to be awarded the environmental leadership award from the state of Maine.
A video of the arrival of Victory Chimes...notice how close they are to the front of our boat.

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