February 27, 2013
Windjammer of the Month: The Angelique

photo: Pamela Miller
This year, Captain Mike McHenry will celebrate his 28th season aboard Angelique.

Easy going and genial, Captain Mike McHenry has a ready smile and a relaxed demeanor as he welcomes passengers aboard. He began sailing at the age of 5 as captain of an 8-foot sailing pram along the gentle shores of his home in Connecticut. Little did he know that he would spend 28 years as captain of a windjammer along Maine’s rugged coast and sharing his love of the sea with thousands of passengers.

“I was always a sailing nut. I came at it from the pleasure boating angle but then to become involved in the traditions and roots of sailing was fascinating to me – there’s so much to learn. I wanted to become involved in a traditionally rigged vessel – not some kind of fancy yacht with push button this and push button that. I wanted to captain a vessel that was earning her keep.” Like vessels from the golden age of sail, every Maine windjammer earns her keep.

photo: Jackie Normile
Angelique rounds the Rockland Breakwater during a parade of sail. Her distinctive red sails are dramatic and outstanding.

Captain Mike took the helm of the Angelique 28 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He and wife, Lynne, raised two kids aboard the vessel and have loved the rhythm of the seasons that windjamming affords. During the summer, he’s on the water and sharing what he’s learned about the outdoors. He calls himself an armchair naturalist and can point out all kinds of flora and fauna to the great delight of his guests.

An avid outdoorsman, Captain Mike spends the winter outside as much as possible. In particular, he loves back-country skiing and sets at least 100 days out as his goal every year.

Mention the Angelique, and you immediately get a sense of the deep love Captain Mike has for the only ketch in the fleet. Always humble and understated, Captain Mike says, “She’s a good sailboat. Very predictable, wide decks, with lots of community space on board. She’s a fun boat to sail. The thing is, when you get some wind, you don’t want a boat that has two left feet. She needs to be nimble and stout and the Angelique has no surprises. Give her a gust of wind and she’ll lean into it – very predictable.”

photo: Nan Turner
Angelique leads the pack.

But what makes windjamming so satisfying to him? Mike says, “It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle choice. When we got the boat we thought we’d be in ten years, and now we’re at 27. This is what I do.”

Every Angelique cruise sees a diverse group of passengers – from all over and all ages. His passengers tend to love the great outdoors and being in nature. He likes providing them with a step back in time and knowing that the vessel he loves could become a part of someone’s vacation. “I think it’s important for people to get away from things and experience something different.

“So much depends on the crew – when you’ve got a great crew, they make it easy on you. I’ve been lucky with a great crew for the last few years. I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of longevity with cooks and crew over the years because so much of what we do is provide good food and great service. Now, here we are, gearing up for year number 28 and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!”

Check out Captain Mike’s website for details about his 2013 season, or visit our Fleet page for more information about all ten vessels in the Maine Windjammer Association.

Published by Maine Windjammer Association
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