Article from Maine Windjammer Association August 2018 Newsletter ()
January 26, 2014
Mystic Seaport Names Kip Files 22nd Captain of the Charles W. Morgan

Captain Kip Files was recently selected as the new captain of the 19th-century whaleship Charles W. Morgan. His responsibilities include hiring crew and preparing the vessel for her 38th voyage this summer. He and co-owner Captain Paul DeGaeta will continue to operate the Victory Chimes all season long, offering 3- to 6-day cruises out of Rockland from June through September.


All of the captains in the Maine Windjammer Association have found unique ways to spend their time ashore during the off-season – one plays on a hockey team, one is a firefighter and still others play in a rock band – and the Victory Chimes’ Captain Kip is no exception: he is in charge of preparing Mystic Seaport’s recently renovated Charles W. Morgan to embark on a 6-week historic voyage through southern New England waters this summer.


Having spent his life sailing, captaining and maintaining traditional ships, it’s not surprising that Captain Kip would be asked to lead such an important historical vessel.


According to Mystic Seaport president Steve White, “There are very few people in the world with the knowledge and experience of traditional square-rigged sailing necessary to do this job. Kip is one of those people and we are confident we have found the right person to lead the ship.”


credit: Courtesy Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport compiled these photographs of some of the Morgan's captains, as well as these thoughts: 1. Facial hair may have been a determining factor in the hiring process. 2. There is a look that each one of these men has that either says, "I've seen some things out there on the water" or, "Get that camera away from me." 3. For the simple fact of historical continuity, our new captain needs a better hat.


Like the Victory Chimes, the Charles W. Morgan is a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1841, the Morgan started life as a traditional whaler, logging 37 voyages over the course of 80 years. Now, this American icon gives knowledge and insight into an important chapter in the American maritime tradition. For her 38th voyage, Captain Files will take her to many ports throughout New England where she will be open to the public for tours and daysails.

credit: Courtesy Mystic Seaport
According to Mystic Seaport, the Charles W. Morgan "is known as a 'lucky ship,' having successfully navigated crushing Arctic ice, hungry cannibals, countless storms, Cape Horn roundings and, after she finished her whaling career, even the Hurricane of 1938."

Says Captain Kip, “For someone who has made his living with traditional vessels this is quite an honor. (These voyages) will be some of the most significant maritime events in my lifetime, and I feel privileged and humbled to be part of this.”

Over the past 25 years, Captain Kip has welcomed thousands of windjammer guests to Maine aboard his traditional three-masted schooner, Victory Chimes. This season, he’ll continue to operate the Chimes whenever the Morgan is docked; Co-owner Captain Paul DeGaeta and First Mate Robert Wheeler will fill in while Kip’s aboard the Morgan.

In the off-season, Captain Kip also travels to Galveston, Texas, where he is the primary captain of the 207-foot barque Elissa that is owned and operated by the Galveston Historical Foundation and Texas Seaport Museum. 

For more information about the Victory Chimes and the rest of the Maine Windjammer Association fleet, please visit our website.

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