June 30, 2014
MWA Launches Schooner Kids Program

credit: Bridget Rolfe
Thirty members of Portland’s SailMaine and Boys Club programs joined the Schooner Isaac H. Evans as part of the Schooner Kids daysail.

This month, the Maine Windjammer Association was pleased to join Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors in co-hosting the 1st annual Schooner Kids Daysail for young Maine sailors. Captains John Foss of the American Eagle and Brenda Thomas of the Isaac H. Evans welcomed approximately 80 kids and chaperones from the Rockland Community Sailing program, Boy Scouts and Portland’s SailMaine organization for a three-hour sail in Penobscot Bay.

credit: Meg Maiden

Captain John Foss (left) and John Hanson (right) enjoy time at the helm as the American Eagle passes the Rockland Breakwater Light.

The brainchild of John K. Hanson, publisher of MBH&H, and the Maine Windjammer Association, Schooner Kids is a program designed to give young people with an interest in sailing a chance to learn the ropes aboard Maine’s traditional windjammers.

credit: Meg Maiden
Teamwork! Five-year-old twins Audrey and Carver take a turn at the American Eagle’s wheel under the watchful eye of Deckhand Christa Miller-Shelley.

Ranging in age from five to 15, this year’s Schooner Kids were encouraged to participate in all aspects of sailing with the goal of introducing them to traditional sailing skills aboard an historic windjammer. The young sailors got lessons in man-overboard drills, hands-on experience raising and lowering sails, steering, tying knots, plus a chance to test their sea legs on the American Eagle’s 39-foot bowsprit.

credit: Meg Maiden
All hands on deck to furl the mainsail!

While all of the children had sailing experience with either Opti or 420 sailboats, few had ever stepped foot on a large traditional vessel like the American Eagle or Isaac H. Evans. Getting the next generation of sailors onto the water via Schooner Kids is a great way to inspire young people who might someday want to pursue a career in the windjammer industry. Captains John and Brenda were pleased to share their National Historic Landmark vessels with these young sailors from our state.

credit: Meg Maiden
The American Eagle sports a large bowsprit (with safety nets) that is a magnet for kids who want to get their sea legs.

For more information about Maine’s historic windjammers, please visit our website.

Published by Maine Windjammer Association
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