Article from Maine Windjammer Association August 2018 Newsletter ()
June 25, 2015
Anniversaries Abound Aboard Maine's Legendary Windjammers

Three of Maine’s windjammers are celebrating anniversaries this year: Angelique, American Eagle and the Victory Chimes.

credit: Fred LeBlanc
One of the newest windjammers in the fleet, Angelique celebrates her 35th anniversary this year.

The youngest of the bunch is Angelique with 35 years at sea. She was built specifically for the windjamming trade so she was built with passengers in mind. She’s a steel and wood constructed vessel and her design is based on the 19th century English Channel and North Sea fishing trawlers. For Captain Dennis Gallant, who began working on windjammers in 1993 and hasn’t looked back, owning Angelique is “a dream come true.”


credit: Blake Voss
Built as a Gloucester fishing schooner in 1930, the American Eagle celebrates her 85th anniversary this season.

Celebrating 85 years at sea, the American Eagle was initially built as the very last fishing schooner in 1930 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She made her last fishing trip in 1983 and then she was completely rebuilt for the windjamming trade and the restoration was complete in 1986. In 1991 she was designated a National Historic Landmark and is one of only a few sailing vessels licensed to make international voyages. Her new life as a windjammer lets many people see the graceful lines, solid timbers and tarred rigging that are just as they appeared three generations ago.

For Captain John Foss, who has been sailing Maine’s coast all his life, the opportunity to meet new people and expose them to Maine’s beauty and long sailing tradition has been the perfect life. “What I know is that people have such an unrealized ability for conversation. On the windjammer, we can read, tell stories, and see the sun rise. It’s an incredible opportunity to observe nature. While we’re learning about the coast and what grows there, what swims there, we learn about ourselves, where we fit in hopefully. I had a passenger some years ago who wrote in the guest book, ‘Now I can live another year in New Jersey.’”


credit: Fred LeBlanc
Built in 1900 when William McKinley was President, the Victory Chimes turns 115 this season.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, Victory Chimes slid down the ways and the people who watched were likely dressed in tea gowns with “pouter pigeon” bodices and Norfolk jackets with leather gaiters. The Chimes was built as a coastal merchant vessel and was deployed during both World Wars. In 1946, following her stint as a lookout for German U-Boats, she was converted for the passenger trade and was brought to Maine in 1962. After hosting thousands of guests – many for multiple cruises – the Chimes has become iconic and was even featured on the Maine state quarter. Says Captain Kip Files, “For me, being a windjammer captain was the right choice because I just kept coming back to these vessels and it became a lifestyle. I get to sail one of the best cruising grounds all summer long. And then windjamming is about being able to sail these great old historic vessels. And I love the people. The passengers, I love meeting them.”

While the experience of windjamming is unique, with more opportunities to see wildlife in its natural setting, to enjoy delicious meals cooked aboard a traditional woodstove and to really experience Maine’s rugged coast, each windjammer has a distinct personality. Be sure to explore each one, get to know her captain and above all else, prepare to relax!

For more information about the eight vessels in the Maine Windjammer Association, click here.

Published by Maine Windjammer Association
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