Article from Maine Windjammer Association August 2018 Newsletter ()
January 9, 2016
Windjammer Captains Honored by
USS Constitution Museum

credit: Kathy Foss
Captains John Foss, Linda Lee and Douglas Lee were recently awarded the Don Turner Award by the USS Constitution Museum for their tireless work preserving Maine’s traditional schooner fleet.

The USS Constitution Museum has bestowed its annual Don Turner award on Captains John Foss of the American Eagle and Linda Lee and Doug Lee of the Heritage.

The award recognizes people and organizations that preserve important vessels and have made significant contributions to the knowledge and understanding of ship design and construction. USS Constitution Museum President Anne Grimes Rand writes, “In bestowing the award, the museum acknowledges the captains’ long history of devotion to the sea and the many contributions they’ve made to ensuring that generations to come will be connected to our nation’s maritime past.”

As recipients of the Don Turner Award, Captains Linda and Doug Lee and John Foss (not shown) were invited to sign their names on pieces of copper sheathing that will be fastened to the bottom of the USS Constitution during the three-year restoration project that is currently underway in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

For forty years, these captains of the Maine Windjammer Association have devoted their careers to keeping traditions alive and preserving history by providing their guests with an educational experience and direct connection to this nation’s maritime heritage. Five of the Maine windjammers are National Historic landmarks and all of the windjammers are sailing vessels that rely solely on wind and tide and determine their itinerary by the weather of the day.

Captain John Foss and his Don Turner Award.

“We’d been sailing and maintaining working vessels over 40 years,” says Captain John Foss of the schooner American Eagle. “It’s always nice to be recognized and that the entire fleet be recognized for historic preservation. It’s important to underline that we’re interested in maintaining these forever. We’re not going to go out and get a new one.”

Says Captain Linda Lee of the Heritage, “It was a pleasure to go aboard the USS Constitution to see the work that had been done. We had been aboard her in the 90s and actually met Don Turner. At the time, people in charge of preserving the USS Constitution were asking about a dozen different entities who knew about maritime history and preservation to give suggestions about how best to restore her. We suggested that they not worry about the hog in the keel, but instead put sandbags in and empty them slowly so the keel would go straight – which it did. We also suggested they put a few sails on her so people would see what she would have looked like – how powerful, majestic and awe inspiring a square-rigged vessel like that could be. They did and sailed her around Massachusetts Bay one day in July. It was beautiful to see.”

Captain Foss noted that it’s significant that the award for maritime preservation has been given to people working in the private sector. “It’s hard to understand what a vessel was intended to do if it’s enshrined somewhere. Of course that’s important and good for relics and icons, but not for tools of industry like sailing vessels. We get to sail our vessels and so have a deep understanding of them which we can pass on to the next generation.”

Congratulations Captains John, Doug and Linda!

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

Published by Maine Windjammer Association
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