November 28, 1979
"Last winter I spent a month putting all the ideas on the drawing board. Everything that a Penobscot Bay windjammer should have and big enough to go anywhere. The result, three sets of lines later, countless hours, lots of money spent, is the Heritage we will build—93 tons, 93’ x 24’ x 8’, with a centerboard, two topmasts, main topsail, and flying jib. It’s beautiful but such a long way away. We’ll get there somehow.
—from Doug Lee's Journal
This year marks the Heritage's
25th anniversary. Designed and built in 1983 by her owners Captains Doug and Linda Lee, the Heritage
is the newest sailing schooner in the Maine fleet. She is a “coasting schooner,” which means she was built to be rugged, roomy and shallow enough to go anywhere. A century ago, thousands of these “coasters” could be seen sailing up and down the Eastern Seaboard, carrying everything from granite and lumber to fish and Christmas trees. Now there are fewer than a dozen coasting schooners afloat.
The Lees were no strangers to windjamming before undertaking the monumental task of building their own 94’ wooden schooner. After several years of running the windjammer Isaac H. Evans, Captain Doug Lee recalls, “we were outgrowing the vessel and wanted a bigger schooner.” Since they already owned and operated a shipyard with fellow windjammer captain John Foss, they had the perfect location to build a schooner from scratch.
The project took four years, 100,000-board-feet of lumber, 5 tons of ironwork and metal fastenings, two miles of rope, and 5,000-square-feet of canvas. During the summers, the Lees would sail the Evans, then spend all winter working with other schooner captains and crewmembers on the Heritage. The result is a magnificent hand-crafted schooner that is comfortable yet captures the feeling of a 19th-century working schooner.
The Heritage has full headroom below decks with accommodations for 30 guests and 10 crewmembers. A spacious galley features hanging plants and a skylight that keeps the dining space light and airy; kerosene lamps lend a comfortable coziness in the evening. The Heritage is an all-sail vessel. The only engine is in the yawl boat that can push the schooner when the wind won’t.
Another unique feature of the Heritage is her crew. Not only are the Lees sailing the next generation of schooner, they are often sailing with the next generation of schooner captains. Daughters Clara and Rachel have sailed aboard the Heritage every summer since they were infants. They're adults now and out on their own but come back and sail as crew whenever they can, adding a twist to the old adage: a family that sails together stays together.
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