It’s hard to believe, but the end of our sailing season is close at hand. It’s been a great summer and it has just . . . well, “sailed” by!
There are still five weeks of cruises left before the windjammers bring their season to its finale, and there are opportunities for you to join Lighthouse Cruises, Wine-Tasting Cruises, Coastal Clean-up Cruises, and Fall-Foliage Cruises. If you enjoy a schooner gam, you will want to join us for the week of September 8th when the fleet gathers in WoodenBoat Harbor for the 22nd Annual WoodenBoat Sail-In; music by a steel drum band, refreshments, tours of WoodenBoat, and other activities make this a favorite trip near the end of the season.
In September each year the state of Maine celebrates Coastweek. Coastal Cleanup is Coastweek’s main event and an opportunity for the members of the Maine Windjammer Fleet to join thousands of volunteers from around the world in a unified international effort to remove debris from our coastlines. According to the Ocean Conservancy’s website: “Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup is the world’s largest volunteer event of its kind. Last year, 378,000 volunteers from 76 countries and 45 states cleared six million pounds of trash from oceans and waterways and recorded every piece of trash collected.” Maine’s Coastweek is September 20th-27th this year, and many of the windjammers have scheduled Coastal Cleanup Cruises for that week or the week immediately preceding. Coastal cleanup is an every-day practice for the captains in the Maine Windjammer Fleet, who are conscientious about leaving the island beaches they visit cleaner than they found them. During Maine’s Coastweek, however, special Coastal Cleanup trash bags are provided and guests are urged to comb the beaches for all the flotsam and jetsam they can possibly find. Data sheets are also distributed so that beachcombing “treasures” can be recorded and forwarded to the Ocean Conservancy and to the State of Maine Coastal Program for analysis of the marine debris. Once analyzed, the collected data is used to identify sources of the debris and to find solutions for preventing it.
Late summer—or early autumn—is a glorious time in Maine, and a photographer’s dream; there’s a sparkle and clarity to the light that begs to be captured through the camera lens. The water is a deeper, glistening blue, rimmed by a shoreline awash with color. You’ll enjoy leaf peeping from your car as you drive to meet us here in the midcoast area, and you’ll gaze at sprays of yellow, bursts of orange, and patches of crimson as you sail past Camden’s hills and points further Down East on one of our Fall-Foliage Cruises.
September is a “blowy” month and sailing on some days can be pretty hard against the wind; if you are fortunate to be sailing on one of our windjammers during these final weeks of the season you’ll soon know just why they came to be called “wind-jammers”! Getting doused with sea spray as the bow plunges through swelling surf, hanging on breathlessly as the boat heels deeply enough for the sea to meet the decks through the scuppers . . . what a thrill! If you like the feel of the wind through your hair, this is the time for it! All of the captains agree that September is the best month for sailing on Penobscot Bay; there’s a lot of tacking and jibing when there’s a good head o’ wind, and it can be an exciting adventure for guests who enjoy handling lines and helping to sail these historic tall ships.
Not every day brings a good blow with it, however; many days are warm and sunny, and several of the captains take advantage of the sparkling afternoons to have their island Lobster Bakes at noon instead of waiting until the evening. A noon-time lobster bake is always a great time; it’s a relaxed picnic with the sun still high in the sky and plenty of time to swim or hike or row before returning to your vessel for the afternoon’s sail to a peaceful evening anchorage. Harbors are quiet after Labor Day; summer residents have hauled their boats from the water and, just as you delight in driving roads that are empty of a lot of tourist traffic, the windjammer captains are happy to have the bay pretty much to themselves!
When the sun sets and darkness shrouds the rigging, it may actually still be early by the clock and not quite time to retreat to your cabin. It’s a perfect opportunity to do some star gazing because the clear, late-summer skies are thick with twinkling stars. Schooner Heritage offers a Fall Sailing and Star-Filled Nights Cruise on September 27th; Captain Linda Lee is well schooled in astronomy and enjoys pointing out constellations, planets and stars. Other schooners offer musical entertainment after the sun has streaked its last pinky-purple across the sky. You might like to join the Stephen Taber for her Music and Story-Telling Cruise from October 1st through 4th. Captain Noah Barnes’ parents, Captain Ellen and Captain Ken, make a brief comeback to the decks of the Taber to lead the evenings’ songfests and to tell sea-faring stories.
These are perfect moments: waking in the early morning to the smell of wood smoke and coffee perking . . . strolling along a beach devoid of trash . . . skipping rocks across a glistening, peaceful cove . . . thrilling to Mother Nature’s paintbrush splatters across the hillsides . . . helping a hardworking crew man the stays’l and jib sheets . . . relaxing on deck after an exciting day of hard sailing . . . delighting in an evening repast cooked to perfection on an old black woodstove . . . singing along to well-known sea chanteys and folk tunes . . . listening to stories the captain reads by the golden glow of a kerosene lantern . . . gathering ‘round the comfy woodstove in a cozy galley to play cards or to just sit and chat . . . gazing at a loosely woven blanket of stars overhead . . .
Why don’t you plan to join us for perfect moments like these . . . and so many more! Schedules are available online or you can request a packet of brochures from all 12 members.
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION]