The Maine Windjammer Association
Maine Windjammer Association Newsletter
July 2013
 / VOLUME 12  / ISSUE 7  
Smithsonian Features the Maine Windjammer Fleet

credit: Doug Mills, RCN Network
The windjammer fleet gathers in Gilkey Harbor before the Great Schooner Race.

Photographer Doug Mills was so taken with Maine’s windjammer fleet that he spent five years creating 10,000 photographs for the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Working hand in hand with the Curator of Maritime History for the Smithsonian, Doug Mills is preserving the history of the golden age of sail for generations to come with a searchable database called The Maine Windjammer Project.

credit: Doug Mills, RCN Network
The Victory Chimes, built in 1900, features prominently in the new Smithsonian collection.

Mills says, “There was a time when sail was king on the coast of Maine. The lime trade, granite and marble, lumber from virgin forests, ice and the fishing trades all employed sailing craft to move their products. The lime trade alone employed over 200 schooners in Rockland and the surrounding coastal Maine towns. On any given day, the coastal waters would be filled with these schooners delivering cargo to and from all the coastal towns. They were the lifeline for those living on the islands, delivering everything from lumber to butter.”

credit: Doug Mills, RCN Network
The Heritage struts her stuff in Penobscot Bay.

Over time, many of these vessels were used until they were completely worn out and then sold for scrap wood. Then, during the Great Depression, thousands of these boats were just abandoned where they stood and left to rot. Now, only a dozen of these historic vessels remain. They have been beautifully preserved and continue to earn their keep, sailing Penobscot Bay’s blue waters as they have for the past 100 years or more, offering passengers a once-in-a-lifetime window into the past.

credit: Doug Mills, RCN Network
The Nathaniel Bowditch was built in 1922 as a racing yacht.

All of the members in the Maine Windjammer Association applaud Mills’ efforts to share “our fleet” through the Smithsonian archives. According to Mills, he is “thrilled to have the whole archive in the Smithsonian where it will be accessible to everyone and this important history will be preserved for generations to come!” Visit The Maine Windjammer Project for more information.


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