The Maine Windjammer Association
Maine Windjammer Association Newsletter
February 2015
 / VOLUME 14  / ISSUE 2  
Schooner Gam

credit: Fred LeBlanc
Schooner Stephen Taber makes a final pass before rounding up to join the raft-up.

So what exactly is a Gam?

According to Merriam-Webster, a gam is a “visit or friendly conversation at sea.” The first known use of the term is from 1846. That’s the year that marked the start of the Mexican-American War and the same year that Elias Howe patented the sewing machine. That is also the time when windjammers were the primary mode of transportation in the United States. Carrying cargos such as rum, lumber, and sugar, the windjammers played an essential role in the development of the young country’s burgeoning economy. While out at sea, Captains would often meet each other to trade information, discuss the latest news and share a few laughs.

While much has changed since 1846 – for example, windjammers now carry passengers, not cargo – there are some things that simply haven’t: those friendly visits to exchange news and laughs are still happening and now, windjammer guests can join in.

credit: Phil Dunn
Once a season, the entire MWA fleet gathers for the Schooner Gam, this year scheduled for June 8th.

Today’s Schooner Gam

Nowadays, the Schooner Gam is an opportunity for guests to see a fleet of traditional sailing vessels and imagine what life might have been like 150 years ago. Kicking off the windjammer sailing season on June 8th, the annual Schooner Gam is a favorite among captains and guests alike.

credit: Castlebay
Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee will perform the first set at the 2015 Schooner Gam, serenading guests with songs, stories and music from the Maine Coast and the Celtic Lands.


credit: Charlie Nobles
Once again, the Charlie Nobles and crewmembers from the fleet will be performing an acoustic set on deck, with soulful slide guitar, spicy Cajun accordion, sweet blues harmonica, and a full rhythm section.

Once the raft is secure, guests can take a tour of all the vessels and see for themselves the care and attention to detail that has gone into preserving these historic vessels – many of them for more than a century. Everyone is invited to enjoy a grog toast before the music begins…this year with Castlebay and the Charlie Nobles—sign up with the American Eagle and Stephen Taber, respectively, if you want to enjoy their music all week long!

For more information about booking a cruise and participating in the Schooner Gam, click here.

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