The Maine Windjammer Association
Maine Windjammer Association Newsletter
April 2016
 / VOLUME 15  / ISSUE 4  
2016 Special Events Update

Throughout the windjamming season, special events bring history to life when the country’s oldest fleet of commercial sailing vessels gather to race, raft up or simply provide an opportunity for guests and crews to enjoy one another’s company and to appreciate the beauty of these traditional ships.

credit: Ben Magro
The 2016 Season will feature several raft-ups of the fleet including the Schooner Gam (June 13) and Great Schooner Race (July 8).


The Schooner Gam, the first 2016 gathering of the fleet, takes place on June 13th. Gams have occurred since sailors first started plying the seas—it’s an informal gathering of ships at sea that allowed captains and crews to share news and trade stories. Here in Maine, the location of the Schooner Gam is determined by wind and tide and includes a raft up at the end of the day with all the vessels tying up side by side so passengers can take a walking tour of the entire fleet. Grog toasts and live music cap the day.

Later in the month, on June 27th, Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor is a joyous celebration of the windjamming tradition, complete with a parade of sail, shoreside music and fireworks. Schooners American Eagle and Heritage will be representing the fleet at this annual event that includes a special lobster bake on Cabbage Island. Enjoy this 12-minute video filmed during last year’s Windjammer Days event.

Playin’ Possum, a bluegrass band from South Thomaston, will provide entertainment after the Great Schooner Race Awards Ceremony on July 8.



July 8th marks the 40th anniversary of the Great Schooner Race – North America’s largest annual gathering of tall ships! This year, the fleet will raft-up in Gilkey Harbor the night before the Race. Small boat competitions amongst crew members will set the mood, with costumes and lively antics sure to entertain.

On Friday morning, after a captains meeting to determine the final course, more than a dozen traditional schooners will race to Rockland for trophies, bragging rights and just good fun. Spectators along the mile-long Breakwater will be able to view the finish line. A festive Awards Ceremony at Sharp’s Point South on the grounds of the Sail, Power & Steam Museum will include a Great Schooner Sweets buffet, awards and entertainment by Playin’ Possum.

On July 15th, the Maine Windjammer Parade past the mile-long Rockland Breakwater is a terrific opportunity to experience lighthouses, the working waterfront of Rockland and spectacular sailing. Hosted by the Maine Windjammer Association, this event attracts most of midcoast Maine’s schooners that parade from 2:00-4:00 pm to the delight of guests and spectators. Jim Sharp, director of the Sail, Power & Steam Museum will MC the event from the top of the Breakwater Light.

  The Maine Windjammer Association is proud to partner with Acadia Centennial. To celebrate the Park’s 100th Anniversary, the fleet will host the Somes Sound Windjammer Parade on August 2.


On August 2nd the MWA fleet will participate in the Somes Sound Windjammer Parade in honor of Acadia National Park’s 100th anniversary. From 2:00-4:00 pm, the windjammers will sail in company through Somes Sound beneath dramatic 600 foot cliffs. Escorted by the Corinthian Yacht Club, the fleet will tie up for the evening in Hall Quarry. Park visitors along Sargeant Drive will enjoy dramatic views reminiscent of a century ago when Acadia was founded and Maine’s schooners were a common sight along the coast.


The Camden Windjammer Festival on September 2nd features a parade of sail, schooner crew talent show and fireworks. Come join the excitement as the Town of Camden celebrates its windjamming heritage where the Mountains Meet the Sea.

credit: Robert Dennis
Onshore music and refreshments await, as guests arrive at WoodenBoat for the annual Sail-In.

The last fleetwide gathering of the season is the WoodenBoat Sail-in on September 13th in Brooklin, Maine, home to the renowned WoodenBoat School and WoodenBoat Magazine. Local refreshments, live music by Flash in the Pans Steel Drum band and tours of the school make this a fantastic way to end the season on Maine’s remote and rugged coast.

For more information about attending any of the 2016 Special Events aboard the nine vessels belonging to the Maine Windjammer Association, click here.

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