The Maine Windjammer Association
Maine Windjammer Association Newsletter
July 2017
 / VOLUME 17 / ISSUE 7
Spotlight: Lewis R. French

credit: John Williams
The Lewis R. French has been sailing Maine waters for 147 years. That’s right…one hundred forty-seven years!

Launched in 1871, the Lewis R. French may be the oldest commercial sailing vessel in the United States – a registered National Historic Landmark ­–­ but she is also comfortable, boasts ultra-modern navigation equipment and has a full galley where “our professional crew prepares delicious homemade meals, desserts and hors d'oeuvres all day long.” Captain Garth Wells has been sailing the French since 1998 and has loved every minute. “The coolest thing is sailing along Maine’s spectacular coast. The views are gorgeous!”


Captains Garth Wells and Jenny Tobin take great pride in owning and operating the French, America’s oldest working schooner.


The moment you make a reservation with co-owner Jenny Tobin in the office, you know you’re in good hands. On the day of your arrival, the mate and friendly crew will welcome you aboard and get your things stowed away in preparation for your safe adventure. Every trip is completely different and can include anything from sailing up to the fjord at Somes Sound to renting kayaks near Stonington. Captain Garth carries three smaller boats ­– a yawl, a wherry and a peapod ­– and is happy to give a quick rowing or sailing lesson to anyone interested in poking around a protected harbor at the end of a great day sailing.


credit: Theresa Stutzman
Jumping ship? No way, guests just love the Schooner Lewis R. French!


Captain Garth also enjoys rafting up with other windjammers in the Association. “It’s cool that all these historical vessels tie up and you can walk from boat to boat. Each one has a slight variation on the theme of a traditional schooner and you can get a feel for how and why a boat would be laid out to carry a specific type of cargo. Passengers really think it’s neat.”

For more information about sailing or chartering the Lewis R. French or other windjammers in the fleet, click our website.

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