The Maine Windjammer Association
Maine Windjammer Association Newsletter
March 2017
 / VOLUME 17 / ISSUE 3
Crushing on Schooner Stephen Taber

credit: Maggie Keenan
Like father like son. Captain Noah and Oscar work the lines on schooner Stephen Taber.

Few people can say that they were born into windjamming, but for Captain Noah, that’s just how it went. We sat down with him to learn more about his beloved Taber and windjamming – two of his favorite topics.

Maine Windjammer Association: How did you get started in the windjamming business?

Captain Noah Barnes: My dear sainted parents bought the Stephen Taber when I was 6. I’m the only resident schooner brat who actually stuck it out! I sailed with them through my early teens at which point I realized I did not want to spend all summer long with my parents. Not that they’re not terrific people… It’s just that I knew they’d be gone and there was this house in town and I knew I would be mostly unsupervised.

Then, I went away for 12 years and tried a bunch of other stuff. Windjamming definitely gets at my need to do something physical. I have an incredible need for serious outdoor time. And I love to entertain. My favorite thing to do before owning the Taber was to throw a dinner party. Now I get to throw a dinner party that lasts 6 days. I love it.

credit: Courtesy Schooner Stephen Taber
Captain Noah Barnes (center) is in his element when surrounded by music, friends, good food and great sailing.

MWA: What do you love about windjamming?

NB: It’s completely unscripted. It’s sort of impossible to come up with an idea of how you want it to turn out. Although many things stay the same, you have to be completely in the moment and react to the ocean and the weather and that really keeps you on your toes, from a Captain’s stand point. And it makes every week dramatically fresh. It means that, as far as hosting 500 people a year, you’ve got a different weather setting every week, and 1000 different anchorages to choose from. You can do 10 different remarkable things and the next week it can be a different set of 10 remarkable things. If that weren’t true, I’d be bored out of my skull, but I’m not.

credit: Susan Land
Captain Noah and crew affectionately refer to the Taber as the “Queen Latifah” of the windjammer fleet.

MWA: What makes the Taber so special?

NB: Boats have a personality. Taber is known as the good luck ship – you can feel it when you come on board. We call her the “Queen Latifah” of the windjammer fleet – big but sexy. She sails like a witch, tacks in a heartbeat. She’s the biggest most maneuverable boat I’ve been on. Sails like a dinghy – it’s the perfect entertaining platform. I’ve had a crush on the Taber since I was 6.

The Stephen Taber sails from Rockland, offering 3- to 6-day cruises starting May 25. For more information about all nine vessels belonging to the Maine Windjammer Association, visit


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