The Maine Windjammer Association
Maine Windjammer Association Newsletter
May 2017
 / VOLUME 17 / ISSUE 5
Lighthouses Along the Way

credit: courtesy of Captains Jen Martin and Barry King

Windjammer guests are rewarded on every cruise with close-up views of some of Maine’s mid-coast lighthouses. Some of the lighthouses may even be toured. Pictured here, from left to right:

Hockamock Head Light is located at the entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan's Island. Goose Rocks Light, located in the Fox Islands Thorofare, is an example of a caisson-style lighthouse. Bass Harbor Head, located on Mount Desert Island, is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine. Pumpkin Island Light, now privately owned, marks the western entrance to Eggemoggin Reach.


~ Written by Captain Paul DeGaeta,
co-owner of Schooner Victory Chimes
and member of the Maine Windjammer Association

The nine vessels in the Maine Windjammer Association fleet provide the opportunity for the average person to discover the perspective that made lighthouses famous—that is from the deck of a sailing ship. Camera buffs, artists or poets say there’s no better view.

"I love the remoteness of the light on Mt. Desert Rock (1830/47) and Saddleback Ledge (1839) Lights," said Capt. Brenda Thomas of the Schooner Isaac H. Evans who has logged 14 lighthouses in a single cruise. "Those are lights that folks can't hop in their car and go see but they can see on a windjammer cruise."

For many years, Captain Thomas served on the executive board of the Friends of the Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light (1902), so it’s no mystery which lighthouse is her favorite: "I'd have to say it’s the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. It’s the destination for our Maine Windjammer Parade and we anchor nearby so all of our guests can go ashore to tour the light. It's also one of the lighthouses that we can get really close to."

Rockland, "The Windjammer Capitol of the World," also features the Maine Lighthouse Museum that houses the largest collection of lighthouse lenses in the United States. The American Lighthouse Foundation and Lighthouse Digest Magazine are also Maine-based.

Captains Doug and Linda Lee have a fondness for Burnt Coat Harbor Light (1872) also called Hockamock Head Light. “It’s a short and invigorating walk from one of our favorite anchorages in Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan's Island," said Capt. Linda Lee of Heritage. "The view is spectacular. It's a nice place to watch the stars pop out on a mild fall evening."

The Lees also suggest an early morning row across the remote and pristine harbor, to see Hockamock Head Light and all the wildlife as you quietly row along.

Captains Barry King and Jennifer Martin of Mary Day, enjoy Fort Point Light (1836/57). "The cultural history of the fort and the light are great," said Captain Martin. "The ranger, Terry Cole, actually served in the CG as a keeper at that light years ago. He is well versed and enjoys folks visiting the park. To the best of my experience and knowledge, Fort Point is one of the more complete light stations in our neck of the woods with its original bell tower, bell and 4th order Fresnel lens."

It isn’t always aesthetics that connect people to lighthouses, many times it’s the stories. Captain John Foss of the American Eagle loves Saddleback Ledge Light in Isle au Haut Bay.

"It is exposed, ugly and curiously a gathering place for sea ducks," he said. "According to one of the lighthouse keepers it is the only light whose prisms have been damaged by a big Eider Drake (Duck) as he crashed through the glass and put out the light during a winter storm."

Benjamin Franklin claimed, "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." Captain Kip Files of the Victory Chimes takes another perspective. "They all add something to the mariner’s soul," said Captain Files. "Each lighthouse has its own story about the Maine coast. Like old timers watching our bay and coastline they provide a link to days gone by. Sometimes as I sail by, I think about all those who sailed before us searching for that beacon as they returned from the Seven Seas. The stories those lights could tell!"


Lighthouses and schooners go hand in hand: Pemaquid Light and the Schooner Victory Chimes are depicted on every Maine state quarter.


Capt. Files is particularly fond of Pemaquid Point Light (1827/35). Victory Chimes is the vessel sailing by the Pemaquid Light on the Maine state quarter minted in 2003. This was the first piece of US currency to feature a lighthouse. Captain Files was one of the guest speakers the day the US Mint introduced the quarter to the Maine public with the Pemaquid Light as a backdrop.


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