Maine Windjamming - What Is It?|
Unlike sea kayaking or
whitewater rafting, the term windjamming doesn't readily describe what
it is. In a nutshell, windjamming is sailing, but it's also so much more than
just a sailing adventure. It's the real deal - historic schooners retracing
sailing routes of yesteryear all with a serious Yankee flair.
Windjamming is a
sailing adventure, but we aren't talking about propelling your body through
space at experimental speeds or the need to be in top physical shape to survive
a week of so called vacation. Windjamming is about thrilling at the wind
on your face and the feel of the boat under your feet, hauling up immense
stretches of canvas and at the end of the day watching the glorious sun set
behind the rugged mountains. The reason these trips are an adventure is that
they are a unique, outdoor trip best described as soft camping on the water.
They aren't party boat cruises either, we're talking Maine Windjammer, a
special fleet of boats unique to Maine, many of whom had a past life as a cargo
vessel carrying supplies up and down the East Coast and beyond.
So what do you do on a
windjammer? Well, you get involved in every aspect of the running of the
boat (unless you don't want to), soak up the pristine beauty of the Coast of
Maine and feast on the best of hearty, earthy fare. Everyone to be a part of
the operation of the boat from coiling lines to raising sails, from helping in
the galley to taking a turn at the wheel. After the excitement of getting
underway and the decks are tidied, all settle in. Some start that book they've
been itching to read, others a needlepoint project, more are seen back on the
quarter-deck, learning a bit of navigation or listening to a story of the
Captain's many adventures at sea. Others still are found with binoculars,
watching the marine and bird life and hoping to see a whale.
We sail where the wind and
tide take us and experience freedom from everyday noises and distractions. We
throw itineraries to the wind, anchoring in a different harbor every night and
one evening enjoying a traditional lobster bake on the beach, Maine-style!
Winding our way through the islands of Penobscot Bay, the cacophony of our home
and work places slip away and enjoyment in a simpler life takes it's place. The
sight of lighthouses, pink-granite islands and colorful sunrises, the smell of
fresh bread just out of the oven or freshly brewed coffee from the wood stove,
all are part of your trip on a windjammer.
At the risk of sounding
like a Maxwell House International Coffee commercial, here are a few
experiences to encounter during a week of windjamming:
- The anticipation of an
exciting day's sail and the quiet rest after an exciting day's sail
- The movement of the
boat through the water.
- The smells: the sea and
salt and pine spruce trees and rugosa roses.
- The thrill of watching
an eagle in flight (even if we've seen it a hundred times).
- Sounds of laughter and
music and nature.
- Rosy cheeks from sun
and wind. Warm cozy sweaters and caramelized apple tarts.
- Watching the fog roll
in at the end of the day.
- Stillness... morning and
evening. Quiet like you never hear in urban and suburban environs. Ripples on
the water in an otherwise glass calm harbor.
- Nostalgia; romance;
kerosene lanterns; varnished pine and rich, hearty, earthy food.
- No dressing for
dinner, no rush, no computers, no in your face vacation, no traffic, no
concrete, no deals, no need to impress.
Many of the boats in the
Maine windjammer fleet are family run businesses.
Most are husband and wife
teams and some even raise their families on board. Over half of the fleet are
National Historic Landmarks. And a few, built in the 1800's are about to head
into their third century. From May to October groups of people join us as our
guests for a week of sailing, sight-seeing and nature-watching. Our quiet
adventures travel from Boothbay, Maine to Bar Harbor, Maine. The accommodations
are simple and your meals, the best of new and old-world styles, are prepared
by a trained chef.Contributed By: Schooner J. & E. Riggin
Schooner J. & E. Riggin" Windjamming Cruises.