Birthdays on Bagheera!

Whether by coincidence or fate, our final sailing class of the summer had three birthdays on board! We had no choice but to end the season in style, and what a final day it was.

As the sun came up over Rockland, the schooner Alamar made landfall at the town dock and with lines made fast, it was time to depart.  The gang all pitched in with a will, giving the decks a final swab, cleaning out the bunks below, and leaving her in pristine shape for the crew to take her North again to Bucks Harbor.  We were bound South for Portland, for one last sailing adventure of our own, and it was time to say goodbye to the good ship.

With all the faces mustered on shore, Captain Jonathan gave some wonderful departing words, reminding the trainees how far they had come since Monday; they had been 'shipwrecked' together, gone for chilly morning swims, navigated the waters of Penobscot bay, handled sail and steered a schooner day after day, cooked meals, written songs, and most importantly they had looked after each other as voyaged on. To add a bit of humor to the occasion, our trainee Adam read out personalized awards to the captain, crew, and fellow shipmates. Starting any morning out with a laugh is the way to go.

With a final farewell, we piled into the 15-seat van owned by Station Maine, and driven by their Executive Director, Muriel Curtis. Muriel is a stalwart member of the Rockland waterfront community and is a Tall-Shipper from way back. She has been running Station Maine from the seaside town for fifteen years, a program that puts local teens in Cornish rowing gigs and dories to head out upon the harbor waters in the ultimate test of teamwork.  If you have ever seen a gig-rowing match, it is a sight to behold, and don't believe that the balmy temperatures of a Maine winter keep these kids ashore either. They are tough as nails and travel around the Northeast to compete in competitions as well.

With the occasional bathroom stop and a bite to eat, we finally arrived at Maine's largest city and parked up next to the Ocean Terminal. A short stroll later and we were stood beside the lovely schooner Bagheera, one of two vessels run by Portland Schooner Company from the city waterfront. Between Bagheera and the schooner Wendameen, they take locals and tourists alike out for multiple sails each day in what is a quintessential experience of the Maine coast.

Today, our students stepped aboard for free, a wonderfully generous donation from the PSC! With some overcast skies and promises of rain holding off the crowds, we had the entire boat almost completely to ourselves with only a few other passengers onboard. Our students were unceremoniously offered up as muscle for sail hoists as we pulled away from the dock and headed out onto Casco Bay. The team showed what they had learned the last few days and in no time at all we were flying under mains'l, fores'l, a stays'l and jib. Even in light airs she shot out around Bug Light and with fog laying heavily about the bay and a drizzle coming down, spirits were far from dampened.

The fly-over from a pair of MV-22 Ospreys, rotors vertical, sent all the guys shooting to the weather rail to gawk at these very cool pieces of engineering, and they vanished into the mist over the city as quickly as they had come. In between tacks the gang reminisced about the events of the week gone by and compared the two vessels, Alamar and Bagheera.

Then it was time to drop sail and head to the dock. The crew of Bagheera, an absolutely wonderful bunch of sailors, set our guys up on the halyards and with ease we had bare masts once again. The engine rumbled to life and we pointed for Maine State Pier, and with the smoothest parking job this side of Stellwagen Bank, we were back ashore. With a heartfelt 'Thank You' from our group, we disembarked at strolled the waterfront as we waited for our ferry to Peaks Island.

With three birthdays in a week, there was no way we could let it slip by without celebration and one of our trainees (and birthday celebs), Adam, invited us all to his home on Peaks for a Friday afternoon barbecue. His family had been preparing the lovely forested space all week in anticipation, and when we arrived there was a table filled with food and a grill warming up. With his mother Mary Lou deftly working the coals and turning out shish kebabs and juicy burgers, we all mucked in and started filling our plates. Teenage boys can eat a lot, but even this amount of food was a challenge for them. Adam's siblings had made delicious salads to eat and we were all stuffed in no time at all.

With a bit of swimming and ping-pong to help with digestion, everyone relaxed and enjoyed the sunny afternoon among the trees. When there was finally just enough room to fit it, out came the enormous birthday cake to celebrate the three birthday gents. Although we won't be winning any choir competitions in the near future, we had a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday,' then the candles were blown out and the cake was cut.

In between bites of cake and licks of frosting, we read aloud the Captain's log entries from the days gone by, and we even got a performance of the Shipwreck Song the group wrote to get back aboard the boat on Tuesday! With a ferry to catch, we had a last laugh and a huge amount of thanks to our hosts for throwing such a wonderful party.  Then down we went to the pier to catch our last trip out upon the bay for the week.

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As the Casco Bay Lines ferry shot back across to Portland, we relaxed on the upper deck awash in the setting sun. Once ashore, we bid our final farewells and everyone went their separate ways. It was the perfect way to end the week- a week that had seen everyone come together and pitch in to provide the experience of a lifetime. It's the community that makes sailing so much fun- everyone doing their part for a common goal-  and perhaps that's the best lesson we can take away from any time out on the water.

Taking the Helm

Day 4: August 25, 2016

This morning the sun broke on an already windy day as we sit anchored in Seal Cove. Today the students will take the lead and navigate and sail us through the rest of the fox island thoroughfare, then across west Penobscot Bay to Rockland.

Yesterday we had some top notch sailing, cutting out between the ledges that guard the western entrance of Merchant's Row, Adam navigating us between west halibut ledge and sparrow island, while Cody did an excellent job steering. We ghosted West towards the islands of North Haven and Vinalhaven. The wind died as we neared Winter Harbor and we struck the reefs from our sails.

Nick took over sailing and Adam continued to navigate us into the thoroughfare, watching for ledges and other hazards as we began to reach into the Eastern approach. Conner and Oliver shared bow watch and became our men on the foredeck, working the sheets and the headsails to get us through each tack.

Outbound we passed the schooners Heritage and Victory Chimes, and we began to beat through the thoroughfare as the wind picked up again. Ahead of us the American Eagle was two tacks ahead and it was beautiful to sail in formation with her. We picked our way among the shallows and the hazards, and the students did incredibly well. Learning the rhythm of the boat and how she sailed through a tack.

We beat our way to Iron Point then dropped down to Seal Cove, anchoring and having swim call, then late afternoon lessons. We're having a great time. We've been sailing off and on to the anchor, and these guys are sharp as tacks.

Best,
Capt. Jon

Marooned!

Day 3: August 24, 2016

Location: Anchored between Merchant and Harbor Island, in Merchant's Row.

This morning the sun rose bright on the "Hypothermians" as the trainees of the Alamar have dubbed themselves. They were ashore on Harbor Island, state owned and part of the Maine Island Trail, having braved a night of minor hardship as part of a "Shipwreck" training exercise.

Spending a night on an island in Maine is a unique and special experience, especially a small uninhabited one, and the trainees this morning were giddy when we picked them up. Happy, and ready to pass our test to get back aboard, having a name for themselves and singing a song. We've got video of the song to share later.

Yesterday we had a beautiful day of sailing, and right away the students set the sails, steering us out of a narrow Anchorage and navigating down Eggomogin Reach. Cody was a pro, taking right to the charts. Conner was sharp on sail trim, and Oliver and Adam were naturals on the helm. Nick was an excellent navigator as well. Throughout the day all the students rotated spots, alternating between steering navigating and bow watch. They're naturals!

By the midday we had reached the bottom of the reach and started taking down Jericho bay, headed for Harbor Island south of Stonington and north of Isle of Haute. They all had to learn to find the balance of sailing close hauled so we could make progress to windward, and how to steer the boat through a tack.

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They're having a great time, working as a crew, laughing and learning together, in the most beautiful place in the world, the coast of Maine.

Best,
Capt. Jon

Sailing in Paradise

For our final voyage of the season, our trainees went out sailing on the schooner Alamar from Bucks Harbor up in Penobscot Bay.  Our Captain has sailed in waters around the world, but he still counts Pen Bay as his favorite of them all. Here is his recounting of our final voyage of 2016...

Day 2: August 23, 2016

We are currently sailing on a beautiful beam reach down Eggomogin Reach, headed for an Anchorage in Merchant's Row and perhaps an island adventure.

The trainees have been fantastic, ready to chip in and work and laugh together right from the start, stowing groceries, moving on, then learning all about Alamar and our safety systems.

Last night we wound up anchored in Orcutt Harbor, then began today with a morning dip, pancakes and sailing lessons. For some non swimmers the dip was a great challenge, but everyone did really well, tho the water was certainly bracing!

After sailing lessons the trainees set the sails, then sailed us off the anchor, and now we're trading duties, eating snacks, and having a great time.

Lots of fun, jokes and smiles. Everything is going well.

Everything is great.

Best,
Capt. Jon

Lat - 41-57.05'N
Long - 70-37.08'W
Headland - Plymouth Beach

Current - Warren Cove, Plymouth Bay
Next - Buzzard's Bay anchorage

Programmatic-

The fight to the South West continues. We got an early start from Boston Harbor at 7 am. The southerly was already blowing from south-southwest and we were quickly able to put up a lot of canvas. We began the day hoping for Provincetown or Plymouth depending on which way the wind set, and once clear of the hazards around Boston we set to close hauled and saw how we could do.

The students are doing excellent. They can brace the sails, set and strike, pass the headsails. They've been cooking excellent meals and finding downtime to refresh. Shamen has taught them poker before he left, and I stuck my head below at one point yesterday afternoon to find Dolan with a pile of candy - poker chips. Sometime later I heard a shout from below, Zak had eaten Dolan's Reese's.

The wind came up sportily in the morning, we were heeled right over and moving well when Zak, bow watch at the time pointed off to starboard and said "Looks Like rain" and boy was he right.

Squall after squall hit us and we wound up sailing through various intensities of rain for the next 7 hours, taking in sail as needed, tacking into what was now wind from the south.  Provincetown was out of the question with the wind and we battled on for Plymouth, arriving in the evening in time for tacos.

The students have been amazing. Working hard and maintaining great attitudes even in the face of physical hardship, like being wet and soggy. They're thrilled by the sailing as the boat moves and have become quite adept at sailing her.

Dolan helmed us through a tack while Eva is our resident expert at sailing close hauled, as close to the wind as you can while keeping the sails full and the boat moving well. Jonathan pitches in whether steering or watching the bow, or cooking or just entertaining Dolan. Zak loves being on the head rig and the bowsprit so much that he's taken to permanently wearing a harness so he can pop out at a moment's notice. Yesterday he was wearing it over PJs, and Lydon has been an absolute rock with good cheer and a great attitude. He was on the helm through the worst of the rain and steered us into our anchorage last night as well.

Overall the trip is going well and the students are getting a lot out of it.

Best,
Jonathan

Lat - 42-19.0'N
Long- 70-53.8'W
Headland- pt Allenton

Previous- Hull Bay
Next - Provincetown

Programmatic-

Morning finds us underway out of Hull Gut and from Hull Bay and Boston Harbor. The students are feeling refreshed after some quality dinner and sleep last night. As I write Zak and Lydon are aloft shaking out the fore topsail.

Yesterday saw us sailing down to Boston with beautiful wind and sun, we were close hauled on starboard after mid morning and everyone took their turn helping. Jonathan on Port Watch really stepped up, steering and cooking and working really hard while some of his watch mates were sick.

Starboard watch (Eva Zak and Lydon) also pitched in to help. The students are doing a wonderful job sailing.

Last night we recapped our trip so far and even though it's only been a few days they were excited to see how far they had come. We're having a great time.

They're also learning to sail, Zak and Lydon love to be in the head rig, and Eva has gone out there as well. Jonathan said to me "We're kind of learning this just by doing it, it's fun" and Dolan said "More hot cocoa please," Dolan is actually quite good on the helm.

Signing off for now.

All is well.

Best,
Jonathan

Lat - 42-40.7'N
Long- 70-26.1'W
Headland- "Cape Ann"

Current - U/W
Headed - provincetown or Plymouth, depending on wx

Programmatic-

Checking in from offshore of Cape Ann and what a day! We left Casco Bay early and motor-sailed down the bay, the students made an awesome pancake breakfast then hopped to setting the sails. Zak and Jonathan (student) went aloft and helped shake the fore topsail, which we then set.

Shamen guided us out the channel steering past Portland Head Light while Lydon and Eva helped set sails and doubled as a bow watch. Dolan was right in the mix too setting and helping, and chugging hot cocoa.

They pitched in as a team to clean the boat and do morning chores, and the excitement as we got going was palpable. They're already working well together and helping take care of each other while having fun and getting the job done.

Rounding Cape Elizabeth we ran into a stiff south west breeze. We had to strike the square and do the best to windward that we could. Looking at an extremely late arrival at an anchorage and southerly winds to fight all week I made the call to head offshore, so we broke into watches and night sailing came early in the trip!

We carried on under the stars, striking sail and turning on the engine when the wind died. The students took their turns running Fritha, bow watch, steering, idle. Overhead we had the milky way, constellations and shooting stars. Eva counted 6.

The wind and waves have laid a few students low but the lower seas and winds of the night have let them bounce back. Everyone is pitching in to help those who are under the weather.

As I write the sun has yet to break the horizon and we are underway with some slightly tired but happy students.

Best,
Jonathan (Capt)

New Sailors and a Casco Bay Sunset

Captain's Log- Jonathan Steitzer

Lat - 43-42.3' N
Long- 70-12.7' W
Headland- "The Brothers"

Current - Casco Bay
Headed - Portsmouth / Isle of Shoals

Status - All's well.

Program-

Yesterday the students arrived at noon, and we welcomed them aboard and moved them on. After they were sorted into their bunks and had said their good byes we broke them into a port and starboard watch system and began organizing a menu.

They went provisioning and came back to stow the stores while we finished final prep to depart. The crew helped teach them about life onboard from how to make off a line, how to stay safe, and how to use a head.

The trainees were palpably excited and eager to get going, and when the wind died down and the final backstay had been tightened we cast off lines and headed out with the ebb tide to find a snug Anchorage.

It was only motoring, but students were quickly able to hop on the helm as we navigated through a beautiful sunset around the cans and nuns of Casco Bay. Shamen took a turn on the helm, then helped teach Dolan how to steer. Dolan held the course for awhile then passed it on to Eva, who guided us to our Anchorage.

Everyone is eager to be aboard and excited to be going, Zak was full of questions and Lydon and Jonathan helped with bow watch so we didn't pick up any pots. Once we were anchored we set up an anchor watch and settled in for a beautiful night.

I almost forgot! Dolan, Shamen and Jonathan cooked an amazing pasta dinner which everyone enjoyed.

This morning it's breakfast and cleaning then we'll get underway and head south.

Best,
Jonathan

 

 

Across the Gulf of Maine!

Captain's Log - Jonathan Steitzer

Lat - 42-51'N
Long - 70-27'W
H/L - Cape Ann

Yesterday's stay outside Provincetown provided an excellent adventure ashore for the students. They took our inflatable in accompanied by Jess from the crew. They had a great time exploring, eating ice cream and seeing a vibrant culture.

They came back to the vessel full of good spirits and enjoyed the company of another Tall Ship,  Lynx which sailed up and anchored close by.

They're all pitching in as one crew, doing the fun stuff of setting the sails and the hard work too, like cooking and cleaning and standing Anchor watches. They each bring something to the table and seem to all really value each other.

This morning we started early (4am!) to make up for lost time and they hopped right to, pitching in to set the sails and get underway, then they made amazing egg sandwiches for breakfast.

Today had been a great day with fresh wind, and Anna, Andrew and James have all gone aloft to variously strike, set, and furl sail. A real adventure!

We headed North over Stellwagon bank and were accompanied for hours by whales. It was incredible! The students climbed the rig to get a better look!

They've also been asking and learning about the charts, but today has been such a full day of sailing that they've been very busy with lines and the duties of the ship.

We set every sail and for awhile were a glowing vision in white. Most importantly they're all having fun, challenging ourselves and staying safe. Still no sunburns!

Voyage 2 is Underway

Captain's Log- Jonathan Steitzer

Lat - 42-51'N
Long - 70-27'W
H/L - Cape Ann

Current: u/w
Headed: Portsmouth

Wind:S force 5
Waves 3-5'

Addendum:

Educational observations:

Yesterday's stay outside Provincetown provided an excellent adventure ashore for the students. They took our inflatable in accompanied by Jess from the crew. They had a great time exploring, eating ice cream and seeing a vibrant culture.

They came back to the vessel full of good spirits and enjoyed the company of another Tall Ship, the Lynx which sailed up and anchored close by.

They're all pitching in as one crew, doing the fun stuff of setting the sails and the hard work too, like cooking and cleaning and standing Anchor watches. They each bring something to the table and seem to all really value each other.

This morning we started early (4am!) to make up for lost time and they hopped right to, pitching in to set the sails and get underway, then they made amazing egg sandwiches for breakfast.

Today had been a great day with fresh wind, and Anna, Andrew and James have all gone aloft to variously strike, set, and furl sail. A real adventure!

We headed North over Stellwagon bank and were accompanied for hours by whales. It was incredible! The students climbed the rig to get a better look!

They've also been asking and learning about the charts, but today has been such a full day of sailing that they've been very busy with lines and the duties of the ship.

We set every sail and for awhile were a glowing vision in white.

Most importantly they're all having fun, challenging ourselves and staying safe.

Still no sunburns!

Best,
Jonathan

One step closer...

"To me, this trip has helped me open up to people. This trip is also an experience which will help me along the path to both college and a sailing lifestyle. The skills of making new friends and tall ships sailing, which were so new on the Lynx have been solidified in my mind. I feel the end of the trip approaching, and it feels sad.

It also feels happy, however. This is because I know this is one step closer on the highway. One new experience that will effect the rest of my life."

-Ethan, 16

Going for a Swim

"I just jumped off the side of a tall ship and swam to shore in less than 70 degree water. Not only did I get $10 from the Captain for doing it, but I also got the experience. Just another amazing thing that has happened on this trip. You would think being on the ocean would mean bad food, but that would be wrong. I've gained about five pounds from eating some of the best food ever, but it's worth it! Plus we stop on islands and explore, just to increase the experience."

-Jack, 15

In Pursuit of the Sailing Life

"'All men dream, but not equally. The dreamers of the night wake in the day to find that it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.' -T.E. Lawrence

This I did, and I will continue to do because this is the life I have wanted to live since I was a child, and my passion has only increased. This is the life I will continue to pursue to the bitter end because while I'm here, I'm happy."

-Nick, 16

 

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

"Aside from some engine problems on Monday the trip so far has been really fun! The crew is super cool and the other kids here are all pretty nice (even if Jack and Aiden never stop telling their weird bird joke!) Tomorrow we're sailing to Cuttyhunk which is about 4-5 hours away. I'm not totally sure what we'll be doing there but it'll probably be something fun.

I've seen and heard a ton of things that remind me of my Mom, too. Whether it's been a word or a picture, I've just felt super nostalgic through this whole trip. I talked to my aunt on Tuesday night, and she said my Mom would've been wicked proud of me for going on this trip and getting out of my comfort zone, which made me so happy to hear. It's almost 10pm, so I think I'm going to hit the hay soon. We have to leave around 6:30am tomorrow anyways, so going to bed sounds like a great idea!"

-Jenna, 17

The Joy of Sailing

"From my spot towards the bow I can hear the gentle murmur of voices coming from the wheel, just audible above the waves. I turn my face towards the sun and the breeze, taking a pause from my book to admire Fritha's smoothness as she slices through each wave. The crew are around me preparing for a tack and I smile at how good life is right now, before jumping up to help."

-Ava, 17

 

Summer 2016 Youth Sailing Adventures Announced

Sailing Ships Portland, the non-profit behind Tall Ships Portland 2015, is offering youth sailing opportunities in partnership with the sailing ship Fritha, one the ships that came to Portland last summer. Youth ages 13 to 18 will have the chance to go sailing on Fritha for a week with a crew of professional mariners and educators from Northeast Maritime Institute, one of the national leaders in marine education.

For more information, go to sailingshipsportland.org.

 

Take the Parade of Sail Home with You!

Do you want to remember the sight of tall ships sailing into Portland Harbor? Are you a fan of classic painting and art? If the answers to any of these questions is yes, you may be interested in buying a Tall Ships Portland print! The prints, which capture an incredible painting by noted New England artist Peter Layne Arguimbau, are available to anyone who wants a great way to remember the festival! Titled “Fog Clears as Tall Ships Sail Into Portland Harbor, July 18th 2015, ” these high quality prints are detailed and simply beautiful. They are selling for $250, and are large enough to be centerpiece of any room in your home or office. 

Tall Ships Portland Announces a New Nonprofit

Last night, an exciting announcement was made regarding Portland’s continued connection to tall ships. At the official unveiling of the official oil painting of Tall Ships Portland 2015, founding member Alex Agnew announced the creation of Sailing Ships Portland, a new nonprofit that provides sail training funds for young people. The painting, a vivid imagining of tall ships sailing into Portland harbor created by noted artist Peter Layne Arguimbau, was sold, and the proceeds will go in their entirety towards sponsoring educational sailing programs on Oliver Hazard Perry. Other unveiled art, by local artist Tom Connolly, was donated towards the tall ships scholarship fund. 

 Our upcoming festival is an important part of the connection between the city’s rich maritime heritage and the current culture of tall ships. Equally important is the creation of this new nonprofit, with its tall ships scholarship fund that allows young Mainers to experience the life-changing experience of sailing aboard a tall ship. This means that the city’s strong connection to Tall Ships will continue. 

Members of the Portland maritime community a the event

Members of the Portland maritime community a the event

Tom Connolly, a local artist who donated a painting 

Tom Connolly, a local artist who donated a painting 

Education Station

As our celebration of tall ships gets closer, we are excited to announce the speakers that will be featured for our “education station.” The education station will be the section of the festival dedicated to learning about ships and the sea. Featuring a wide variety of speakers teaching about everything from how to sail a tall ship to the history of nautical charting, the education station is the perfect stop for anyone who was an interest maritime history, industries or culture. The station begins its program on Sunday July 19th, running from 11 to 5, continuing on Monday the 20th. Below you can see the schedule for both days, and some information about the presenters. Hope to see you there!

 

Sunday Schedule

Time Presenter Subject
11:00 Eric Dawicki, Northeast Maritime Maritime careers and Mr. Dawicki's personal path of maritime education
12:00 Jay Piscopo Comic book artist Jay Piscopo invites students to try their hand at cartoon art and demonstrates how anyone can learn to draw and create comics. Stand by for adventure with this interactive workshop!
13:00 Roll and Go Maine group of men and women who love to sing "sea shanties" and other songs of the sea. "Whether you're young or old, you're bound to have a lot of fun!"
14:00 Portland Teens Portland Teens share their tall ship experiences from the past 2 weeks
15:00 David Wood David Wood explains how to sail a Tall Ship
16:00 Tim Queeney The ocean is a watery expanse without landmarks or road signs. How did tall ships find their way across its vast distances? We'll look at some of the techniques that tall ship navigators used to get to their destinations.
17:00 United States Power Squadron Boating education for the average boater and opportunities to learn about safety and navigation

Monday Schedule

Time Presenter Subject
11:00 David Lyman Maritime Photography and Video Storytelling, How to document your voyage, tell a visual story, and publish your work.
12:00 Jay Piscopo Comic book artist Jay Piscopo invites students to try their hand at cartoon art and demonstrates how anyone can learn to draw and create comics. Stand by for adventure with this interactive workshop!
13:00 Roll and Go Maine group of men and women who love to sing "sea shanties" and other songs of the sea. "Whether you're young or old, you're bound to have a lot of fun!"
14:00 Captian Richard Bailey As Captain of the full-rigged ship Oliver Hazard Perry, Richard Bailey knows first-hand how to sail a tall ship, and will discuss some of the skills needed for that tricky task.
15:00 Bert Rogers Sail Training, Tall Ships America and opportunities to get involved with sailing
16:00 Tim Queeney The ocean is a watery expanse without landmarks or road signs. How did tall ships find their way across its vast distances? We'll look at some of the techniques that tall ship navigators used to get to their destinations.
17:00 United States Power Squadron Nautical Whimsy – Learn about nautical lore, phrases and history with this presentation