The Joy of Sailing in Maine

At Seadog Travels, we are all about promoting sailing on tall ships, getting close to the ocean, and appreciating the natural wonders of the sea. We encourage everyone to sail on a tall ship and there is one place with an abundance of such opportunities: Maine. Over the years, the great State of Maine has nurtured and offered a fleet of tall ships where people can enjoy a summer sail along the coast of Maine. Many of the ships in the fleet are National Historic Landmarks, which adds a sense of history to every sailing experience.

Accommodating anywhere from 17 to 30 passengers, these tall ships and their crews will give you a coastal Maine experience not found anywhere else. Love nature? Yep. Love sailing? Yep. Love homemade food? Yep. Love lobster? Yep. Love good people and camaraderie? Yep. Love relaxation? Yep. You get the picture.

Cruises range from 3-7 days, occur roughly from May – October annually. They sometimes have a specific theme, and you can expect an eco-friendly, fun sailing experience suited for individuals, couples, families, and groups. It’s often said that once you go on a windjammer sail, you’re going to return for more — because it’s an experience that touches the heart and the mind.

Organized into the Maine Windjammer Association, there are eight ships that sail the waters of Maine and await your arrival. They include the American Eagle, Angelique, Heritage, Ladona, Lewis R. French, Mary Day, J&E Riggin, and the Stephen Taber. Victory Chimes, a long-time part of the Association, is ending service this year. Here is a brief overview of each ship:

American Eagle. Commissioned in 1930 as a fishing vessel, the Schooner American Eagle received a complete renovation in the mid-1980s, and began sailing along coastal Maine in 1986. The ship became a National Historic Landmark in 1991. The American Eagle is licensed for international voyages and has sailed to Canada since 1994 (although she also sailed to Canada when a fishing vessel). The ship accommodates 26 passengers, is 92 feet long on deck, and suitable for singles or couples 12 years and older. View the 2023 sailing schedule HERE.

Angelique. Sporting 5269 square feet of sail, the Windjammer Angelique is a relatively new vessel commissioned in 1980. Her purpose has always been about leisure sailing along the coast of Maine. With an overall length of 130 feet and 95 feet on deck, Angelique can carry 30 passengers with a crew of seven. Besides the regular sailing schedule, Angelique is available for weddings, charters, and fleet events. View the 2023 schedule HERE.

Heritage. The Schooner Heritage is also one of the younger ships in the fleet, commissioned in 1983, and has sailed along the coast of Maine since her inception. Boasting an overall length of 145 feet with an on-deck length of 95 feet, Heritage can accommodate 30 passengers. The ship also boasts a total sail area of 5200 square feet. The galley is in the aft part of the ship, cabins are double occupancy, and there are three heads and one shower onboard. View the 2023 schedule HERE.

Photos credit: Carol Latta

Ladona. The Schooner Ladona is another classic ship registered as a National Historic Landmark. The ship was commissioned in 1922. Before becoming a leisure sailing vessel in Maine, Ladona served as a fishing dragger, training vessel, as a patrol ship, as well as being a privately owned vessel. This ship is somewhat smaller than the others and accommodates 17 passengers, five crew members, and has a length of 82 feet. The most recent renovation occurred in 2013. Ladona was also featured in Travel & Leisure this past May. View the 2023 schedule HERE.

Lewis R. French. The Schooner Lewis R. French is one of the oldest ships in the fleet with commissioning in 1871. Serving as a cargo vessel for much of her life, the French was extensively renovated in 1973 to carry passengers. The ship has served her entire life along the Maine coast. The ship has about 3000 square feet of sail, accommodates 21 passengers with a crew of four, and has an overall length of 101 feet. The on-deck length is 65 feet. View the 2023 schedule HERE.

J&E Riggin. The Schooner J&E Riggin served originally as a dredge boat and oystering schooner, later as a fishing vessel, since commissioning in 1927. However, the ship was purchased in 1977 and renovated to become a passenger ship. The ship became a National Historic Landmark in 1991. Of note are the several awards won by the J&E Riggin since becoming a Maine windjammer. She accommodates 24 passengers, has a crew of six, and has an overall length of 120 feet with an on-deck length of 90 feet. View the 2023 schedule HERE.

Stephen Taber. Tied for the oldest ship in the fleet with a commissioning in 1871, the Schooner Stephen Taber served as a cargo ship before entering passenger service. The ship carries 22 passengers, has a crew of five, and sports an overall length of 115 feet with an on-deck length of 68 feet. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the Stephen Taber has quite the history that you can read about HERE. The older ships in the fleet are rare remnants from the 19th and early 20th Century, which makes them all the more impressive. View the 2023 schedule HERE.

Mary Day. The Schooner Mary Day is another of the younger ships in the fleet, commissioned in 1962. The ship has an overall length of 125 feet, an on-deck length of 90 feet, and she advertises herself as the first schooner built to carry passengers on windjammer vacations. She can carry 28 passengers and also carries seven crew members. The galley is in the aft part of the ship. Her last renovation occurred in 2000. Check out the 2023 schedule HERE.

Finally, we want to mention the Portland Schooner Company. While not a part of the Maine Windjammer Association, the Portland Schooner Company operates several tall ships for day sails from Portland, Maine. They sail four ships, the Bagheera, the Heart’s Desire, Timberwood, and Wendameen. These ships were also built in the early 20th Century and have an amazing history of their own. Check out the sailing schedule HERE.

Published by Paul Hardersen

I am the CEO of a startup nautically-focused travel company, former associate professor and research scientist, traveler, lobster lover, and now doing what I can to help preserve the planet for future generations. The ocean is the key.

One thought on “The Joy of Sailing in Maine

  1. Hey, nice picture I love what you’re doing. I thought you should know that the picture you showed was the schooner Alert out of Bailey Island. We’ve been owning and operating her out of Bailey Island for 10 years. Our website is http://www.SchoonerALERT.com. We do 2, 3,4, and 6 hour trips and sail out of Boothbay Harbor during their annual Windjammer Days and Gloucester during their Gloucester Schooner Festival. We would appreciate it if you would mention us as well, thanks
    Perry and Bethany

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