Summer Sailstice Fever in Camden, ME

June 12, 2016 by Monica Grant

Camden, ME is hotting-up as the place to be for Summer Sailstice 2016 with a number of historic Schooners planning to celebrate on the tranquil waters of Penobscot Bay. If you haven't sailed on one of these beautiful vessels before, perhaps this is the year to do so. The Sloop Heritage, Schooner Olad, Schooner Surprise, and the Schooners Mercantile and Grace Bailey are all signed up and celebrating Summer Sailstice in true nautical “style”, and you’re invited to join them!

Camden Harbor

Camden has long been the home of the country’s largest fleet of historical sailing vessels, many of which began their long lives in the 1800s serving as cargo vessels. Take a walk down the docks among the Schooners, Windjammers and Sloops and you’ll feel the majesty and mystery that breathe through the rigging and timbers of these beautifully maintained vessels. 

The Sloop Heritage is a Murray Peterson designed, gaff-rigged Sloop and was built in downtown Camden by local shipwright, Elmer Collomer in 1962. Collomer is remembered by wooden-boat lovers as “the last of the old timers.”  While she is designed to replicate the look and feel of the original Friendship Sloops (having been originally built for the society’s president), the Heritage maintains the comforts of the much larger Maine Windjammers. Owners Jeff and Judy are planning to celebrate their Summer Sailstice on the water among the thousands of islands in Penobscot Bay. Want to join them? Sign up here and then head down to the Camden docks and the Sloop Heritage.

Sloop Heritage

The Schooner Olad is a completely restored classic yacht built in Massachusetts in 1927. Originally named “Whistle Binkie”, the vessel was launched in time for the 1928 sailing season and commenced her life sailing between Massachusetts and New York. In 1940 “Whistle Binkie” was renamed the Schooner Olad by new owners who sailed her across the ocean for weeks on end. After a stint in the Caribbean, Olad returned to Massachusetts in the 1960s where she joined the Province Town day-sail fleet until another new owner brought her to Camden, Maine in 1985. Over the following years, the now tired Olad was completely rebuilt and restored to her original beauty. She has been a mainstay of the Camden fleet ever since. Today she is owned by Captain Aaron Lincoln who continues to run her as a day-sailer out of Camden Harbor. If you’d like to celebrate your Summer Sailstice aboard the Schooner Olad, Sign up and RSVP to Olad’s Father’s Day Sail. Dad’s will pay 1/2 price when accompanied by a relative!

Schooner Olad

Another Massachusetts built vessel, the Schooner Surprise entered the water in 1918 and began her life as a racing and cruising yacht. After her racing career ended in 1959 with the death of her owner, Surprise was captained by a series of new owners who sailed her throughout the East Coast and the Caribbean. Eventually she was bought and sailed to Falmouth, Cape Cod. Here she was lovingly restored over a course of three years before being certified as a passenger vessel. In 1986 she found her way to Camden, Maine and in 1991 was honored with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the Schooner Surprise is owned and operated by Captains Nicole and Ramiro who carry on the tradition of day-sailing her on Penobscot Bay - which is exactly how these two sailors will be celebrating Summer Sailstice. To join them, simply Sign up and make your way down to the Camden docks and the Schooner Surprise.

Schooner Surprise

Maine Windjammer Cruises® are also celebrating Summer Sailstice and are inviting you to sail about the Schooner Mercantile or Schooner Grace Bailey. These historic vessels were a prominent part of the coastal cargo trade before joining the original “Windjammer Cruises” fleet. Schooner Grace Bailey’s former life included sailing to the West Indies in the Fruit Trade and carrying granite to New York City to help build Grand Central Station. Schooner Mercantile was designed with a shallow draft, which allowed her to take on and discharge cargo in out of the way places inaccessible to deeper draft vessels. As their fucntion in the cargo trade ceased, the traditionally rigged National Landmark vessels were refitted and certified to carry passengers. Both vessels have enjoyed restorations and today sail among the thousands of islands in Penobscot Bay taking guests on overnight charters. This year marks the Schooner Mercantile’s 100th birthday and celebrations are underway. As well as celebrating the 16th annual Summer Sailstice, Maine Windjammer Cruises® are also celebrating the Schooner Mercantile’s 100th birthday. To mark the double celebrations Maine Windjammer Cruises® are offering discounted charters throughout the season for Summer Sailstice sailors. To join Captain Ray Williamson and the crew, Sign up and RSVP to MWC’s Summer Sailstice event.

Maine Windjammer Cruises® Fleet

 

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