Posts Tagged ‘sailing’

Golf and sail the Maine Coast

April 20, 2010

Windjammer, Penobscot Bay © Hilary Nangle

You want to sail, partner wants to golf; not a problem: The Maine Windjammer Association has you both covered with three packages that add golf to any 3- to 6-day cruise this season. Cruises on one of the 12 member vessels start at $400 per person, which includes all meals, activities, and accommodations. To that, add one of these options:

• Samoset & Sail Package: A one-night stay at Samoset Resort, with a round on its 18 hole, PGA championship course complete with cart and club rentals, for $179-$234 per person.

• Lanyards, Links, and Luxury Package: A two-night stay at historic B&B in Rockland, including gourmet breakfasts, one round of 18-hole golf, cart and club rentals, for $250 per person.

• Travel-Light Sail & Golf Trail Package: Includes map and complimentary club rentals at participating courses around the State of Maine. Free!

Victory Chimes © Hilary Nangle

Never been on a windjammer? Let me tell you what to expect. It’s a few steps above camping on the water. Expect a cozy bunk and hearty meals. A few boats have roomier and more private facilities, but for the most part, you’re living in tight quarters with like-minded individuals. Bring good books, musical instruments if they’re portable, binoculars. You’ll sail by day, then anchor usually off an island or a small seaport, given a chance to explore it before returning for the night. It’ll be quiet, and if the weather cooperates, star-gazing provides the best free light-show for miles around.

Windjamming is not for those who need to be waited on hand and foot, who demand luxurious accommodations and fancy baths (most boats have shared heads and shower, but there’s usually a sink in your cabin), fussbudgets, or who can’t survive without being connected to the electronic world. Most—but not all—boats are historic vessels, built for freight and retrofitted for human cargo.

There are no set destinations; wind and tide set the daily course. You have to be willing to roll with the weather—sunshine, clouds, fog, rain, gales—whatever Ma Nature pitches, you deal with.

For the right people, though, it’s a vacation without compare.

Bubbles and Pearls

August 6, 2009

Now here’s a way to make Monday memorable: sip champagne and nibble caviar while sailing the waters of Casco Bay aboard a schooner at sunset.

Sample the good life aboard the historic windjammers, Bagheera and Wendameen, on Monday, Aug. 8. Portland Schooner Company is teaming with Browne Company Trading for a Bubbles and Pearls Tasting Sunset Cruise.

Here’s the description:

Savor domestic Hackleback and Spoonbill caviars paired with NV Roederer Estate Brut from Anderson Valley, California, a 2006 Roger Goulart Cava Rosé from Spain and a NV Carod Clairette de Die, from Rhone Valley, France.

Tickets are $75 per person (hey, the good life doesn’t come cheap). The two-hour sail departs the Maine State Pier at 6 p.m.

Morning in Maine

September 8, 2008

While I’m on the windjammer theme, let me tell you about my recent sail aboard A Morning in Maine, a 55-foot ketch based in Rockland.

Capt. Bob Pratt aboard Morning in Maine

Capt. Bob Pratt is a marine biologist and Master Maine Guide, which means not only can he sail the waters of Penobscot Bay, he also can explain everything there is to know about the marine life and coastal landscape. A former teacher at both the University of Maine and Maine Maritime Academy, he also possesses the ability to explain things gently.

Sightings of seals are common, porpoises are frequent, whales are rare. We cruised by Rockland’s Breakwater Light. We saw lobster boats hauling traps, Owl’s Head Light winking at us in the fog, and the Nathaniel Bowditch raise its sails and the Victory Chimes sail by under full sail. We watched the fog roll in and Vinalhaven and North Haven islands disappear into the fog; and we saw the state ferries plying the waters to those elusive islands.

Bob is accompanied on board by a first mate and his yellow lab, Poco. And dogs who meet Poco on the dock and are well behaved, are allowed on board for the sail—nice to know, especially if you’re traveling with a pooch. A two-hour sail is a wonderful way to explore Rockland Harbor, where it spills into Penobscot Bay, and it’s a nice intro to sailing aboard a windjammer. If you like it, consider a multi-day sail on one of the Maine Windjammer Association vessels.

And now, September into early October, is the ideal time to sail the Maine Coast. The breezes are more reliable than in summer, the color is beginning to fringe the trees, the bugs are gone, and even on a foggy day (despite my Hurricane Hannah-induced experience, these are rare in September), there are few activities that rival it. As I sit here on a spectacular September morning, I’m dreaming of that sail and mentally planning another.

Victory Chimes two views

September 7, 2008

One from the air, early on a bright sunny day; and one from the sea, taken later that afternoon, as the fog rolled in. In any case, September through early October is a grand time for a windjammer vacation.

Taken from a biplane.

Taken from a biplane.

Taken from aboard Morning in Maine, in Rockland Harbor

Taken from aboard Morning in Maine, in Rockland Harbor