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First time trip to Maine. Questions about sail boat cruises

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Arizona
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First time trip to Maine. Questions about sail boat cruises

Happy New Year everybody! We are a retired couple who loved going on Windjammer Cruises in the Caribbean. Hoping to duplicate that casual experience on a wooden tall ship along the coast of Maine. Since the beautiful coast scenery is the same, the accommodations aboard ship is the place to make our decision. Besides having a toilet in our room on a smaller boat, we are not fussy. We are asking for your recommendations based on recent experience? Also weather conditions. Is there a rainy season during the summer in Maine? What about logistics for flying into Maine and easy access to the harbor? Hope these are not too many questions. I've got my hand on the phone ready to make reservations, looking forward to your comments!

Central Maine
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1. Re: First time trip to Maine. Questions about sail boat cruises

Have never sailed with Maine's windjammer fleet, so can't help with specific ship recommendations.....but can help with the logistics question.

The majority of Maine's windjammer fleet sails out of the mid-coast area around Camden and Rockland.

Nearest air service to both of them is the Knox County Regional Airport in Owl's Head, a short distance south of Rockland. Service is by a regional carrier called Cape Air, which provides connections to Boston. Planes are small, non-pressurized and have no on-board services. Car rental from the airport can be arranged and, last I knew, taxi fare was about twenty dollars.

Your next closest choices for air service are Bangor and Portland -- both good sized airports served by major airlines. Portland is about two hours away; Bangor about an hour and a half. Major car rental companies are located at both airports and I think you may be able to arrange for limo service from Portland, but would check with your particular ship's operator to be certain. Neither Rockland or Camden are large harbors and your ship should provide you with driving directions and parking instructions if you go the rental car route.

Cape Elizabeth...
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for Portland, Antigua
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2. Re: First time trip to Maine. Questions about sail boat cruises

The weather is a toss-up------there is no rainy season. This past summer we had the most beautiful sailing conditions I can remember in my life; but the summer of 2009 was a rainy wash-out.

Fog is more of an issue----though this won't affect your enjoyment of your destination anchorages, it might affect your enjoyment of the sailing (if you can't see anything and it's chilly). You're slightly more likely to encounter fog in June than in July or August, and the least likely to encounter it in September. September can be lovely with the beginning of the foliage, but of course the days are shorter and it is usually cooler.

July and August are of course high season here, and you will see more boats (generally private sailboaters like myself) both on the water and in the anchorages.

Rockland, Maine
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3. Re: First time trip to Maine. Questions about sail boat cruises

If you need to have a toilet in your room during your Maine windjammer cruise, you want to consider Mistress, Heritage, and Victory Chimes. These are the boats that can provide that for you. The Mistress is the smallest boat in the Maine fleet (46') and carries just 6 guests and 2 crew. The Victory Chimes is the largest boat in the fleet (132') and carries 39 guests and 10 crew. She is also the most easily recognized because she has three masts. The Heritage (95') was built specifically for the windjammer business after the owners rebuilt and ran the Schooner Isaac H. Evans (65', built in 1886) for 10 years. Launched in 1983, she carries 30 guests and 8 crew. Capt. Doug and Linda have been sailing windjammers for 40 years and people come back year after year for their stories and hospitality.

I understand that there is an upcharge for the cabins that have private heads. But I also understand that they typically book quickly.

Be forewarned that Maine windjamming is not much like Caribbean windjamming. You will tend to sail a lot during the day and anchor in the afternoon for dinner aboard. There is no rum punch (BYOB) and there are no scheduled shore excursions for shopping and such although you may venture ashore for a couple hours in a small fishing village once or twice during the trip. Most of the boats do an island lobster bake but the Chimes does theirs on the boat. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and fun . . . you're likely to find a musical crew that will entertain with sing-a-longs in the evening, or a captain that will tell stories, read nautical lore, or start a game night. You will not find bikini contests, piped in music, or a party atmosphere.

Amenities vary greatly beyond the private head thing so be sure to ask about pressurized hot and cold fresh water in the cabins (rather than just gravity fed cold water and a bowl that you have to carry on deck to empty), shower facilities (enclosed and available whenever you wish, like aboard the Isaac H. Evans, or a temporary structure that the crew sets up once a trip), opening windows in the cabins, and free on-site parking.

Lastly, it might also be important to ask about the heads themselves. Some of the boats have the old-style marine head that you have to manually pump to flush. Others have electric marine heads that flush with a simple step on a pedal. I have found that the electric heads are easier to operate, cleaner, and therefore, smell nicer. Unfortunately, the drawback to your own private head is that it is below deck and less ventilated; if there is a problem, you're sleeping with it!

Rockland, Maine
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26 posts
12 reviews
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4. Re: First time trip to Maine. Questions about sail boat cruises

If you need to have a toilet in your room during your Maine windjammer cruise, you want to consider Mistress, Heritage, and Victory Chimes. These are the boats that can provide that for you. The Mistress is the smallest boat in the Maine fleet (46') and carries just 6 guests and 2 crew. The Victory Chimes is the largest boat in the fleet (132') and carries 39 guests and 10 crew. She is also the most easily recognized because she has three masts. The Heritage (95') was built specifically for the windjammer business after the owners rebuilt and ran the Schooner Isaac H. Evans (65', built in 1886) for 10 years. Launched in 1983, she carries 30 guests and 8 crew. Capt. Doug and Linda have been sailing windjammers for 40 years and people come back year after year for their stories and hospitality.

I understand that there is an upcharge for the cabins that have private heads. But I also understand that they typically book quickly.

Be forewarned that Maine windjamming is not much like Caribbean windjamming. You will tend to sail a lot during the day and anchor in the afternoon for dinner aboard. There is no rum punch (BYOB) and there are no scheduled shore excursions for shopping and such although you may venture ashore for a couple hours in a small fishing village once or twice during the trip. Most of the boats do an island lobster bake but the Chimes does theirs on the boat. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and fun . . . you're likely to find a musical crew that will entertain with sing-a-longs in the evening, or a captain that will tell stories, read nautical lore, or start a game night. You will not find bikini contests, piped in music, or a party atmosphere.

Amenities vary greatly beyond the private head thing so be sure to ask about pressurized hot and cold fresh water in the cabins (rather than just gravity fed cold water and a bowl that you have to carry on deck to empty), shower facilities (enclosed and available whenever you wish, like aboard the Isaac H. Evans, or a temporary structure that the crew sets up once a trip), opening windows in the cabins, and free on-site parking.

Lastly, it might also be important to ask about the heads themselves. Some of the boats have the old-style marine head that you have to manually pump to flush. Others have electric marine heads that flush with a simple step on a pedal. I have found that the electric heads are easier to operate, cleaner, and therefore, smell nicer. Unfortunately, the drawback to your own private head is that it is below deck and less ventilated; if there is a problem, you're sleeping with it!

5. Re: First time trip to Maine. Questions about sail boat cruises

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