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Celebrate Maine’s 200th Birthday with Living History On Board a Maine Windjammer

Schooner Victory ChimesOnce part of Massachusetts, Maine became independent—very independent—in March of 1820, 200 years ago.  To mark two centuries of statehood, visitors will be able to take part in festivals, parades and community celebrations throughout the state from March to October 2020.  Whether its taking part in the Great Schooner Race along with tall ships from the Maine Windjammer Association fleet and surrounding communities, or simply spending time soaking in history preserved and Maine coast scenery, 2020 is the year to celebrate Maine’s maritime legacy on board a Maine windjammer.

Calling all hopeless romantics misplaced in this century and those who just love to spend time at sea, now’s your chance to experience the salty life of the 1800s. Eight 19th-century-style tall ships in mid-coast Maine are ready to whisk you back to a simpler time before televisions, refrigerators, phones and faxes. You’ll sail aboard majestic two-and three-masted coasting ships that once freighted granite, timber and hay or aboard fishing schooners that supplied mainstream America with cod, swordfish and oysters. All cooking is done over a wood-fire in the galley and hearty meals resurrect recipes from age-old windjammer captains’ collections. 

The Maine Windjammer Association is the largest fleet of working windjammers in America.  Collectively, the fleet offers two of the oldest documented windjammers in America and four National Historic Landmarks.  Built anywhere from 1871 to 1983, the Maine Windjammer Association fleet collectively represents eight captains joined by family members to present the most impressive collective of maritime history knowledge along with a fleet of preserved tall ships in America. 

Schooners line up at the starting line for the 43rd Annual Great Schooner RaceAttend one of the Maine Windjammer Association’s fleet-wide events and you’ll get a sense of the legacy this association represents.  The 44th Annual Great Schooner Race will culminate the City of Rockland’s Maine Bicentennial celebration when the Maine Windjammer Association will be joined by additional historic vessels from throughout the region, along with members of Tall Ships America.  Imagine standing on the Rockland Breakwater with its impressive lighthouse at the end and watching dozens of windjammers enter Rockland harbor under full sail and full steam ahead.  Spectators will be treated to a cacophony of sailing expertise and maritime history and those on board can take part in the competition too.  The history of racing these magnificent wooden coasting schooners started over a century ago with sailors trying to beat their competitors to market. The first boat back to port always got the best price for their cargo—perhaps fish, lumber, granite or even Christmas trees. The “Race” was always unspoken, but ever present. Relive that history this year during the Great Schooner Race, July 3, 2020.  After the race, the fun is expected to go on with an awards ceremony followed by a concert and street party.  All planning is still underway, but it promises to be a celebration of windjammers and maritime history to remember.

A full calendar of fleet-wide events is found at  No where will one find the collection of historic schooners and windjammers, experienced captains and maritime history preserved than at these events.  Raft up and walk from boat to boat, toast, dance and sing along with fellow sailors, or jump in with crew to help raise and lower sails. No matter when you sail, you’ll have a first-hand experience with Maine’s maritime history. 

Categories: Cruises, Sailing Events

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