Meg Maiden Honored with Lifetime Appreciation Award for 30 Years of Service to Maine Windjammer Association
She’s been the voice and the energy behind the Maine Windjammer Association for decades. Yet, after 30 years, 42 bosses and thousands of windjammer guests, Maine Windjammer Association Executive Director, Meg Maiden, is passing the wheel and being honored for her legacy.
Rockland, Maine – The Maine Windjammer Association (MWA), North America’s oldest fleet of commercial sailing vessels, kicked off the 2018 sailing season by presenting its Lifetime Appreciation Award to Meg Maiden, the association’s Executive Director from Blue Hill, Maine. After nearly a thirty-year legacy, Meg is passing the wheel on to two new people who will succeed her in managing the association’s activities, but as Schooner American Eagle Captain, John Foss, exclaims, “no one can replace her.” Meg was presented with a plaque handmade by Barry King, Captain of the Schooner Mary Day, photos from sailing photographer, Fred LeBlanc, a bag handmade by former Windjammer Angelique captain, Lynne McHenry, and created from Maine Windjammer pennants, and perhaps most appropriately, a cape made from the same pennants, notably honoring her “super hero” status in the eyes of the Maine Windjammer Association.
In 2015, the members of the Maine Windjammer Association embraced the idea of creating an MWA “Hall of Fame” to express their gratitude to the special people who have gone the extra mile to help the fleet. Previous recipients of the Award include Gene McKeever of Allen Insurance and Financial in Camden, Wayne Hamilton of Hamilton Marine and Jim Sharp, founder of the Sail, Power & Steam Museum in Rockland. In 2018, Meg Maiden was the clear and unanimous choice of all the MWA members for the Lifetime Appreciation Award. “Meg has been a consistent guiding force for the Maine Windjammers for nearly 30 years,” said Garth Wells, Captain of the Schooner Lewis R. French. “Working behind the scenes, she has enthusiastically and tirelessly promoted windjamming and the Maine coast – getting people from all over the country and world to visit Maine and experience the thrill of sailing on a Maine windjammer. She kept a fleet of historic schooners alive and thriving and did it the right way. We were lucky to have her work with us for so long,” finished Garth.
Meg started her maritime career at Wooden Boat Publications in Brooklin, Maine. From there, she moved to an ad agency in Blue Hill, where she was assigned to the Maine Windjammer account in 1989. In 1993 Meg started her own PR firm, Maiden Enterprises, with the Maine Windjammer account. She has worked as the association’s Executive Director for nearly 30 years, with small leaves of absences to start and raise a family.
Under her leadership, the Maine Windjammer Association has secured media coverage in most major media outlets and publications, plus on popular TV programs like Travels with Samantha Brown and the Rachael Raye Show. With supervision from Meg, the Maine windjammers hosted the first (and only) Governors’ Regatta in 1997 with Governors Angus King and NH Governor Steve Merrill. In addition, a lobster bake aboard the Schooner Victory Chimes was presented in New York City live on Fox & Friends TV show, and as the Victory Chimes returned to Maine, a new message in a bottle containing an offer for a free windjammer trip for the lucky finder was released each day. “We got a lot of calls from some very excited beach combers, and there are still a couple bottles floating around out there that could be redeemed anytime,” told Meg.
During Meg’s tenure, the Maine Windjammer Association has received many awards and honors including most recently the 2012 Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber’s Beacon Award; the 2013 About.com’s Reader’s Choice Awards for best attraction; the 2015 Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence, and in 2017 Maine Windjammers received USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award, 2017 as the #1 attraction in Maine. In addition to these awards, Meg was a founding partner of Experience Maritime Maine, a partnership of maritime organizations and businesses dedicated to preserving Maine’s maritime culture through tourism.
In looking back at the successes initiated by Meg, Captains Douglas K and Lind J. Lee of the Schooner Heritage shared, “We know that Meg always did her best for the Maine Windjammer Association vessels and the captains/owners. She will be missed.”
“My time working with the Maine Windjammer Association captains has been incredibly rewarding and always changing,” remarked Meg when prompted to look back at the past 30 years. “Whether communicating with our friends of the fleet by phone, mail or online through the years, we’ve welcomed tens of thousands of guests to the world of windjamming. We’ve celebrated maritime traditions with festive annual events and we’ve partnered with community organizations ranging from island trusts to local soup kitchens. Thanks to the loyal passengers who come back year after year, plus every season’s first-timers, this historic fleet will continue to offer guests the chance to unplug from their workday world and experience a rich, relaxing and restorative sailing tradition that can only be found along the coast of Maine,” she finished.
Meg will be replaced by two part-time marketing professionals working together. Not new to working with the Maine Windjammers, Alisa Meggison, the association’s webmaster for the past six years, will also assume the administrative responsibilities of the Executive Director. Tourism PR and marketing professional, Marti Mayne, will take on the media, events and content management aspects of the job. “Now, finally Meg can go boating this summer,” noted Captain John Foss.
The Maine Windjammer Association offers 3- to 10-day sailing adventures that allow visitors to experience an array of Maine’s attractions—from lobster and lighthouses to Acadia and the many fine museums, shops and restaurants in Camden and Rockland, homeports for the fleet. For more information, visit sailmainecoast.com.