Normally at this time the buzz in the air wouldn’t be solely from the sanders and crews painting and building, but also a quieter energy of anticipation and the joy of starting another sailing season for the Maine Windjammer Association fleet. Yet, the vibe is quite different this year, as captains and crews find themselves distancing six feet apart to varnish, epoxy and paint. The anticipation of the 2020 sailing season feels wholly different this year as the members of the Maine Windjammer Association find themselves in the grip of the pandemic that faces our nation and the world this spring.
Usually at this time of year, captains and crews of the Maine Windjammer Association – America’s largest fleet of working windjammers – are scurrying about their boats painting, varnishing, and building shelves, tables and/or other additions, all while answering telephones ringing with reservations. What’s different this year? The smell of paint and varnish are in the air, but the phones are not ringing. Like so many other small businesses in Maine’s tourism sector, the reservations have slowed down, yet not ground to a halt.