The new normal for Maine Windjammer Association trips

27th April, 2020 / Cruises, Maine Windjammers

Schooner Heritage sails past Mark IslandWill windjammer sailing be the same as it’s always been? Having survived as one of the oldest forms of travel in Maine, you can count on all the traditional joy windjammers have always brought – beautiful coastal Maine scenery, wind-powered travel through Maine’s harbors, bay and coves, fabulous galley-made food, and let’s not forget the fresh-from-the-sea lobster! A Maine Windjammer Association vacation will be the ideal way to dip your toes back into vacations once it’s safe to travel once again.

Yet, plan on subtle differences on board the members of the Maine Windjammer Association fleet this year.  Hand sanitizer will be found throughout the boat. Heads and showers will be cleaned around the clock and more frequently. Handwashing stations may be added. Railings will be wiped down often.  Some captains are looking at new options for cleaning and use of natural antiseptics (tea tree oil) to use for disinfecting cabins, heads, galley, etc. Different areas require different approaches, and each will be researched and carefully integrated into the boat’s protocols.

Windjammer guests may find meals being served more often on deck than in galleys to allow for more social distancing, and rather than help-yourself, your chef may serve up individual plates from now on.  But don’t worry – you’ll still find a fresh-from-the-sea lobster dinner on each cruise, freshly baked breads each day cooked over wood-fired stoves and all-you-can-eat cookies and fresh churned ice cream too.  The procedures will vary from boat to boat, as each captain determines the new normal for their crews.

“We are thinking outside the box and looking at high tech and natural low-tech solutions to keep our crew and guests as safe as possible. Reviewing and revising behavioral strategies for guests and crew during cruises are in process as well,” said Barry King, captain of the Schooner Mary Day. “The beauty about windjammers is that we are small enough and nimble enough to adapt our strategies and policies to meet changing conditions and criteria as set forth by the state and federal CDC and other public health guidance,” finished King. In many ways, because of their smaller size and the personal attention given by captains and crews, a windjammer sailing on Penobscot Bay can be considered one of the safest vacation destinations, once new protocols are put in place.

Schooner Stephen Taber - guests sitting on deck“We have many unique features onboard that lend themselves well to the new vacation-landscape,” said J.R. Braugh, Captain of Schooner Ladona.  “These are permanent features, so they have always been available to our guests to enhance their health and well-being.  They are also fun,” Braugh added, when referring to brass fixtures, on-deck dining, beds and showers, and positive ventilation in cabins aboard Ladona.

Passengers should be prepared to answer questions about their recent health history, their concerns about sailing, and even possibly have their temperature taken before coming on board.  As has always been the case, no one should travel on board any of the Maine Windjammer Association boats if they’ve been recently ill and/or have been exposed to anyone who’s been ill (with any malady) recently.

In addition, as has always been the case, a safety plan for what will occur should someone get sick on board any of the Maine Windjammer Association trips will be in place with crews trained too. Windjammers are required to adhere to the strictest of safety and cleanliness standards set by the Coast Guard. In fact, safety has always been notched up for this special class of sailing vessels.  Read all about what’s required for the Maine Windjammer Association fleet to pass a Coast Guard inspection here.

Will it feel a little different? Perhaps it will for veteran windjammer sailors. But post-Coronavirus, all travelers will soon become accustomed to new travel rules and standards.  Many will not travel without them in place. Will windjammer trips still be filled with all the key ingredients that make them memorable? Absolutely! These windjammers have passed the test of time and no pandemic can impact the history that’s preserved with every windjammer trip.  Go unplugged with one of the eight Maine Windjammer Association boats this summer and escape to a world with few walls. Your only nightly broadcasts will be what’s on the menu for dinner and social distancing can easily take place sharing island trails with only the small animal and birdlife that call them home.

Use the convenient search tool found on the home page of SailMaineCoast.com to find the cruise that fits the dates you seek, or visit each of the Maine Windjammer Association’s individual vessels online at their websites by clicking below.

2018 Photo Contest Winner: 1st Place Tracy Sheppard Parade of Sail, Fred's Favorites #3Schooner Heritage

Schooner Mary Day

Windjammer Angelique

Schooner Lewis R. French

Schooner Ladona

Schooner Stephen Taber

Schooner Victory Chimes

Schooner American Eagle

Three to ten-day Maine Windjammer Association trips leave from Rockland or Camden, Maine – a drive-to destination for millions of travelers. For more information on specially-themed cruises, what to pack and other trip planning resources visit https://SailMaineCoast.com.

Photo credits: top to bottom: George Kovarick, Maine Windjammer Association, Tracy Sheppard.

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