What the heck is a Gam?

24th May, 2019 / Sailing Events

You hear the Maine Windjammer Association talk about “the Gam” all the time like it’s a concept as familiar as a sail or a mast.  For all but those who’ve enjoyed it before or participated in the Maine Windjammer Association, though, “Gam” is a new word. 

What the heck is a Gam, you ask.  Defined as a social meeting, visit, or the like, as between whaling vessels at sea, the annual Maine Windjammer Schooner Gam is the perfect way to kick off the 2019 summer season. It’s technically a nautical meeting as sea.  Yet in real life, the Gam is a wonderful raft-up of all the boats in the fleet. This fleet rendezvous takes place every year on the second Monday in June. The location is unknown until the day of the event and  is determined each year by the weather of the day and an animated discussion among the captains via radio.  So while the location may change, the event always includes a raft-up of all the boats (that means you can walk between them and tour each boat), plus live music and the traditional grog toast to a successful sailing season.  

Half the fun is to watch these beautiful historic windjammers raft up right next to one another entirely under the power of their sails and/or small boats to steer them into the crowd. It always starts with the Victory Chimes, the largest of all the boats, setting an anchor on one end to secure the fleet.

To get a better feel for this fun affair and kick off to the Maine Windjammer Association’s sailing season, take an armchair tour through photos, many provided by guests and the association’s loyal photographer, Fred LeBlanc.

Schooners Ladona and American Eagle on the way to the annual Gam raft up. Schooners Ladona and American Eagle on the way to the 2018 Gam gathering in Carver Cove. Photo by Fred LeBlanc.

Captain Doug Lee on board the Schooner Herigage as another boat rafts up next to him. Captain Doug watches as another boat rafts up next to the Schooner Heritage.  Photo by Brad Smith, The Jet Set.

Captain Noah on Schooner Stephen Taber indicates to Oscar Barnes where to direct the yawl boat.

Captain Noah Barnes indicates to his son, Oscar, where to steer the yawl boat to carefully join the raft up.  Maine Windjammer Association photo.

A view of the boats masts during the annual Gam gathering. A view of the masts during the Gam, looking up from the deck of the Schooner Heritage.  Maine Windjammer Association photo.

A toast to the season of the Maine Windjammer Association during the Gam. Captain Noah Barnes offers a toast to the season of the Maine Windjammer Association on board the Victory Chimes with traditional Navy Grog. Photo provided by Victory Chimes.

A view of the raft-up at the Gam A view of the raft-up!  Photo by Fred LeBlanc.

There is still some availability for cabins during the Gam cruises.  Contact your favorite schooner to learn about room on this and other upcoming special event cruises of the Maine Windjammer Association.

Visit each of the Maine Windjammer Association’s individual vessels online at their websites by clicking below.

 

 

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