Why your first trip of the summer should be with the Maine Windjammer Association fleet
Once travelers can move from the armchair inspiration to the planning phase this summer, those awaiting the day they can dip their toes carefully back into traveling might consider a trip on board one of the eight Maine Windjammer Association members, the largest fleet of windjammers in America. Considered the “un-cruise” by many, these small bespoke windjammer trips are filled with the sparkle of sunlight on the water, salt-air on your face, uninhabited islands and plenty of room on the water to explore. Add in a huge dose of sustainable vacationing and eco-friendly, wind-driven slow travel, plus that gorgeous Maine scenery, and you’ve got the perfect vacation to restore your faith in Mother Nature. Maine Windjammer Association boats carry anywhere from 16 to 40 passengers, offering a small customized and personalized cruise experience.
A windjammer cruise is unlike any larger cruise experience. Itineraries are predetermined only by wind, weather and the whim of captains and guests, not popular tourist hot spots. Days are filled with sea and bird life and sailing from quiet harbors to gorgeous coves. Enjoy the scenery along the way or find a spot-on deck to enjoy a good book or an after-lunch siesta lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the boat moving through the water. By late afternoon, once the anchor is set at the destination for the night, small sailing dinghies, rowing yawls, paddleboards and kayaks come out where guests can explore the environs and nearby islands or small villages. For the more intrepid, jump off the bowsprit and cool off in the ocean which always promises to be refreshing in Maine! Evenings are filled with star-lit skies and shooting stars as there are no city lights to mask the sky.
These unplugged vacations are bursting with freshly made food, salt water, wind and all of nature’s bounty veiled during quarantine. Step away from daily updates and news broadcasts and simply take in the true grit – nature’s beauty along the Maine Coast unplugged and natural.
Perhaps most importantly, there are several features on board your favorite Maine Windjammer Association fleets that have been in place all along, yet in the post-pandemic age of travel will be welcomed by travelers. On deck dining, outdoor/on-deck showers, brass fixtures where coronavirus can’t survive for long, and custom upholstered on-deck beds for sleeping under the stars (along with plenty of deck space for those who wish to curl up six feet from one another) are all options offered by some or all of the windjammers in the fleet. These were not added bonuses, but instead are features that have been offered for years on board the Maine Windjammer Association fleet.
Will windjammer cruising be the same? Perhaps not. The pandemic will force captains and crews to reconsider everything from cleaning to safety to food serving. Yet, what will never change is the scenery, the small personalized cruising experience, and the sailing traditions that have endured for years. “This is an industry of optimists,” Capt. Noah Barnes of the 68-foot long schooner Stephen Taber told the Village Soup reporters. “The industry is made up of tough, practical-minded people,” he added.
To learn more about what the new normal may be like aboard your favorite member of the Maine Windjammer Association, click here. To begin planning your next cruise on board the Maine Windjammer Association fleet, visit SailMaineCoast.com and use the handy search tool to find start planning your next sailing vacation on Maine’s Coast.
Photo credits: Top to bottom – Martin McKenzie, Maine Windjammer Association.