Words of reflection on today’s travel scene from Maine Windjammer Association
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.
No segment of the travel industry has been spared of the havoc the pandemic is delivering. Yet, windjammer captains are a hearty and resilient bunch. Having braved the tenaciousness of the wind, seas and Mother Nature’s wrath, they are believers in optimism. No one knows what the upcoming weeks will bring, but every one of the captains in the Maine Windjammer Association believe that we will come out of the pandemic perhaps changed, surely emboldened and with a new sense of connection to one another and respect for life balance.
In an article appearing in the NY Post entitled “Why the Travel Industry will be stronger and better after coronavirus”, Samantha Brown, who hosts “Places to Love” on PBS said, “I think when this has finally come under control it will create a huge need to travel. And I’m not talking just travel to far places … but small trips to more local and state destinations. We will want to move and most importantly reconnect to people.” The article continued to read “After weeks and perhaps months staying home, this longing for authentic human connection and togetherness will be stronger than ever … but there will be less of a cookie-cutter travel mentality,” according to Tom Marchant, co-founder of luxury travel operator Black Tomato. Once it’s safe to travel again, the kind of authenticity and connections to not only fellow passengers but to nature too will offer the kind of solace travelers need and yearn for on board a windjammer.
Cara Lauzon, Vessel Operations Manager for Victory Chimes, and business and life partner of Victory Chimes Captain, Sam Sikkema, captured the poignancy of being on a windjammer beautifully. She shared, “When we imagine ourselves on the water we imagine freedom, connection to nature, the water, the ocean unfolding around us in its vastness, falling away into the distance expanding and encouraging our minds to relax, and find peace in its expansiveness. But rarely do we think of the connection we have with our ship. The ship is the vessel that brings us closer to the sea. She is the means by which we are able to connect and feel this oneness with the ocean. Well loved by Mariners worldwide Joseph Conrad, wrote “Fortunately, nothing can deface the beauty of a ship. There is no restraint; there is space: clear water around her, and a clear sky above her mastheads, with a landscape of green hills and charming bays opening around her anchorage. She is not abandoned by her own men to the tender mercies of shore people. She still shelters and is looked after by her own little devoted band, and you feel that presently she will glide between the headlands and disappear.”
Cara explains, “This depiction of the feeling of being at sea from the ship’s perspective is something that is rare and will be a new experience for those who enjoy the opportunity to sail aboard a wind powered vessel.”
It is hard to wrap our heads around how the world has changed in a just a few short weeks. The adjustments and sacrifices we’re all making to respond to the impact of COVID-19 are incalculable. With each passing day, the challenges we face as a fleet, as employers, and certainly on a personal level, only seem to intensify for all of us.
Yet once it’s safe to travel again, the Maine Windjammer Association’s fleet will provide trips that speak to that connection travelers will seek to nature, to friendships and to a new sense of peace. Unlike just about any other vacation opportunity, sailing on board a windjammer will allow travelers to once again trust what nature delivers and the goodness in the world surrounding us.
The Maine Windjammer Association members remain optimistic that the sailing season will stay on schedule. All fleet-wide events are still being planned as we watch and hope for an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Stay tuned for updates on social media, this blog and on our coronavirus page on the website in the event that the pandemic lasts longer.
We look forward to welcoming guests on board as soon as it’s safe to travel. Don’t stop dreaming of your Maine Windjammer Association trip to Maine this summer and don’t stop planning. We’ll be here to take you sailing along Maine’s scenic coast as soon as it’s possible.
Photo Credits (top to bottom): Maine Windjammer Association, courtesy Victory Chimes, courtesy Windjammer Angelique).