Sail ho!... It’s the 2016 Camden Windjammer Festival


CAMDEN — Friday, Sept. 2, brings the launch of Camden's annual maritime celebration, the Camden Windjammer Festival. During Labor Day weekend, Camden is host to the largest gathering of windjammers and schooners in the northeast. The vessels parade into the harbor on opening day, with Capt. Jim Sharp narrating the history of each vessel followed by a captain’s welcome ceremony. Next up, there is a passenger and crew talent show in Harbor Park, followed by fireworks over the harbor.

The festival continues through Sunday, Sept. 4, and features three full days of nautical exhibits, food, unique events and experiences for residents and visitors alike.

Highlights include Saturday's Lobster Crate Race, a chance for the fleet of foot to cross a line of crates as many times as possible... without taking a swim. In the Build-A-Boat Contest, teams begin with the same raw materials and create a wide array of boat designs that then compete on the water in a race on Sunday. The First Fish relay race involves carrying slippery fish through an obstacle course, traveling through squalls, inner tubes and seaweed. Pancakes and chowder will keep visitors tastefully entertained. On Sunday the Nautical Dog show and pirates take over Harbor Park.

The cruising schooners are open for tours Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Or take a ride on one of the smaller day-sailing schooners for a couple of hours to get a taste of the seafaring life. On opening day, visitors can bid on a dockside dinner aboard one of the schooners famous for their food.

This year's Camden Windjammer Festival has added some brand new elements, including free kayak trips to visit Curtis Island to wander the grounds and see its lighthouse. If you prefer calmer activities, you can enjoy the boat parades, the many musical groups, gain navigational and sailing skills, see a lobster fishing demonstration, or listen to a master craftsman tell how he completes detailed, scale boat models.

Seafaring trades built the foundation of the coastal village 225 years ago, and these trades still thrive today. Boatbuilding, fishing, sailing and motorboat trips, along with the downtown merchants supported by marine activity, are all central to Camden’s economy. Nowhere is the spirit of maritime heritage more alive than in Camden, especially during this full-fledged Labor Day celebration with flags flying over the harbor.

The Camden Windjammer Festival is a community-led celebration of Camden's maritime heritage and living traditions. Sponsors this year include Courier Publications, Down East, Bangor Daily News, Camden National Bank, The Bay View Collection, First National Bank, Penobscot Bay Pilot, Allen Insurance and Financial, Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center, Cedar Crest Inn, and Country Inn at Camden-Rockport, The Camden Area Business Group, Once a Tree, the Waterfront Restaurant and Edward Jones.

Entrance to the Camden Windjammer Festival is free.

Friday, Sept. 2
10 a.m.-noon — Boating around Curtis Island, leaves from Town Dock
Noon — Festival Officially Starts
Noon- 5 p.m. — Arrival of the Windjammers, Public Landing, Harbor Park
Noon-4 p.m. — Windjammer dinner auction: Get a taste of life on a schooner. Silent auction for dinner aboard one of the schooners in the harbor, Public Landing
Noon-4 p.m. — Displays of traditions and crafts, Public Landing 2016 Schooner Talent Sponsor
2 p.m.-4 p.m. — Boating around Curtis Island, leaves from Town Dock
5 p.m. — Formal welcome to the fleet, Public Landing
6 p.m. — Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble, Harbor Park
7-9 p.m. — Schooner Talent Show: Crews and passengers showcase their talent, Harbor Park
9 p.m. — Fireworks over the harbor 2016 Fireworks Sponsor

Saturday, Sept. 3
7:30-10 a.m. — Camden Rotary Pancake Breakfast, Public Landing
9 a.m.-5 p.m. — Displays of traditions and crafts, Public Landing
9 a.m. — Build-a-Boat construction: Create a boat to your own design with materials supplied by us. See events page for more information, Public Landing
9 a.m. — Lobster Crate Race Registration, Public Landing
10 a.m. — Storytelling and activities for children, Camden Public Library
10 a.m. — Nautical Dog Show, Harbor Park
10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Pirates of the Dark Rose, Harbor Park
11:30 a.m. — Camden Fire Department Water Rescue Demonstration, Public Landing
11:30 a.m. — Kayak trip to Curtis Island, Steamboat Landing
Noon-2 p.m. — West Bay Rotary Chowder Challenge: Taste a variety of chowders from local restaurants and vote for your favorite, Public Landing
Noon — Lobster Crate Race: Race across a line of crates without taking a swim. See events page for more information, Public Landing and head of the harbor
Noon-5 p.m. — Music, face painting, Downtown streets
Noon-2 p.m. — Darlings Ice Cream Truck for a Cause, Atlantic Avenue
1 p.m. — Children's drawing class with Buckley Smith, Public Landing
1:30 p.m. — First Fish: Relay race involving carrying small slippery fish See events page for more information, Public Landing
1:30 p.m. — Kayak trip to Curtis Island, Steamboat Landing
2-4 p.m. — Schooner Open House, Harbor
2 p.m. — Replica boat model building with Robert Eddy, Camden Public Library
3-6 p.m. — Music in the Park, Harbor Park
7:30 p.m. — Noel Paul Stookey in concert: Paul of Peter, Paul and Mary in a solo performance, Camden Opera House

Sunday Sept. 4
10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Displays of traditions and crafts, Public Landing
10 a.m. — Radio Controlled Boat Race: The little boats' turn to show off, Public Landing, inner harbor
11 a.m. — Lobster hauling demonstration: See how Maine lobsters are caught and learn about lobsters, Public Landing
11:30 a.m. — Build-a-Boat Parade and Race, Harbor
11:30 a.m. — Kayak trip to Curtis Island, Steamboat Landing
1 p.m. — Pirate skirmish, Town Dock
1:30 p.m. — Kayak trip to Curtis Island, Steamboat Landing
2-4 p.m. — Schooner Open House boarding from the Public Landing
2-3 p.m. — Windjammer Mate Certification: Tests of nautical skills for all ages. See events page for more information, Public Landing
2-3:30 p.m. — Music in the Park, Harbor Park
2:30-3:30 p.m. — Pirate Finale, Harbor Park
4 p.m. — Boat Parade Finale, Inner Harbor
7:30 p.m. — James Montgomery and the Nor'Easters, Camden Opera House

The Windjammers in the Maine Windjammer Fleet include:

American EagleAmerican Eagle
Capt. John Foss
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 26

The 92-foot American Eagle was built in Gloucester in 1930 and for 53 years was a working member of the Gloucester fishing fleet. It has been accurately restored and is licensed for international voyages. American Eagle regularly participates in the Gloucester race during Labor Day weekend and has won numerous times.

Capt. Dennis Gallant
Homeport: Camden
Guests: 29

The 95-foot ketch-rigged Angelique was built specifically for the windjamming trade in 1980. Patterned after the 19th century sailing ships that fished off the coast of England, Angelique was built for safety, and offers the unique feature of a deckhouse salon.

Grace BaileyGrace Bailey
Capts. Ray and Ann Williamson
Homeport: Camden
Guests: 29

Built in Patchogue, New York in 1882, the Grace Bailey was engaged in the West Indian trade, and hauling timber and granite until 1940, when she started carrying passengers. This 80-foot coaster was the flagship for the original Maine Windjammer Cruise fleet.

Captains Doug and Linda Lee
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 30

The Heritage was built in 1983 by her owners at the North End Shipyard in Rockland, Maine. Designed for the comfort of her passengers, the vessel was built in the tradition of a 19th century coaster.


Isaac H EvansIsaac Evans
Capt. Brenda Thomas
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 22

The Isaac H. Evans was built in Mauricetown, N.J., in 1886 and spent many years oystering on the Delaware Bay. In 1973 she was completely rebuilt for the windjamming trade. Isaac H. Evans is a registered National Historic Landmark.

JE RigginJ&E Riggin
Capts. John Finger and Anne Mahle
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 24

A national historic land-mark, the J&E Riggin was built in 1927 in Dorchester, N.J., for the oyster dredging trade. In 1977 she was rebuilt for passenger sail. Known for her eco-friendly and culinary travel, she is the only Maine windjammer to be awarded the environmental leadership award from the state of Maine.

Capt. Noah Barnes and Capt. J.R. Braugh
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 16

The schooner Ladona was launched in 1922 in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, as a private yacht for the Loring family. She cruised the eastern seaboard and went on to win her class in the 1923 Bermuda's cup. During World War II she served with the U.S. Navy as a submarine patrol. She has been restored to her original ocean-yacht glory and name and offers a brand new windjammer cruising experience.

Lewis R FrenchLewis R. French
Capts. Garth Wells and Jenny Tobin
Homeport: Camden
Guests: 21

Launched in 1871 in Christmas Cove, Maine, the Lewis R. French is the oldest commercial schooner in the U.S., and was recently designated a National Historic Landmark. This season marks the 64-foot coasting schooner's 139th summer in Maine.

Mary DayMary Day
Capts. Barry King and Jennifer Martin
Homeport: Camden
Guests: 29

Launched in 1962, the 90-foot Mary Day was the first windjammer to be built specifically with comfort, safety and performance in mind. Carrying on the Maine shipbuilding tradition, she is the first pure sailing schooner built in Maine since 1930.

Captains Ray and Ann Williamson
Homeport: Camden
Guests: 29

The 78-foot Mercantile was built in Little Deer Isle, Maine, in 1916 to carry salt fish, barrel staves and firewood. The Mercantile became a cruise schooner in 1942 under the ownership of Frank Swift, the founder of the Maine windjammer trade.

Capts. Ray and Ann Williamson
Homeport: Camden
Guests: 6

A miniature version of the grander ships, the Mistress was built with a loyalty to traditional lines and materials coupled with an attention to modern amenities. Forty-six feet long, with just three double cabins (each with private head), she offers an intimate sailing experience.

Stephen TaberStephen Taber
Capt. Noah and Jane Barnes
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 22

The Stephen Taber was built as a coasting schooner in 1871 on Long Island, N.Y. The 68-foot schooner is the oldest documented sailing vessel in continuous service in the United States, and she was recently designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Capt. Bill Brown
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 7

Launched in 1986, the pinky Summertime was built on the Maine coast using traditional methods. The pinky, which originated in Europe in the 1600s, receives its name from its uplifted or "pinked" stern. The pink-sterned hull with schooner rig were most popular for fishing in New England between 1800 and 1950. Summertime was probably designed around 1830.

Capts. Lance Meadows, Jon Finger, Annie Mahle
Homeport: Belfast
Guests: 45

A national historic landmark, and one of the few working schooners born and raised in Maine, the schooner Timberwind began her life in 1931 as a pilot ship and protected the waters of Casco Bay during World War II. After 40 years hosting passengers for multi-day cruises, the Timberwind has new life offering day sails out of Belfast.




Victory ChimesVictory Chimes
Capt. Kip Files and Capt. Paul DeGaeta
Homeport: Rockland
Guests: 40

Built in 1900 in Bethel, Del.,  to carry lumber up and down the shallow bays and rivers of the Chesapeake, the 132-foot schooner Victory Chimes is the last three-masted schooner on the East coast, and the largest passenger sailing vessel under U.S. flag.

More info:

Day sailors and harbor tours


Windjammer Heritage

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