Change of ownership for old schooner

Schooner Timberwind moves long-time berth from Rockport to port unknown

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 3:30pm

    ROCKPORT — The schooner Timberwind, a longtime fixture at Rockport’s Marine Park wharf, was relocated Jan. 30 to Rockland, much to the surprise of many. Owner Bob Tassi said Jan. 31 a deal is on the table to sell the 81-year-old vessel to an undisclosed buyer. She has been moved to Rockland’s Lermond ‘sCove in preparation for boat yard work.

    “She is in the process of being sold,” said Tassi, declining to identify the interested buyer.

    As to remaining in Rockport Harbor, he said: “I would doubt that. The buyer has other plans, but she will stay in the greater Penobscot Bay area.”

    Tassi has owned the 96-foot schooner since 2003, when he bought her and made extensive repairs to the transom, stem and planking. Tassi operated the Timberwind as part of the Midcoast windjammer fleet, taking visitors for day and overnight sails on Penobscot Bay.

    The Timberwind, designated as a national historic landmark, has been on the market for $410,000.

    Tassi paid Rockport approximately $3,200 annually for a year-round berth at the town’s public wharf at Marine Park. At last sight early in the morning, Jan. 30, the Timberwind was wrapped in a coat of winter plastic, sitting quietly beside the dock. By 9:30 a.m., however, she had been towed away by the Equinox, with rumors of the Rockland destination filling phone lines.

    Rockport Town Manager Rick Bates said Jan. 30 that the town wanted Timberwind to remain.

    “We worked really hard to try and keep it here,” he said. “It was part of the harbor.”

    Tassi said the next day: “Everyone wants the Timberwind to stay, including me.”

    Just before Thanksgiving, a storm that blew out of the southeast sent strong swells and waves into Rockport Harbor, resulting in the Timberwind’s breaking loose from the mooring and smashing against the dock. Besides a broken bowsprit, pieces of the dock broke, and the town sectioned off a piece of the wharf to foot traffic as a precaution.

    Public Works Director Mike Young was at the harbor on Sunday, Jan. 26, as another storm brewed out of the southeast, again building swells that rocked the Timberwind on the mooring lines. This time, however, she was fastened to several moorings and withstood the action.

    The schooner will go to an unidentified boat yard for repairs and to determine if there was more damage suffered during the Thanksgiving storm.

    “We’ll check to see if the shock traveled up the mast,” Tassi said.

    The Timberwind was built in 1931 by Victor Cole at Union Wharf in Portland, according to a history of the boat. 

    Tassi, who began his career with windjammers in 1999 aboard the Stephen Taber, is refocusing his attention on music and songwriting.

    “This is an opportunity for me to reengage in the music industry,” he said.

    The Timberwind is not the only schooner to slip its mooring without much warning. On Jan. 9, the Nathaniel Bowditch was towed to Camden from its berth at Lermond’s Cove in Rockland. The schooner is tied up in a legal suit concerning financial contracts.

    Timberwind specs:

    LOA: 96 ft 0 in
    Beam: 18 ft 6 in
    Length on Deck: 70 ft 0 in
    Minimum Draft: 10 ft 6 in
    Displacement: 112,000 lbs

    Engine Brand: Timberwind has no engine. She is maneuvered by a yawl boat

    Seating Capacity: 20