You know summer has arrived in Maine when you can view the pleasure boats on the water. Summer is the time to celebrate Maine Windjammer Days, and there are many to choose from!
What exactly is a windjammer? The modern version of the term means a traditional sailing vessel operated in an old-fashioned way: no electric winches or high-tech gizmos but lots of sweat and muscle power. Nowadays, windjammer trips often seek passenger participation to better experience the feel of earlier maritime days.
Festivals feature parades of tall ships, fireworks, live music, and other colorful activities. Here is a summary of the annual events in MidCoast Maine:
Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor
Sunday, June 25, 2023 – Saturday, July 1, 2023
Windjammer Days are summer’s official launch in the Boothbay Region. This year marks the 61st celebration of family fun. It begins with an evening of ships lit up like Christmas and continues with multiple parades, fireworks, Artist’s Alley, lots of lobster, and pirate games. Skip stones, listen to sea shanties or cruise around the bay. Everyone is a kid again!
The Maine Windjammer Association
The Maine Windjammer Association represents the largest fleet of traditional tall ships in the Americas. They sponsor numerous events during the summer to encourage and preserve traditional historic vessels:
June 12, 2023
Join all of the windjammer fleets for an evening of music and camaraderie. Seeing so many vessels sail in, and raft up is a spectacular sight. Chat with the captain and crew, and learn what life on the open sea is like.
Great Schooner Race
July 6-7, 2023
The tall ships arrive at the Rockland breakwater on the 6th. Informal small boat races occur in the evening. However, the Great Schooner Race begins the following day (weather permitting) at 10:30; have your phone or camera ready for one-of-a-kind pictures! The race finishes around 3 pm, with an awards ceremony, music, and refreshments.
Camden Windjammer Festival
September 2-3, 2023
The ships come together for Labor Day weekend festivities in scenic Camden Harbor. Activities include a parade of sail, a talent show, live music, dancing, and fireworks. Join the Lobster Crate Race, where contestants race across a line of lobster crates, trying to avoid slipping into the salty brine. Another fun spectacle is the fish relay, where teams carry slippery fish, trying to toss them into the “ship’s hold.”
Have Your Own Sea Adventure
All of this talk of maritime adventure may have you thirsting for an outing on the seas of your own! Captain Nickels Inn offers several sailing trips on various-sized schooners. The Cutter Owl is a six-passenger yacht that cruises Penobscot Bay for an intimate afternoon experience. The 22-passenger Schooner Olad was initially built in 1927 and has been painstakingly restored to provide a unique experience. Regardless of which adventure you choose, you will return to shore with a completely different perspective of life on the sea.
Celebrating Maine’s Windjammer Days is a must-do whether on the water or on the shore. You’ll take a treasure-trove of memories home with you. Plan your getaway now so you don’t miss a single moment of MidCoast Maine’s summer activities.