CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) historic schooner Bowdoin is gearing up for a busy summer sailing season, that according to Captain Eric Jergensen, small vessel master at MMA. The vessel’s 2011 schedule will find it primarily sailing along the coast of Maine for appearances at a variety of traditional sail and community-based festivals. The vessel will also host a number of youth sailing excursions, both overnight and day sails, and several special alumni sail outings.
“Our main goal is to expose people to the elements of traditional sail in a friendly, hands-on setting,” said Jergensen, in a statement. He noted that at the beginning of the season, the vessel will take Sea Scouts from Bath on a brief sailing adventure, stopping in Boothbay in time to participate in Maine Windjammer Days. “We’ll be part of the parade of sail and then we’ll open the boat up to the public for tours,” he continued. “We maximize every opportunity to share the vessel’s history and the experience of sail, and to talk about the tremendous learning opportunities at Maine Maritime Academy. Bowdoin is the official vessel of the State of Maine and her activities in that capacity only complement her role as the flagship of our limited tonnage programs. We hope that the public will keep an eye out for us and feel free to approach us when they see us in port.”
The Bowdoin will provide a welcome escort to the training ship, State of Maine, upon her arrival in Portland on June 25. Later in the summer, Bowdoin will be the focal point of a waterfront celebration to mark the vessel’s 90th birthday. “We’ve planned a Castine community day to welcome our homeport,” said Jergensen. “It’s no coincidence that we scheduled the fun for the day that we will welcome a number of historic vessels to our waterfront campus.” The Bowdoin birthday celebration will correspond with the beginning of a local tribute to the designs of naval architect and Bowdoin designer, William Hand, Jr., and his design partner Richard O. Davis. On various dates throughout the summer, Bowdoin will offer sailing fieldtrips to students enrolled in the Penobscot Marine Museum’s summer day camp program.
Maine Maritime Academy’s Bowdoin has had a long and illustrious career, sailing on 25 scientific expeditions to the Arctic Circle under the command of Adm. Donald MacMillan, according to a press release. Bowdoin sent the first shortwave communications from the region in 1923 while wintering in Refuge Harbor, Greenland.
Today, the vessel regularly cruises Penobscot Bay and local waters providing a hands-on sail-training platform for the college. The schooner is uncovered each April to begin re-rigging on the college’s working waterfront in preparation for the summer cruising season. Each summer Bowdoin cruises a variety of New England waters, from Massachusetts to the Canadian Maritimes. Throughout the sailing season, the schooner serves as a public ambassador for the college, promoting traditional sail-training techniques and serving various student and community groups.