Maritime Explorer: Kathleen Jones

Fri, 02/03/2023 - 9:00am

    The 61st annual Windjammer Days will take place Sunday, June 25 through Saturday, July 1, 2023. This year the Friends of Windjammer Days is celebrating our rich population of Maritime Explorers. Those featured have traveled extensively on different bodies of waters either for work, pleasure or both.

    Kathleen Jones is now well known as a local designer and co-owner of Kerr/Jones Gallery in East Boothbay, but for a span of three decades, she and her late husband George traveled extensively in the seas of the Eastern and Western Caribbean and along the coast of Maine.

    A native of Ohio, Kathleen graduated from Ohio State. After college while pursuing her master’s degree in San Francisco she met her future husband George, and they were married in 1981. In the early years, George’s work as a physician in the military brought them to Germany and Saudi Arabia and then back to Memphis, which was George’s hometown. It was at that time that they both learned to sail on a large lake in Arkansas. Dreams of a larger boat and longer voyages began to take shape, including bareboat charters in Antigua and the British Virgin Islands.

    In 1987 they purchased a Peterson 44 named Ursa Major in Annapolis, Maryland. They first sailed to the Leeward and Windward islands of the Eastern Caribbean and then onto Venezuela with two very young children aboard. George would fly back to the U.S. periodically to work and replenish their “cruising kitty” while Kathleen stayed aboard and homeschooled their older child. They returned to the U.S. after cruising for two years, leading to their next adventure in Maine.

    They first came to Maine to visit some old friends who had a cottage on Southport Island. As their children were growing older, the couple felt they needed to investigate land-based options for schooling and socialization. They fell in love with Maine and knew that living here would lend itself to more sailing adventures. George was hired as an internist at St. Andrews Hospital and subsequently opened a private practice in Boothbay Harbor. Kathleen became involved in the community including becoming a member of the Windjammer Days Committee. As George’s practice grew, they found they didn’t have the time to sail. This eventually led to the decision to sell Ursa Major. They replaced her with their first power boat, White Falcon, which was originally designed and owned by Bill Danforth and was built at Brewer’s Boatyard (now Hodgdon Yacht Services) around 1961.

    The family enjoyed cruising up and down the Maine coast which required less time away from home. Upon a suggestion from the legendary broadcaster Walter Cronkite, White Falcon was eventually donated to a non-profit school in Florida where students considered high risk were taught useful marine skills.

    In 2001, George and Kathleen decided to sail again as George now had more time in semi-retirement. They purchased a Sparkman and Stevens Custom 47 and renamed her Déjà Vu which was appropriate since they felt they had been there before. They had magical adventures in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. They docked Déjà Vu in a marina in Guatemala which was “hurricane safe” so that they could return frequently to sail. Déjà Vu was sold in 2015, and George passed in 2017 following a seven-year battle with multiple myeloma.

    Kathleen wishes that George could share the honor of being nominated as a Windjammer Maritime Explorer with her as he was the risk taker and long wanted to sail the world. Kathleen likes to think that he’s out there on a beautiful, seaworthy boat that’s fully stocked with Heinekens. She feels very grateful for their shared nautical experiences.