‘She’s a beauty’: Schooners arrive in Wiscasset harbor

Fri, 08/20/2021 - 6:30am

    The when moved from 9 to 10 Thursday morning, but there were no if’s about General George Patton’s schooner When and If’s arrival, and later the Sycamore’s, with the Alna man who built it from 2001 to 2016, Fred Bowers. Wife Mary and their rat terrier Toggle accompanied him as Sycamore joined in the inaugural Schoonerfest. 

    Shouts and claps broke out in Wiscasset harbor when, across the Sheepscot River, the first vessel, Wiscasset-built When and If, appeared. “It’s getting bigger every minute,” Wiscasset’s Ethel Stanfield said.

    “She’s a beauty,” Sarah Emery said. She used to see the 1939 schooner daily when she lived in its summer port, Salem, Massachusetts. Thursday, Emery, now a Federal Street resident, watched When and If return for a visit to its hometown, now her town. 

    While Sycamore had the Bowers’ terrier, When and If had crew member Sean Salzmann’s poodle Leilani aboard, looking out from the boat as the crew docked the vessel with help from locals.

    Minnesota-raised Sidney Anderson got a job on a boat in Key West, sailed about three years, then went to work on When and If  last year. “It is my house and my job, so the commute is really quick.” Crew mate Jack Maher from Alexandria, Virginia thought he might go looking for a lobster roll. 

    What did Wiscasset’s Miles Truesdell, 7, think of the cannon salute? “Amazing.”

    And what did fellow resident Dan Watts, who fired one of the cannons aboard Alan Boyes’ Pagan Moon, think? “Loud! We had earplugs,” he said, smiling. Earlier, Boyes, of Barters Island, Boothbay, explained it was “a proper salute for the When and If. She’s a beautiful boat. She deserves a salute.” The Sycamore later got one.

    Dozens of onlookers – from Schoonerfest volunteers to locals and out-of-state visitors like William Horstmann IV, 4, of Winnetka, Illinois in a captain’s hat William Horstmann III said his son picked out in Boothbay – saw the vessels arrive. Schoonerfest’s Terry Heller said more might have come, had the arrival time and the weather been certain sooner. The morning turned out sticky and partly sunny after a forecast of possible showers. “But you know what? This is Maine, so we take whatever it is” and enjoy it, she said.

    Water Street Kitchen & Bar General Manager Shane McCarthy talked with Heller about the beer and wine garden the restaurant was setting up for the festival. McCarthy said Schoonerfest is a good use of what he considers an under-used harbor, and he would like to see more events. He said it might be hard to tell if Schoonerfest gives the restaurant a bump in business, though. It has already been “crazy” busy this summer, he explained.

    The festival runs through Sunday. Visit