56th Annual Windjammer Days


2019 Windjammer Days dates:

June 23-29


Sunday, June 24 - Saturday, June 30, 2018

Friends of Windjammer Days Information Tent - 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday

~ Information, shuttle maps, raffle tickets - raffle prizes announced hourly - commemorative items ~

All events subject to change / All events in Boothbay Harbor unless otherwise noted

* Free Shuttle Service Stop


10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - *Arts & Crafts Show – Boothbay Common – Route 27, Boothbay

1 p.m. - Boothbay Harbor One Design sailboat races – Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club – Route 27, W. Boothbay Harbor. Best viewing: Maine State Aquarium, McKown Point Rd., W. Boothbay Harbor

1:30 p.m. - Blessing of the Fleet - Vessels parade around inner  and outer harbor. Blessing near Fishermen’s Memorial, Atlantic Ave. by local clergy.

2-4 p.m. - Food Tasting – Pier 1-


1-4 p.m. - Tours of the Sail Loft with Nathaniel Wilson, sailmaker –Lincoln St., E. Boothbay. Park at Ocean Point Marina

1-4 p.m. - Boothbay Sea & Science Center open house -  216 Ocean Point Rd.,  (Ocean Point Marina) E. Boothbay

4-5 p.m. - Ernestina-Morrissey reception at Bristol Marine (formerly Boothbay Harbor Shipyard), Commercial St.

5-7 p.m. - Linekin Bay Resort Cruzan Rum Taste Testing: 21 and over only. 5 Wall St.

7 p.m.  -  Windjammers Got Talent! Local youth talent show for girls and boys ages 9-12. Boothbay Region YMCA, 261 Townsend Ave.


7-10 a.m. - Pancake breakfast – Waterfront Whale Park, Commercial St.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Kids’ Alley – Boothbay House Hill Road – games, crafts and more

10-10:30 a.m. - Pirates’ Puppet Show – Waterfront Whale Park, Commercial Street

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Windjammers for Wee Mateys – Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library lawn – 4 Oak St.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - * Tours of U.S. Coast Guard Station – McKown Point Road, W. Boothbay Harbor

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - * Maine State Aquarium events and crafts - McKown Point Road, W. Boothbay Harbor

11 a.m. to Noon – Tours of the pirate ship Must Roos – Pier 6, Fisherman’s Wharf, Commercial Street

11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.  - Food Booth open in the Whale Park

12:30-1:30 p.m. - Pirate Duels / Meet Oreo the pirate bird - Whale Park, Commercial St.

1:30-3 p.m. - Concert: Amber Jones & Paul Johnson. Whale Park Stage, Town Landing, Commercial St.

1:30-3 p.m. - Recruiting for Pirates – Kid’s Tent, Boothbay House Hill Rd.

3 p.m. - Antique Boat Parade & Reception: Vessels parade around inner and outer harbor. Best viewing: Whale Park, Footbridge, Fishermen’s Memorial Park (Atlantic Ave.). Public reception at Oceanside Golf Resort (Atlantic Ave.) immediately afterward. Appetizers, drink specials, Schooner captain stories.

3-4 p.m. - Tours of the pirate ship Must Roos – Docked at Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, Pier 6

5:15-6:30 p.m. - Concert: Junction 27. Whale Park Stage, Town Landing, Commercial St.

7-9 p.m. - Concert: Work Trucks. Whale Park Stage, Town Landing, Commercial St.

7:30 p.m. - Red Cloak Haunted History Tours: Windjammer history, pirate tales, and ghost stories of early Boothbay Harbor. Must pre-register: 380-3806 for this walking tour. Suitable for all ages. FMI: https://redcloakhauntedhistorytours.com.


7-10 a.m. - Pancake breakfast. Whale Park – under the tent – Commercial St.

9:30-10 a.m. - Pirates Weapons Demo: Town Landing, Commercial St.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - *Maine State Aquarium activities: McKown Point Rd., W. Boothbay Harbor.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - BRLT Kids Tent & Activities! Boothbay House Hill Rd.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - *Tours of the U.S. Coast Guard Station: McKown Point Rd., W. Boothbay Harbor.

10:30-11:15 a.m. - Cannon Lessons & Pirate Shoot Out: Whale Park, Town Landing, Commercial St.

11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Food Booth opens by Rebuilding Together of Lincoln County, Whale Park

Noon to 12:30 p.m. - Attack on Boothbay Harbor! Pirate-British Navy fight it out on the sea! Whale Park

1-3 p.m. - Windjammers arrive in the harbor for the Gathering of the Fleet

1-3 p.m. - Tours of the pirate ship Must Roos: Docked at Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, Pier 6

2 p.m. - Lobster Eating Contest: Anyone can enter! Sign up begins at 1:30 p.m., Whale Park Stage

2:15 p.m. - Cod Fish Races! Anyone can enter! Sign up info at the Friends of WJD tent in the Whale Park

3-4 p.m. - Concert: Capitol (formerly Pookie & The  Boys). Whale Park Stage, Commercial St.

4-5 p.m. - STREET PARADE! Parade route begins at Boothbay region schools, near YMCA and proceeds up Route 27 toward Commercial St.

5-6:45 p.m. - Concert: The Windjammer Princesses: Whale Park Stage, Commercial St

7-9 p.m. - Concert: Pat Colwell & The Soul Sensations: Whale Park Stage, Commercial St.

7:30 p.m. - Red Cloak Haunted History Tours: Learn Windjammer history, pirate tales, and ghost stories of early Boothbay Harbor during this walking tour. 90 minutes. Reservation only: call 207-380-3806. FMI: https://redcloakhauntedhistorytours.com.

9:15 p.m. - FIREWORKS Spectacular!


7-11 a.m. - Some of the visiting Windjammer fleet departs. These schooners remain: Harvey Gamage, Adventure, Eastwind , Lazy Jack and Lynx.

1 p.m. - Festival Golf Tourney at Boothbay Harbor Country Club, Country Club Rd., Boothbay. Open to all.

1 p.m. - New! Crab Cake Cook Off! - At Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort, Atlantic Avenue. Be one of the first 40 people to make a donation to the Friends of Windjammer Days for the opportunity to taste, and vote, on crab cakes by local chefs competing for judges’ and People’s Choice awards in Oceanside’s Coastal Prime restaurant.

4-5:30 p.m. - Concert: Dave Gagne Trio. Whale Park stage, Town Landing, Commercial St.

6-8 p.m. - Concert: Don Brewer Blues Project. Whale Park stage, Town Landing, Commercial St.

7:30 p.m. - Red Cloak Haunted History Tours: Windjammer history, pirate tales, and ghost stories of early Boothbay Harbor during this walking tour. 90 minutes. Reservation only: call 207-380-3806. FMI: https://redcloakhauntedhistorytours.com. For all ages.


9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Artist’s Alley. Whale Park. Live demos, music, paintings, jewelry, fine crafts. Artists will be working throughout the day along the dock and in the demo tent.

3 p.m. to  5 p.m. - Concert: Delta Knights Duo. Whale Park Stage, Town Landing, Commercial St.

4-6 p.m. - Reception and tours aboard the Schooners Adventure and Harvey Gamage: Carousel Marina/Whale’s Tale Restaurant, 125 Atlantic Ave.

6:30-8:30 p.m. - Concert: The Spaceheaters – Whale Park Stage, Town Landing, Commercial St.


8 a.m. - Rocky Coast Road Race: Start at YMCA, 261 Townsend Ave. Call 633-2855 for details.

2:30 p.m. - Tug of War Across the Harbor!

6 p.m. - Tug “after party” at McSeagull’s, Pier 1.

6:30-8:30 p.m. - Concert: Dyer Neck Gang. Whale Park Stage

9 p.m. - Lighted Boat Parade - The last event of the Festival is a dazzler!

Friends of Windjammer Days is a 501c3 non-profit group of volunteers who have come together to continue the tradition of Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor. They have committed to maintaining the heritage of this maritime event to enhance the Boothbay Region community and the experience of maritime Maine.


President  - Peter Ripley

Treasurer  - Dianne Gimbel

Secretary  - Mark Gimbel

Director - Nathaniel Wilson

Director - 

Director - Bill Logan


Boats – Peter Ripley

Sponsorship – Mark Gimbel

VIP Reception – Laura Blake, Pam O’Connor

Entertainment – Bill Bailey

Food – Landon Flynn

Artist’s Alley –  Sandy Wheeler, Janet Brennan

Kid’s Fest – Trish Warren, Lori Bailey

Antique Boat Parade – Doug Goldhirsch, Bruce White

Whale Park – Kris Ward

Lighted Boat Parade / Marketing & P.R. – Kim Gillies

Tug of War Across the Harbor – Chris Gleason, Korey Lewis, Darrell Gudroe

Cod Fish Race, Lobster Eating – Chris Gleason, Rusty Court, Jack Herger

Street Parade – Stephanie Hawke, Michelle Davis

Footbridge Lighting – Nancy Rowe, Cathi Bertin

Talent Show  – Emily Mirable

Logistics Coordinator – Dave Butterworth

Stay Page – Patty Sterling



American Eagle

Captain-owner: John Foss

Homeport: Rockland

Originally launched June 2, 1930 as the Andrew & Rosalie, the last of the Gloucester fishing schooners.

On May 5, 1941, new owner Capt. Ben Pine renamed her the American Eagle.  Capt. John Foss bought the schooner in 1984 and, with the help of five other boat captains, completely restored her – including the sails, which were constructed by Nathaniel Wilson of Nathaniel Wilson Sailmakers in East Boothbay. She was launched American Eagle in April 1986.

The schooner was named a National Historic Landmark in 1991.  American Eagle is licensed for international voyages. 

Member of the Maine Windjammer Association

Sponsor: Pine State Beverage






Owner-captain: Hans Vierthaler

Homeport: Belfast

A 1937 Murray Peterson Schooner, formerly known as Oliver C. Weyant, built in East Boothbay by Scott Kennedy over 20 years. She sails with a hermaphrodite rig and Nathaniel Wilson Duradon dacron sails.

Vierthaler renamed her Actress, a name he discovered in the Howard Chapelle fishing schooner book. Last spring, he completed rig, electrical and painting work. This winter, he worked to replace cabin top beams and others in the cabin sides.

Sponsor: Ram Island Preservation Trust

Schooner Heritage

Captains-owners:  Doug and Linda Lee

Homeport: Rockland

Heritage was designed and built by The Lees at the North End Shipyard in Rockland.  The project took a year of planning and four years of construction culminating with her launch on April 16, 1983. 

The first schooner the couple bought together was the Isaac H. Evans in the 70’s.  They completely restored the vessel and sailed her for 10 seasons, including trips to Boothbay Harbor for the festival back when it was still held in July.

But, for the Lees, Heritage is their dream schooner. Said Doug, “We love to admire her when we're rowing back from shore. She was well built, and with tremendous care. A very traditional, well-proportioned and well-cared for ship.”

The 2018 festival marks the 35th year of participation for the Lees – aboard Heritage - their only scheduled trip westward each summer.

Sponsored by  The Giles Family

Schooner Harvey Gamage

Owner: Phineas Sprague

Captain: Christopher Lansburg

Homeport: Portland

The 131-foot rigged topsail schooner was built in Bristol by shipbuilder Harvey Gamage in 1973 at the Gamage Shipyard in South Bristol. It was restored in 2015 at Portland Yacht Services.

A former Ocean Classrooms education vessel (until 2014), the Harvey Gamage has been educating students for over 50 years.  Ocean Passages, LLC,  coordinating and creating the current sailing education programming, was formed in 2015 to offer world-class sailing education in Cuba’s marine environment for gap students, after 20 years of experience running high school and college programs aboard Tall Ships.

Another educational opportunity for all high school students ages 15-19 is the two-week summer sailing voyage in partnership with Baxter Academy for Technology and Science.This year’s dates are July 7-21. 

Harvey Gamage will be docked at Carousel Marina (Atlantic Avenue) after the Parade of Sail on Wednesday, June 27.

Sponsored by Yale Cordage



Boyd N. Sheppard


(FKA Isaac H. Evans)

Captain: Katie McKinlay

A gaff rigged topsail schooner

Homeport: Rockland, Maine

Completely restored in 2017-18.    Originally built in Mauricetown, New Jersey in 1888, she was an oyster freighter sailing the waters of Delaware Bay.

The Evans brothers bought her in 1909 and named the schooner after their father, an oysterman, Isaac H. Evans, and she continued on in the oyster industry for many, many years.

Now renamed the Boyd N. Sheppard, she is the oldest of the 5 known remaining oyster schooners in the U.S.  Chef Adam and Captain Katie hope to invoke a spirit of her working past, featuring some of the best local Oysters the Maine coast has to offer. 

Sponsor: Nathaniel Wilson Sailmaker

Schooner Alert

Captains-owners: Perry Davis and Bethany McNelly Davis

Homeport: Bailey Island

A two-masted wooden tall ship, 71 feet overall, built in York  by Paul Robbins.

Original name: (1992)  Tall Cotton – a passenger sailboat; as a commercial fishing vessel, it was renamed Alert; after six years of fishing out of Portland, the current owners returned it to a passenger vessel.

After the Parade of Sail, Alert will be docked at Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort.

Sponsor: Pepsi

Schooner Ardelle

Owner-captain: Harold Burnham

Homeport: Gloucester, Massachusetts

This captain’s family has been boat-building since the early 1600s! The Ardelle is a 45-ton,  58-foot typical full-rigged clipper “pinky” schooner, named for Harold’s grandmother. Ardelle’s design is largely based on the original pinky Maine –  although the Ardelle is larger and has more of a clipper feel due to its slightly more defined bow.

Ardelle was constructed in 2010-2011 almost entirely from recycled materials – the spars, rigging and systems were largely salvaged from another schooner. Harold milled the lion’s share of Ardelle’s timber from trees discarded by local arborists and tree companies.

Two other schooners built at the Burnham Shipyard you may have heard of are  Thomas Lannon and Fame of Salem.

Sponsor: Cruzan

Lewis H. Story

Owner: Essex Shipbuilding Museum
Homeport:  Essex, Massachusetts

The 30-foot long Lewis H. Story is a Chebacco vessel constructed by Essex boatbuilder Harold Burnham in 1998, a commission from the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum to serve as its flagship. 

The Lewis H. Story’s  hull, deck arrangement and rig are typical of post-Revolutionary War inshore fishing vessels.  She is named in honor of  the Essex shipwright, carver, designer, modeler, researcher and foremost maritime historian Lewis H. Story, 1873-1948.  All contemporary studies of Essex history and the design of the American fishing schooner are based on his lifelong study and scholarship.

Docked at Boothbay Harbor Marina after the Gathering of the Fleet.

Sponsor: Boothbay Harbor Marina

Schooner Adventure - Cheryl Briscoe photo

Captain: Willy Leathers
Homeport: Gloucester, Massachusetts

The 121-foot Schooner Adventure, designed by Thomas McManus, was built in 1926 and launched on Sept. 16 at the John F. James and Son Yard in Essex, Massachusetts.  McManus designed the ship as a “knockabout” having no bowsprit. For the first 27 years, Adventure was a fishing boat catching cod, haddock and halibut off Georges Bank.

In 1953, she was reborn a windjammer and used to cruise the waters along Maine’s coastline. Her grace, beauty and prowess as a sailing vessel earned her the nickname "Queen of the Windjammers." Eventually, Captain Jim Sharp donated  Adventure to the people of Gloucester, Massachusetts where extensive restoration occurred.

Docked at Carousel Marina, Atlantic Avenue, Boothbay Harbor after the Gathering of the Fleet

Sponsor: Carousel Marina

Schooner Eastwind

Captains-owners  Tom and Jennifer Smith

Homeport: Boothbay Harbor

The 65-foot vessel was built of white oak and cedar by Herb and Doris Smith in Albion, 1997-1999. The Smiths modeled her after Gloucester fishing vessels. 

Eastwind is the sixth schooner the dynamic couple have built; the first five were “Appledores.”

The Smiths and their kids, Tom (now owner and captain), Lisa and Susan, sailed around the world twice aboard their own vessels. Herb and Doris authored two books about their world voyages: “Sailing Three Oceans” and “Dreams of Natural Places.”

Sponsor: Knickerbocker Group

Schooner Lazy Jack

Captains: Joe Tassi (owner) and Michael Tassi

Homeport: Boothbay Harbor

A top sail schooner

Lazy Jack was built in 1947 at Whittier & Lowe Shipyard in Ipswich, Massachusetts by designer-builder Fred Whittier. Her lines are taken from the Gloucester fishing schooners of the 1800s. Fred named her for his favorite Key West haunt, Lazy Jack’s.

Lazy Jack was a renowned charter boat in the Bahamas from the 50's to late 60’s. Sailing a route from Ipswich to Man O War Cay to Cuba, she carried various cargoes including rum, guns, cigars and passengers. 

After being in the music biz for 27 years as musician, songwriter and record executive, San Francisco native Joe and his son Michael moved to Maine in 2003. Joe  bought Lazy Jack that same year and father and son have been living the dream ever since ...

Sponsor:  Gimbel & Sons Country Store

Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey

Captain: Paul Haley of Capt. G.W. Full Associates

Homeport:  New Bedford, Massachusetts

The Ernestina-Morrissey, currently being completely restored at Bristol Marine (formerly Boothbay Harbor Shipyard) here in Boothbay Harbor, is a two-masted gaff schooner with a rich history. The U.S. Department of the Interior designated her a National Historic Landmark in 1990.

Built at the Jame & Tarr Shipyard of Essex, Massachusetts, she was originally launched as the Effie E. Morrissey on Feb. 1, 1894. She started life on the sea as a Gloucester Grand Banks fishing vessel, then emerged as an Arctic explorer, and later a World War II survey and supply vessel.

A fundraising reception and tour  will be held in her honor during the festival on Monday, June 25,  4-5 p.m., Shipyard at Boothbay Harbor, 120 Commercial St. All donations go to the Ernestina-Morrissey Foundation.

Sponsor: Boothbay Harbor Shipyard





Schooner Lynx

Captain: Donald Peacock
Homeport: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The 122-foot Privateer Lynx is a living history museum designed to educate children and adults alike about American history through active sail training aboard a real wooden sailing ship, built by Woodson K. Woods and launched July 28, 2001 in Rockport.

Woods was inspired to build a privateer just like the original Lynx built in 1812 by Thomas Knapp of Fells Point, Maryland.

Today, through an interactive program, students learn about the challenges the Privateer Lynx faced in the War of 1812,  about the personal achievement  gained through teamwork, and the discipline of sail training.

Lynx will be docked at Linekin Bay Resort, Wall Point, Boothbay Harbor, Wednesday, June 27; at the Public Landing, Whale Park, Commercial Street, Boothbay Harbor on Thursday, June 28; then returns to Linekin Bay Resort Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30 for DAY SAILS!

Sponsor: Linekin Bay Resort

Schooner True North


Captain: Andrew Grainger

Homeport: Boston, Massachusetts

Summer home: Pemaquid

Schooner True North is an Alden Schooner built in 1939 by Goudy & Stevens, East Boothbay.

She is one of approximately 45 Alden Schooners in the world.

True North will be docked at the Mystic Mermaid restaurant on Pier 1 after the Parade of Sail.

Sponsor: Compass Rose Events

Schooner Sycamore


Owner-captain Fred Bowers
Homeport: Wiscasset

Sycamore is a 52-foot steel, two-masted schooner built by Fred Bowers over 16 years. Bowers named her for the sycamore trees he fondly remembers that surrounded his childhood home.

Sycamore is a steel representation of a Pinky schooner, one of two vessel designs used in Maine's fisheries in the early 19th century. “Pinky” means the stern is "pinked" or pinched together.

Sponsor: Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort

Maine Gaff Ketch Jenny Ives

Captain Colby Pearson

Homeport: Tenants Harbor, ME

Built in Boothbay Harbor, 1981, by Roy Blaney. Blaney collaborated with naval architect Thomas C. Gilmer on the design of this one-of-a-kind traditional gaff-rigged Ketch. The Jenny Ives was Blaney’s 24th boat composed of white oak, Douglas fir, cedar and mahogany; cotton sails sewn by Nathaniel Wilson Sailmakers.

Sponsor: Friends of Windjammer Days




Schooner Mary E. - Courtesy of Maine Maritime Museum

Owner: Maine Maritime Museum

Homeport: Bath

The Mary E was built in Bath in 1906 by Thomas E. Hagan where Bath Iron Works is now. That same year, Hagan sold the schooner to four fishermen from Block Island who used her to fish for 38 years. She was sold a few more times before being abandoned in 1960 by fourth owner Clarence W. Leveille, who bought her in 1950. She eventually sank in a Thanksgiving Day hurricane in 1963. William Donnell purchased and renovated her on what is now the Maine Maritime Museum campus. He sailed her out of Rockland and sold her in 1971 to Morse Marine in Boothbay Harbor.

She was rebuilt in 1965 through 1967 by William R. Donnell II who turned her into a passenger schooner sailing around Penobscot Bay from Rockland.  It is believed the Mary E was the first historic schooner certified as a USGC passenger vessel and paved the way for the entire Maine Windjammer Fleet to become likewise certified vessels.

Other owners include Robert Morse of Morse Marine in Boothbay Harbor in 1971. 

Sponsor: J. Edward Knight



Tuesday, June 26

3 p.m.

Reception immediately after the parade at Oceanside Golf Resort (formerly Rocktide) - captains’ stories, apps, drink specials.



Est. 1962 by Capts. David and Marion Dash


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A History of Windjammer Days 

By LISA KRISTOFF                                           

In the summer of 1962, Capts. David and Marion Dash were cruising into Boothbay Harbor and passed three schooners harbor-bound due to fog that were attracting a great deal of attention.

David Dash thought one could make a day of it and include festivities for people on shore and on the schooners coming to the harbor.

On July 10, 1963, with the help of his long-time friend and advertiser Eugene Buzzell – and $100 from the Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce and $50 – from the Town of Boothbay, Dash did just that.

Many schooner captains re-routed their schedules to participate in that first Windjammer Day. The first five schooners to the harbor were the Victory Chimes, captained by Boyd Guildout of Castine; Mary Day, Capt. Havilah Hawkins out of Sedgewick; Mattie and Mercantile, Capt. Jim Nesbitt out of Camden; Tabor Boy, Capt. George Glaesar; and Richard T. II, captained by Dash, who served as chairman of the first Windjammer Day.

The schooners rendezvoused at Squirrel Island and sailed into the harbor, greeted by hundreds of people along the shoreline, on boats and in the harbor.

Artist Lonnie Sisson designed and created commemorative scrolls for the passengers aboard the schooners inscribed with their names. Original framed ink drawings of each schooner by artist Peggy C. Hodges were framed and presented to each captain. On shore, passengers feasted on lobster or steak dinners in the town parking lot between Fisherman’s Wharf Inn and the R.A. Scott Company, while schooner captains attended a captains’ dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf.

At a ceremony hosted by Franklyn Lenthall, a panel of judges chose Yale student Joan Payne to be the Queen of the Windjammer Fleet and presented her with books and an orchid corsage. Payne road aboard the Victory Chimes and broke bread with the captains.

The queen was selected from among all female passengers on one of the five vessels by judges Jean Blakemore, Joe Holland and Walter Wright.

Windjammer Day 1963 included an aquatic show organized by Pierce Marine Service in front of its marina on the east side; key chains bearing numbers set afloat in the harbor provided boaters an opportunity to win prizes, from boat cushions to ski tow rope.

Folk singers Frank and Pete put on a hootenanny in the town parking lot and the Choralaires of Boothbay Harbor (Marion Dash, Irene Farnham, Diane Michaels, Martha Vaughn, John Hartford, Herbert Godfried and Malcolm Pierce) sang sea songs.

To enable as many people to view the schooners from the sea as possible, Dash and Capt. Eliot Winslow of Southport gave boat rides to raffle winners.

The raffle prizes included the first Windjammer Day oil painting, of a three-masted schooner by Peggy C. Hodges, tickets to the Boothbay Playhouse production of “Miranda,” a sea chest, a 4-month-old Cocker Spaniel, a gazing globe, Boothbay Register subscriptions and a “fine pair” of binoculars, along with the grand prize, a one-week sail aboard one of the schooners.

A front page story in the July 18, 1963, Boothbay Register bore the headline: “Windjammer Day Celebration Apparent Success in Region.”

“The streets, sidewalks and waterfront were be-speckled with visiting tourists and year-round residents…” the Register reported. “The harbor was crammed with boats of all sizes and descriptions…”

The Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce sent more than 800 press releases to national media. White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger put out a press release through the White House Press Association.

Southport resident Robert MacKusick researched and wrote a history of windjammers for a special section of the Register, a tradition that has grown with the festival.

The schooners’ entrance into the harbor was covered by news stations WGAN and WCSH with approximately three minutes of coverage of the event on their 11 p.m. newscasts. Windjammer Day was also covered by the Department of Economic Development and stringers for the Associated Press and United Press International.

Following the event, the Chamber office reported an increase in calls about lodging in the area due to all of the publicity Windjammer Day received. The Chamber elected to make Windjammer Day an annual event to be held the second week in July, and the schooner captains indicated they would be interested in participating in coming years.

“The first Windjammer Days was really a very simple event,” Dash told the Register in 1963. “It involved a lot of community participation and a limited budget. We had an original concept. Our goal was to present a simple, wholesome re-creation of the old days.”

Snapshots through the decades

The Miss Windjammer Pageant was held from 1967 through 1987 and was an official preliminary Miss America pageant. It was open to young women age 16 to 26, who were year-round or summer residents of Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Kennebec or Androscoggin counties.

The contestants could not have ever been married and had to be planning to continue their education. The pageant followed the same format as Miss America: contestants were interviewed by the judges, modeled swimsuits and evening gowns, and presented a talent in no more than three minutes. The first Miss Windjammer was Elizabeth “Betsey” Barrett and the last was Amanda Crafts.

Each year, the winner was crowned by a former Miss America.

In 1987, the festival was still a one-day event. That year, for the first time, a male contestant was to be crowned Captain Windjammer. However, no one signed up for a chance at the honor and Miss Windjammer continued to reign alone.

The Windjammer Days Committee dropped the 20-year-old pageant in 1988 in favor of a Windjammer Review, to include acts from around the region. The review was held before a standing-room-only crowd at the Opera House.

The Windjammer Days of the 1980s included an air show by Jim Parker with flybys by military aircraft and craft from Owl’s Head Transportation Museum.

The ’80s saw the creation of the Windjammer rum cocktail (1 oz. white rum, 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort, 1/2 oz. Blue Curacao and 1/2 oz. simple syrup, with equal parts orange and pineapple juices and lemon mix, shaken well to create a frothy top). The Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce issued a commemorative glass (perfect for serving the cocktail): 15 1/2 oz. medium blue semi-tulip shaped with a sham bottom bearing the chamber logo in chalk white.

The first Windjammer Days print was created from a watercolor by East Boothbay artist Earle B. Barlow, who described what he believed the painting should convey: “Although there are many activities which are part of the Windjammer Days celebration, these activities center around the beautiful vessels, and especially their arrival at the inner harbor under full sail… In creating a painting that would capture the essence of these dramatic moments, it seemed of particular importance first that the schooners should be presented in a way to convey the excitement they evoke… the schooners be represented not just as pretty boats, but with an authenticity that would identify specific vessels…”

An article in the July 3, 1986, issue of the Register described some of the many ways the festival had been described. “Someone once said (Dash) had taken the concept of a museum and made it come to life again. In a more succinct manner, a fisherman commented on Windjammer Day, ‘Looks like 40 years ago.’”

1988 marked the first time the festival had national and international coverage when NBC came to town. Willard Scott was scheduled to do the reporting, but at the last minute the network sent Joe White instead.

The first antique boat parade took to festival waters in 1989.

By the 1990s, in addition to the street parade, fireworks and a few musical concerts, there were softball games, a street dance at the town landing with live music, youth events on the ball field and U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue demos.

The first golf tournament was in 1991, called the Windjammer Charity Celebrity Open at the Boothbay Country Club, and would become one of the top annual fundraising events for Special Olympics Maine. The event was moved to September in 2000 and is now known as the Boothbay Charities Classic.

In 1996, 34 years after they founded the festival, the Capts. Dash served as the Mariner’s Mardi Gras street parade Grand Marshals.

Over the years the festival has included open houses aboard some of the visiting vessels, band concerts on the library lawn and waterfront park, garden club tours, chowder and dessert contests, pancake breakfasts, a photo contest, waterfront food vendors, tours of the U.S. Coast Guard Station, tours of shipyards, including Washburn & Doughty and Hodgdon Yachts, baseball/softball clinics for kids, softball games, street dances, a Bang & Go sailboat race, church suppers and street dances.

Over its 50 years, the number of visiting schooners has varied; several years there were close to 20 in the harbor.

In 1994 12 were expected, but fog, southwest winds up to 30 knots and six- to eight-foot swells prevented all but the schooners Bill of Rights from Philadelphia and Maine out of Bath from attending the festival.

That year, a wind-driven thunderstorm caused small rivers to run down Boothbay House Hill Road into the waterfront parking lot. After the storm passed, Boston-based band Heavy Metal Horns went on with their show, but the fireworks were cancelled. They were saved for an extra special Fourth of July display.

Fireworks became a fixture of the celebration in 1984. However, the first time fireworks played a part in Windjammer Days was 1970. At that time, the festival was held in July, and due to inclement weather conditions on the Fourth, the fireworks were delayed. Windjammer Days was moved to late June in 1990.

“It is an awesome event. I never realized that it would come to this. People in town have grown up with it, and the people on the boats plan their vacations around it… In the beginning I got a lot of flack about parking – I guess some things will never change,” Dash told the Register in 1987. “For Marion and me, it’s a thrill to sail between two boats and feel the power of the sailing vessels.”

And then in 2013 ...

Local group chosen to run Windjammer Days (excerpts)

By Ryan Leighton

On December 17, the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to award the bid to the Friends of Windjammer Days committee.

Mark and Dianne Gimbel met with Chamber board members two days later to discuss taking over the region's summertime festival.

The Gimbels, representing the Friends of Windjammer Days committee, were just one of two organizations who submitted proposals. The other party interested was a Chamber member that had several business ties to the Midcoast region, but the Chamber chose to award the local group who had the prior experience volunteering with Windjammer Days.

In an email to the Boothbay Register, Dianne Gimbel wrote, “We are happy to be chosen and we are discussing the conditions with the Friends (of Windjammer Days). We are looking forward to a really great WJD 2014.”

Peter Ripley, who has worked the Boothbay Harbor waterfront since 1972, was recently appointed to the Friends of Windjammer Days Board of Directors. Ripley responded in an email that he was very happy with the Chamber's decision to award the bid to the local group.

“The conditions made by the Chamber were not completely unexpected and the Friends of Windjammers Days are continuing discussions with the Chamber,” Ripley wrote. “Most of all we are all looking forward to a fantastic WJD 2014!”



Sunday, June 24

1:30 p.m.

Maine State Aquarium


- McKown Point Road, W. Boothbay Harbor  - A free shuttle stop!

 Tuesday, June 26

Aquarium activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Historical tour: “Bygone Era of the Lobster/Fish Hatchery” - Noon and  2 p.m.

The Department of Marine Resources occupies the McKown Point site which was purchased by the federal government in 1903 to build a lobster hatchery. The need was due to the overfishing of lobsters used by the canning industry. Come walk the scenic grounds and learn about the changes that have occurred over time. Sign up in advance due to limited space! Call 633-9406.

Crafts on the Porch - 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Lobster Presentation - 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.

Do you love the sweet, succulent taste of a Maine lobster but are curious about how this delicious crustacean makes it to your dinner plate? Then attend a presentation on the porch, where staff will teach you about the fundamentals of the lobster industry, its people, and the techniques used to catch lobsters.

Creature Feature - Noon, 2 and 4 p.m. 

Do you want to learn more about the unique features of Maine’s invertebrates? Then join us for a 15-minute presentation about fascinating hermit crabs, ancient horseshoe crabs, squirting sea scallops, gross sea cucumbers, and more. 

Behind the Scenes - 2:30 p.m. – Sign up in advance due to limited space. Call 633-9406 

Are you curious about what’s on the other side of the glass? Here is your opportunity to get an insider’s view of the tanks, support systems, and animal storage facility. A 30-minute tour will provide the answers to how the Aquarium’s animals are kept happy and healthy.

Sportfishing off the Dock - 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Do you want a new fish story to tell? Try your luck at an activity that is fun, exciting and relaxing. Rods and reels are available free of charge on our dock, and staff will provide necessary instruction.

Wednesday, June 27

Aquarium activities 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - the staff is taking part in the street parade at 4 p.m.

Explore the Zone - 10-11 a.m.

Experience the thrill of finding hermit crabs, green crabs, snails, clams and more in the intertidal zone. Aquarium staff will discuss the challenges these animals face living between the tides. Children must be accompanied by an adult and water shoes or boots are a must.

Sportfishing off the dock - 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Do you want a new fish story to tell? Try your luck at an activity that is fun, exciting and relaxing. Rods and reels are available free of charge on our dock, and staff will provide necessary instruction.

Lobster Presentation - 11 a.m. , 1 and 2 p.m.

Do you love the sweet, succulent taste of a Maine lobster but are curious about how this delicious crustacean makes it to your dinner plate? Then attend a presentation on the porch, where staff will teach you about the fundamentals of the lobster industry, its people, and the techniques used to catch lobsters.

Historical tour: “Bygone Era of the Lobster/Fish Hatchery” - Noon and  2 p.m.

The Department of Marine Resources occupies the McKown Point site which was purchased by the federal government in 1903 to build a lobster hatchery. This was due to the overfishing of lobsters used by the canning industry. Come walk the scenic grounds and learn about the changes that have occurred over time. Sign up in advance due to limited space! Call 633-9406.

MORE mischief and mayhem with the PIRATES OF THE DARK ROSE ...




Wednesday, June 27

4 p.m.

                                                    Watch for the Windjammer Festival’s youngest grand marshal of the much anticipated street parade ...

                                                                                            Boothbay Region High School senior Page Brown!!

“It was completely unexpected,” (Page) Brown said. “In past years it’s gone to people who have made a big mark in the community. Just being considered is one thing, but being chosen is another. This is really a great honor.”