The nine windjammers range from 19th-century fishing and coasting schooners converted to carry people, to several new traditional ships built specifically as windjammers. Maine boasts the largest fleet of historic windjammers in North America. Most are National Historic Landmarks. All of the vessels are privately owned and operated; your captain-owner is also your host on every trip.
Windjamming is an authentic sailing
experience, which means that wind and tide dictate the daily course. Guests sail about 6 hours a day, then drop anchor in a cozy anchorage where they can go ashore and explore. Typical cruising grounds range from Boothbay Harbor to Bar Harbor. Captains vary the anchorages so guests can experience everything from a tiny, deserted island to a busting town or fishing village.
After breakfast and maybe a trip ashore, the windjammer gets underway around 10:00. Guests are invited to participate in all aspects of sailing or they can just sit back and relax. During the day, guests have time to read, look for wildlife, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch on deck, get to know their fellow shipmates and crew. Around 4, the windjammers drop anchor. Guests can take the ship's small boats out for a row or sail, or go ashore and explore. After dinner, "entertainment" usually consists of storytelling, live music, stargazing or a quiet moonlit row.
Age range, type of group
Most of the windjammers accommodate guests 12-16 and older, although there are some vessels that specialize in trips for families with younger children. Windjammers are also available for charter for weddings, reunions and corporate retreats.
Sleeping and meals
Cabins are cozy, usually accommodating two guests, with limited single cabins available. Heads (bathrooms) are shared, although a few vessels offer private facilities. Meals are served family style either below in the galley area, or on deck during the day so as not to miss the scenery. One night everyone goes ashore for a traditional lobster feast.
Policies & Restrictions
Smoking is allowed on deck on most of the windjammers.
Rates & Availability
Guests can choose from 2- to 6-day cruises ranging from $230-$1100 per person, all meals, accommodations and activities included.
The Maine Windjammer Association hosts numerous special events such as the Great Schooner Race and the Maine Windjammer Parade. Many of the windjammers offer specialty cruises ranging from wine-tasting and knitting to music cruises and maritime history tours.