Capt. Ray & Ann - 30 Years at the Helm
Capt Ray & Ann have been at the helm for 30 years. Lured by the romance and history of Camden'Cs traditional windjammer fleet, in 1982 Capt. Ray and Ann relocated from St Croix in the Virgin Islands to Camden to pursue their dream. By 1986 they were able to purchase the historic Maine Windjammer Cruises fleet.
As USCG regulations on windjammer passenger carrying vessels tightened, they soon realized extensive repairs were needed if these vessels were to continue providing passengers with a glimpse of history and the golden age of sail. Never ones to settle for a half way solution, Capt. Ray and Ann committed to complete restorations of the 104 year old Grace Bailey and the 70 year old Mercantile. Five years of hard work saw these two authentic "coasters" returned to their rightful glory carrying on the tradition of sailing our coastal waters. Two of only five remaining authentic "coasting schooners", both vessels were designated National Landmarks in 1992, recognizing their historic significance. During this time the Schooner Mistress also underwent extensive restorations.
Maine Windjammer Cruises has been a family endeavor for the Williamsons from the beginning. Ann would sail as cook developing menus which worked well with the wood burning galley stoves. Today she manages the housekeeping side of things as well as the training and oversight of the cooking staff on our vessels. Her recipes developed over the years are recorded in the "Maine Windjammer Cruises Cookbook" which serves as their guide. Passengers never fail to mention the wonderful meals served on board!
Their daughters Allysa and Kristi grew up on the schooners engaging passengers with their outgoing personalities and musical talents and becoming competent mariners in their own right. Both girls served as deckhands and Allysa went on to get her captain's license serving as captain on the Mistress.
With Allysa, now a music teacher here in Camden and the busy mother of 2 girls and Kristi pursuing her passion for yoga and dance therapy locally, in California and abroad, the family doesn't get to sail together as frequently as they would like. However they always make it a point to manage a few sails each summer. Captain Ray takes pride in introducing his young granddaughters to the wonders of sailing and is always in his glory when his two favorite deckhands are on deck for Race Week.