News From Camden Harbor
Along with the entire country, this year has presented unique challenges for Maine Windjammer Cruises. We began preparing for 2020 as soon as the covers went on in the fall of 2019. Efforts were turned to selecting just the right image for our annual calendar, reviewing pricing and setting the cruise schedule, working with the printer and sorting mailing lists. By the end of November we were clear on how the sailing season would lay out. Calendars were mailed and Old Salts and other friends of Maine Windjammer Cruises began planning their 2020 summer vacations and getaways. Through January and early February we excitedly worked with passengers to schedule their cruises and interviewed crew and planned for spring fit out. We were so looking forward to the Grace Bailey and Mercantile setting out proudly filling their new sails as they ventured out on the Bay.
By March excitement for a new season had turned to general uncertainty as the seriousness of the COVID Virus began to be realized. Quarantines and shelter in place orders spread across the country from coast to coast and Maine was no exception.
In mid March the crew began arriving to ready the schooners for a busy season. Upon landing in the State of Maine they were immediately quarantined on the boats. Fortunately with three schooners at the dock we had the space to house them in a safe manner. Usually fit out is a time when the crew learns to work well together, but due to the requirement to social distance, Teamwork was not always an option. In spite of the challenges they all pitched in doing whatever they could under winter covers making varnish shine and decks tight.
As situations unfolded, we were faced with conditions that changed daily and questions that had no answers. Would we even be able to sail this year? Would the quarantines be lifted in time to make our short season possible? If we were allowed to sail, what protocols would be necessary to keep passengers and crew safe and would we be able meet them?
Finally in mid June we were advised that we would be allowed to sail as of July 1st. By late June the protocols for safe sailing were unveiled. We were to adhere to the opening protocols for Lodgings, Restaurants and Windjammers. As we looked at the requirements and our dwindling passenger list, it became obvious the Schooner Mistress was our girl for 2020!
With only 6 passengers and each of her three cabins having its own sink and toilet and separate access from the deck, the Mistress is ideally suited to safely sail in these careful times. With enhanced sanitation protocols the Mistress began welcoming passengers July 1st. While not full, we have been able to accommodate passengers who want to sail and have been able to meet Maine's requirements entering our state.
When not out on regularly scheduled 3-Day, 4-Day, 5-Day or Weekend cruises, the Mistress stays busy taking passengers on 4-Hour Lobster Lunch and Dinner Cruises.
If you can get to Maine, we do still have limited space available during the remaining season. With only the Mistress handling such a diverse schedule it may be confusing to navigate our web sailing schedule to see what is open. To that end we have added a new page to the website which should help. Visit CURRENT AVAILABILITY for a complete listing of what is available. This page is updated daily.
A rousing Hooray! To the Schooner Mistress , along with crew members Becky, OB, Andy and Kai, as they carry the Maine Windjammer Cruises banner, "Keeping the Tradition Alive" for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Looking forward to a great season of sailing the Maine coast in 2021. Hope to see you then!