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  #1  
Old 08-04-2008
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windjammer/tall ship charters

My anniversary is coming up and I've been thinking a nice room on a tall-ship three day cruise would be a nice gift.

We're near Boston and I know there are several out of Mystic, CT, and another bunch out of Maine (Rockport/Rockland).

I'm looking for a recommendation. Have any of you done this with your significant others and/or families? Any specific companies you recommend?

When I was 14 I did the Mystic Whaler and Clipper, but it seems like only the Whaler is left?

Did I mention I'm getting old?
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  #2  
Old 08-04-2008
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Joan and I have done many of the week long trips off the coast of Maine over the last 20 years or so. This is a great time to go. Their sailing season usually ends about the 2nd or third week in October. August and September are reasonably warm with moderate breezes . October is incredible sailing with pretty cool nights but nice days. It is usually cool over the waters in that area so be sure to bring warm cloths.

We have enjoyed 15 trips over the years on the Stephen Taber out of Rockland, Maine. Check out Maine Windjammer Stephen Taber. Excellent vessel, wonderful food , incredible sailing grounds. Folks of all ages but I don't think they take children under a certain age. Check the website.

I would also recommend the J&E Riggin or the Timberwind. I know both their captains and wives. Skilled seaman,wonderful boats and I am pretty sure both of these boats cater to family experiences.

The Penobscot Bay area is a real treasure and most of the Maine windjammer fleet sails that area during the season. It's a winds and tides governed schedule that shouldn't be missed.

Hope you have a great time wherever you decide to go. I have never met anyone who went on one of these trips on the Maine coast that didn't love it. Most of the fleet up there has a 60+ % repeat customer rate each year.


Enjoy your trip.

Regards, John

Last edited by Whampoa; 08-04-2008 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 08-04-2008
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I did the Windjammer Barefoot S/V Yankee Clipper about a year ago (maybe two - I guess I'm getting old). Note that this is NOT a sailing cruise. They motorsailed the entire time that I was aboard.

I found the staff friendly, the locations were interesting, the food was OK (not great), and after a week I wished that I simply chartered in the BVI. A lot of the entertainment was drinking centric (not that there is anything wrong with that - it is just not the only thing that I wish to do). The WJ fleet attracts an ecclectic clientele. Some of them I was ready to throw overboard by the end of the cruise (remember these are small ships).

I just completed a 10 day sail in the Med on the Celebrity cruise line. I foud that that trip was more in line with what I expected.
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Old 08-04-2008
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Maine Windjammer Cruises

My wife and I and another couple spent 4 days and nights aboard the S/V Mercantile out of Camden, ME 3 weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Mercantile is a restored schooner, originally built in 1916 as a cargo vessel for coastal Maine. If you don't mind "primitive" cruising ("cabins" are extremely small) this is a great trip. The vessel is small enough (80 feet on deck) to enjoy the sense of sailing (5-6 hours per day) and Penobscot Bay is fantastic - my first time there and consider it to be sailing heaven. The first night/morning, things were a bit crowded with 19 passengers, but 8 got off that first afternoon (they were ending a 3 day cruise). With just 11 passengers aboard, all had plenty of room to relax and enjoy the ride and scenery. Food was very good (the cook can do marvelous things with a wood burning stove/oven). The only crew-supplied entertainment was the banter between the chief mate and deckhand, but that was hilarious.
You can check them out on mainewindjammercruises.com.
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Old 08-04-2008
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I read the other two posts about experiences with Windjammer cruises, and wanted to be clear: the cruise that I went on was a Barefoot Windjammer out of St Lucia. I just did a little googling and found out the the company that I had a mediocre experience on went out of business shortly after I completed my cruise! - Go figure!

Sorry if I confused anyone..
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Old 08-04-2008
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Thanks everyone for the opinions.

It sounds like it's worth the 3.5 hour drive to do this out of Maine instead of Mystic. I also like that because it's well north of my normal cruising zone.

I saw all those options and they did all look to be everything you described.

My wife wrote and suggested we just rough it up the coast in our 25' O'day. How lucky am I to have found this young lady? I'm still thinking I'll surprise her with this more relaxed vacation oriented trip instead.

-Mike
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Old 08-04-2008
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Just for informations sake, the Mystic Clipper is now the Liberty Clipper and sails off of Long Warf in Boston for the summers. That info is shaky because last I knew, she was up for sale.

Welcome to www.libertyfleet.com

Here's the link, it looks like they are offering cruises in the fall. I used to work on her and if it's the same as it used to be, then it might prove an interesting option. She is a comfortable boat down below, but a little rolly because of her centerboard design. The thing I remember is that since she dosn't do alot of overnights, the southern passage isn't crowded by a long shot. I think we had ten passengers total when I did it with four being the most we had at one time.

She then spends the winter in Key West. You can still find post cards for sale in the New England area that show her as the Mystic Clipper.
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Old 08-04-2008
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Mike-

How's the rudder repair coming???
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Old 08-04-2008
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HEY SD!

Done! And the boat is back.

Rudy from D&R had the original mold. He sent it out for fabrication and basically provided an 8 day turn around. I rented a car and drove to pick it up, safety lined it down into place, and sailed back a week and a half ago.

Nightmare for our first extended trip!

I'm going to pull the rudder to bottom paint it one of these weekends, but for now I like seeing the gleaming white new fiberglass peering up at me.
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Old 08-04-2008
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Windjammer/Tall Ships

We took a three day cruise on the Mary Day out of Camden this July. If you like lobster, one night is a beach all you can eat lobster feed. Truly all you can eat. Initially I wondered if I would enjoy riding while someone else was doing the sailing, but the crew lets you pitch in with the "safe" jobs, and while not negotiating mooring fields and fog, the captain shares the helm a lot. I was fortunate enough to have my turn while the wind was brisk and the sun was warm, sailing a consistent 9 knots.

We originally booked a 6 day cruise but not being sure what we were getting ourselves into rebooked for a 3 day cruise. When it was over, I decided I could have gone for the 6 day cruise very easily. Great boat, great crew, great food and the skipper with his wife and kids made it an outstanding experience.

Mike Ellis
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