The breakfast bell rang at 8 a.m., and we consumed a towering stack of pancakes studded with Maine blueberries. Then, Captain Files began radioing commands to the crew from the helm: "Cast your spring line off," "Stand by to centerboard." The 29 crew members sprang into action. Even the chef was fending off as we departed Rockland for parts unknown.
For passengers, shipboard tasks are strictly voluntary. The kids, and several adults, helped hoist the sails. "Kind of like tug-of-war," Connor said of pulling the heavy, braided line. Even more fun was playing captain, when Files let us greenhorns have a go at the wheel. We didn't stray too far off course, since Files discreetly whispered "two spokes to the right" and "four spokes to the left" as we steered.
Aboard a windjammer voyage, relaxation rules. It's the perfect place to unwind and feel the sun on your face, to curl up on deck with a book, or take in the sights along the Maine coast with a pair of binoculars. And what sights! As the morning fog rises like a curtain over the coast of Maine, it reveals a spectacle of deep-blue water, pine-shrouded islets, and glistening granite headlands.
In the distance, we saw a weathered lobster boat (is there any other kind?) heading toward the deeps, escorted by a swirl of seagulls. Tiny fishing villages edge the harbors, hinting at simpler times gone by.
If all this sounds a tad mellow for kids, it is. That's why several of the windjammer outfits offer special trips for families, so that young salts will have plenty of potential playmates aboard ship. Those trips usually include some child-friendly activities, perhaps a scavenger hunt or tide pooling expedition. Even then, this type of vacation is geared toward kids who are adept at self-entertainment.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication