There’s no better way to take in the breathtaking beauty of coastal Maine than on windjammer cruises.
A trip aboard a historic Maine windjammer is to cast aside set itineraries and travel where the wind takes you. You’ll cruise by uninhabited islands, lighthouses, and small towns only accessible by boat.
Recently, I embarked on a thrilling Maine sailing vacation aboard the Schooner J & E Riggin out of Rockland.
From the moment I stepped aboard the J & E Riggin, with its two tall masts and crisp sails, I was in another world. The language and customs of sailing ruled, and I had much to learn.
My windjammer cruise in Penobscot Bay, Maine, was more than just a pleasure ride—it was a chance to connect with nature, history, wildlife, and a community of like-minded travelers.
From the thrill of hoisting the sails to the serenity of anchoring in secluded coves, I’ll take you through life’s daily joys on a nearly 100-year-old sailboat.
You’ll discover the unique charm of a schooner like the J & E Riggin (a National Historic Landmark), the crew’s camaraderie, and the culinary delights prepared in the ship’s galley.
So grab your sea legs and come aboard as we sail on a Maine windjammer cruise that’s sure to inspire your next adventure!
Intro to Windjamming
But wait, what’s windjamming? I was wondering the same thing when I received the generous invitation from the Maine Windjammer Association.
Windjammers are commercial sailboats with multiple masts that are used to transport cargo.
For example, the J & E Riggin is a two-masted schooner built in 1927 to function as an oyster dredger. It was named after its first Captain, Charles Riggin, and his two sons, Jacob and Edward.
As sailing gave way to more efficient means of powering cargo vessels, some traditional schooners were rebuilt to accommodate overnight guests.
However, the 120-foot-long, 61-ton J & E Riggin still has no inboard engine. It continues to rely on wind power, as originally intended.
When there’s no wind, a 16-foot yawl boat with a diesel-powered engine pushes and navigates the schooner in and out of harbors.
This small but mighty motorboat also transports guests to and from land as needed.
Maine Windjammer Association
The Maine Windjammer Association represents “the largest fleet of traditional tall ships in the Americas.”
While each of the ships is…