Moored for a picnic
courtesy of Peter Atkinson
Schooner American Eagle Newsletter
March 2020
In This Issue
Cruise News
Crew's News
Notes from 1892
Postcards From Away

Jayne Phair photo
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          We all appreciate structure and stability so this spring has us thrown for a bit of a loop. Will the pandemic peter out in time for us to sail in June as planned? Will any of you who have already reserved feel like coming with us in light of contagion and national financial instability?  We're concerned about your safety and our own and have no intentions of risking anyone's well-being, as much as we love sailing.

          Having said that, it's too soon in late March for us to push back our sailing start date. Should you decide to take a rain check for a later trip either this year or next, or prefer to request a full refund, I understand. It's going to be a tough year for breaking even at best; half of the costs of getting the schooner ready for sailing has already been invested in winter work and repairs.

         When this storm has cleared, a sailing adventure aboard the American Eagle is still the best way to appreciate this rugged and beautiful coast of ours, to enjoy an outside experience, and to sail with terrific friends new and old and familiar crew.

Sailing toward Roque Island June 2013

 Cruise News

      Our five-night trip boarding August 3rd includes a ticket to the boat show when we return on August 9th. We've been supporting the show for a dozen years and look forward to its variety of new and old boats and entertaining exhibits.
     The annual Maine Boat & Home Show  welcomes visitors to a scenic waterfront location in Rockland (the Arts Capital of Maine) during the peak of the summer season (the second weekend in August). The event features boats in the water, boats on land, marine gear vendors, fine furniture and home wares, arts, architecture, live music, and delicious food. This is the largest in-the-water boat show north of Newport, Rhode Island, and it is also the only show to feature dozens of Maine's most talented artisans, furniture makers, architects, and builders combined on one spectacular waterfront site. These craftspeople present all the essential components for living the good life on the coast of Maine.

     This year's poster promoting the show is created by Colin Page , an artist from just up the road in Camden.

            Page was raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He moved to Maine in 2002, drawn by the state's rural landscape and thriving artistic community, and lives in Camden. His paintings are notable for his treatment of light and color in the landscape and in his depictions of the lives of his two daughters. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions and group shows nationally and abroad. 

Crew's News

     We have been at it all winter into spring getting a start on what we do every year to prepare the schooner for the season. Small boats are ready to go, anything that could be carried ashore, unbolted or unscrewed has been checked over, repaired, painted or varnished. 

both of these courtesy of Sean Sheppard

     We took off the radiators that warm below in the shoulder seasons and refinished them. New heads and shower are in service; the life raft has been to Portland for annual inspection and repacking.

     On deck, structures from wheelbox to bowsprit are mostly redone, oakum is being spun for spring caulking, and some oak trees by the house have been felled and sawn for some anticipated planking repairs this year.

And they sawed out quite well!

Over a foot wide and twenty three feet long

photos by the sawyer, Mike Dostie

Notes from 1892

The May Field in Rockland Harbor


One of the Many Pleasing Excursion 
Routes from Rockland.

  Of the many excursions from  Rockland  in all directions perhaps there  is  no pleasanter route for a days trip  than to take a lunch in your pocket  and  spend the day aboard the trim  little  steamer Mayfield. As we get  headed down the bay the first object  that attracts our attention is the  long line of breakers dashing against  the breakwater and the stately Bay  Point House, surrounded by its beau tiful slopes and terraces while along the right hand shore's are the neat little cottages, at Cooper's Beach, snuggled in among the trees and boulders. As we rounded Owl's Head light, we began to realize for the first time what a really beautiful place is Fred M. Smith's famous resort, Crescent Beach and by the way Mr. Smith is building a wharf, and the Mayfield will hereafter touch there morning and afternoon.
   As we neared our first landing, at High Island, a large white flag was hastily flung to the breeze, by the islanders.  An intelligent reporter standing beside Capt. Dyer, in the pilot house, remarked: "That was a dead easy snap." "Why?" asked the captain. "They have surrendered without firing a shot." "Humph," said the captain scornfully. "That is no war flag.  That means fish bait for sale here." The reporter wilted visibly. From High Island we coasted along Dix Island, once the most famous granite establishment in New England.  At Spruce Head we stop just long enough to pass the time of day with John Blethen, and soon we are rolling in the heavy swell of mother ocean outside White Head.  We pass near the light and get a good view of the old fog whistle, the Life Saving Station and the life-boat on the rollers ready for use at a moment's notice.
   Our next landing is at that hustling little hamlet, Tenants Harbor, easily nestling on the southern slope, and protected from the winds by trees and bluffs.  The tide is out so we are obliged to stop some 30 rods from the wharf, and a wherry rowed by two men is sent off to us.  They bring word that all is well and take away with them two gentlemen and a lady.
   At Port Clyde people do not seem to regard our arrival as of any importance.  One old lady came out into the field and waved her sun bonnet at us in a general sort of a way.  As far as we could learn this was the only public demonstration of any kind.
   At 12 o'clock we were safely landed in Friendship. After a good hearty meal, obtained at a neat two-story farmhouse on the hill, we started on our homeward way.  As we left Port Clyde a boat put out from a neighboring point, and added to our freight a keg of mackerel.  As it was a little unusual to see a steamer hauled to in this way the reporter ventured another question: "What'll we do next?" The captain replied with a wink of his eye, "Did you see that old lady come out and wave her sun bonnet at us when we went down this morning? Well, that meant that she would have her pail full of blueberries by the time we got back, and we'll have to go up there and get them."
   Most of the way on the return trip we were entertained by an imaginative youth who had never made the trip before. He devoted his entire time to lolling in the stern of the boat, and exercising his very vivid imagination for the special benefit of an nice old lady who sat near him and wanted someone to tell her the different places as we passed them. The young man astonished and delighted her with his accurate and extensive knowledge of the geography of the coast. He pointed out for her Monhegan Isle, Fort Ticonderoga, the Straits of Belle Isle, and the southern coasts of Newfoundland.
    The trip just used the day nicely, from eight in the morning till five in the afternoon.  The trip is simply delightful with a change of scenery at every turn, now winding in and out among the small grass and tree covered islands, now passing a bold headland within a stone's throw, and again sailing free and clear in the open sea.  The stops are just near enough together, and are not long enough to be tiresome.  Surely many an excursion might be far less interesting than to Friendship, Long Island, under the charge of Capt. Dyer in his clipper little steamer, the Mayfield.

--From the front page of the The Rockland Courier-Gazette: Tuesday, August 9, 1892

     The May Field was built up the river in Brewer, Maine, in 1874, the first steamer built by Capt. Barbour. His grandson Lester used to sail with me on the Lewis R French.   Lester said that as a little boy his grandmother took him from Brewer to Boston  on the side-wheel passenger steamer, assigned the last cabin open. The cabin was next to the paddle boxes and trying to sleep there was like trying to sleep under Niagara Falls.
            By the time the May Field left service in 1896 she had been employed as a fishing steamer. Part of her superstructure was used in Port Clyde in building an addition to a house.

Postcards From Away

Meanwhile, Ralph's been traveling
The  Earnslaw (not to be confused with coleslaw although she does burn coal) is a twin screw steam vessel operating on Lake Wakatipu on the South Island in New Zealand. She's been steaming since 1912.

Wallabies, koalas, little blue penguins, and vineyards

          If you are at home or don't expect to be in exotic places this coming month and have been doing some spring cleaning at home, send us an old postcard and we'll put it in the next newsletter.

courtesy of MB Rolfe

Crew pictures next month!

  John and the crew

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Schooner American Eagle
P O Box 482 
Rockland, ME  04841
(800) 648-4544