Maine Windjammer Adventure on Schooner Mary Day

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Maine Windjammer Adventure

Maine Windjammer Adventure on Schooner Mary Day

Maine Windjammer Adventure on Schooner Mary Day

By WAVEJourney

WJ Tested: Sailing Maine’s Penobscot Bay Aboard Schooner Mary Day in August 2018 Was a True Treat for All the Senses!

 

Is sailing on a tall ship off the coast of Maine on your list of travel adventures? It actually wasn’t on our bucket list. But only because we had no idea this type of adventure existed in Maine. Our previous schooner sailing trips have all been in Washington state’s San Juan Islands, and we’d loved each of them so much we were eager to find other places in the USA to expand our sailing repertoire.

Mary Day Sailing Penobscott Bay, Maine

Mary Day Sailing Penobscot Bay, Maine

How come we weren’t familiar with the multitude of windjammers offering such trips from Maine? We’ve no clue, but now we are and highly recommend this type of getaway for anyone with a sense of adventure, who wants to unhook from the digital world for a few days, that enjoys meeting like-minded passengers, and who wants to breathe in fresh air while sailing between islands in Penobscot Bay and along the coast of Maine.

LOCATION

In late-August we had the pleasure of joining Schooner Mary Day in Camden, Maine (her home port) for a 5-night adventure we can’t wait to repeat.

Following no set itinerary, the trip was exhilarating and fascinating, while also allowing ample opportunity for relaxation. Going in the direction the wind was blowing, Schooner Mary Day peacefully sailed around Penobscot Bay with Mt. Desert and Acadia National Park visible in the distance.

With 4500+ islands dotted off the Maine coast, this is an area that sailing lovers return to time and time again. In fact, the majority of Mary Day passengers were repeat customers – we think 15 trips on Mary Day was the top number of trips for a few of the people on our sailing.

 

A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind.

– Webb Chiles

 

FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED

Our Schooner Mary Day trip was truly wonderful in every aspect. This family-owned and operated vessel is the equivalent of glamping on the water. Barry King and his wife Jennifer Martin are both owners and captains of Mary Day, working hard to ensure all guests love their vacation.

Mary Day Owners Barry King and Jennifer Martin

Barry King and his wife Jennifer Martin are both owners and captains of Mary Day

During our sailing Barry was at the helm and in command of the voyage – he’s quite a character and an absolute joy to spend time with. His sailing skills are extensive, as is his 30+ years of experience sailing Penobscot Bay, so it’s easy to relax and watch the world go by while underway, or pitch in and lend a helping hand with the sailing manoeuvres with instructions from the crew – you decide what you want to do.

There were so many highlights during our Mary Day sailing – the windjammer itself, the sailing, the crew, the food, the scenery, the option to visit tiny islands, and the camaraderie that developed between passengers.

Did we mention the food? The top foodie choice was the all-you-can-eat lobster bake on the beach of a secluded cove on one of Captain Barry’s favorite remote islands. Although Viv devoured six of the succulent and perfectly cooked crustaceans (prepared fresh on the beach, along with corn on the cob, potatoes, and a whole lot more), she wasn’t even close to the 9 lobsters consumed by another female passenger.

WINDJAMMER MARY DAY

The two-masted Schooner Mary Day was launched in 1962, and was the first windjammer designed for vacation cruising. The Mary Day has a 90-foot deck length, 23-foot beam, and does not have an engine (she sails with the wind), so the peace and quiet affords pure relaxation. She has 5000+ sq.ft. of sails – a 2000 sq.ft main sail – with 7 sails in total.

Mary Day Crew

Mary Day Crew and Captain Barry King

With 6 crew, and a maximum of 28 guests, this type of sailing offers an intimate, unhurried, and rustic adventure. A large sunshade is erected on the deck when not sailing – this provides shelter from the elements for passengers sitting on deck. Most of the time on Mary Day was spent on the outside deck or in the main saloon, with the cabin essentially only used for sleeping and taking a nap.

 

On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.

– Rumi

 

SCENERY

This was WJ’s first adventure in Maine. It was easy to understand how Mary Day has so many repeat guests, and exploring Penobscot Bay under sail is unmatched. With endless islands that dot the bay, rugged coastline along the mainland, lobster boats hard at work, lighthouses blinking a warning to boaters, marine and birdlife galore, the photo opportunities are endless. Sitting back, taking in the serene and peaceful surroundings, is another option for creating fond memories to last a lifetime.

Mary Day - Scenery and Exploring

Mary Day – Scenery and Exploring

 

CABINS

WJ was in Cabin 4 which featured two single bunks. The reading lights above each bunk were very handy, plus the shelf at each end of the beds was useful for holding items we’d need available (and that wouldn’t break if they fell).

A couple of hooks was helpful for hanging up clothing layers when not in use. Otherwise, we didn’t bother to unpack – just worked out of our luggage we’d stored under the bottom bunk.

Mary Day Cabin 4 and Head

Mary Day Cabin 4 and Head

Each pine-paneled cabin has it’s own sink (fresh cold water), skylight (with bug screen), small window (that opens), and heat (we didn’t need it during our cruise).

Beds sleep one or two depending on the configuration – some are one bed for two, while others are single bunks. With ten double cabins, two compact cabins for solo passengers, and two cabins that are for triple occupancy, Schooner Mary Day provides comfy mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, comforters, and towels.

Also provided for each passenger on their bunk was a bucket filled with a trip log/info booklet, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, lotion, lip balm, chocolate, post cards and stickers. A bath towel, hand towel, wash cloth is also included and found in the cabin.

Two heads (toilets) are located on the outside deck. One of the heads is also the shower. The heads were spotlessly clean and well-equipped during our entire trip. There is also a shower (hot and cold fresh water hose) on deck – which is ideal for washing hair over the side, hosing off feet from the beach or showering after a swimming session.

Mary Day in Camden, Maine

Mary Day in Camden, Maine

 

FOOD & MEALS

Meals are served in the main saloon, and passengers will be amazed by the variety and selection coming out of the tiny galley. Breakfast and dinner were sit-down family-style in the saloon while Mary Day was anchored. Lunch was typically a self-serve assortment of soups and sandwiches to enjoy on deck while sailing continued.

Mary Day Food

Mary Day Food – Cook Leslie prepared delicious meals, snacks, cookies and desserts in the small galley.

Early Risers – At 7 AM those already awake could start their day with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and warm muffins found up on deck.

Breakfast – At 8 AM the bell rang to announce breakfast was ready in the main saloon. Each morning there was a different menu variety – muffins, bacon, eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, yogurt, juices, cereal, pancakes and more.

Breakfast and Cookies

Mary Day Breakfast and Cookies

Lunch – Serve yourself in the saloon and sit on deck or at tables inside. The assortment of lunch items ranged from salads, make your own wraps and sandwiches, soups, chili, cornbread and savory biscuits.

Mary Day Lunch

Mary Day Lunch

Snacks and Cookies – were available throughout the day, with freshly-baked cookies featured daily.

Dinner – Served between 6-6:30 PM, buffet style to serve yourself and sit wherever you want – inside the saloon or on deck. Menu items included roast chicken, grilled salmon, spanakopita, assorted grilled vegetables, potatoes, rice, salads, brownies, pies, cakes, and handchurned ice cream. After dinner was cleared, coffee, tea and hot chocolate were available on deck along with dessert.

Mary Day Dinner and Dessert

Mary Day Dinner and Dessert

All-You-Can-Eat Lobster Bake

Our first night away from Camden was especially magical. Was it the all-you-can-eat lobster bake on the beach of a secluded island? Or was it the sweet taste of the fresh lobster perfectly cooked over open coals using seawater? Or was it the serenity and beauty of the moment, only interrupted by the sound of lobster shells being cracked open on the rocks we sat? It was the combination of all elements that created the magic!

Mary Day Lobster Feast and Ice Cream Bar

Mary Day Lobster Feast and Ice Cream Bar

 

TRIP TIPS

Stability – Schooner Mary Day is extremely stable when underway. We initially wore our Sea Bands (helps prevent motion sickness) when the sailing first started after leaving Camden, but removed them promptly when we discovered there was very little motion.

Tours – Some days it was possible for passengers to go ashore and explore at their own pace. Getting to and from the ship to shore was via row boat and required climbing the ladder over the side of Mary Day.

Unplug – Be prepared to disconnect for most or all of your trip. There’s no internet on Mary Day, and cell service in the area is spotty at best. We had two SIM cards with us as we wanted to do some social media postings – one didn’t work at all, and the other was sporadic. Depending on your cell carrier, you may or may not pick up a signal.

Camera – Bring extra batteries, a fully-charged battery charger pack, and a memory card with lots of room. There is limited access to charging.

Cabin – If you want extra space book a larger cabin. A solo might want to book a double cabin and a duo might want to book a triple cabin. You will pay extra, but it will be worth it if you prefer more room.

Stairs – There are stairs to navigate on a windjammer. Schooner Mary Day has stairs down to the cabins, main saloon, heads and a ladder over the side to get on/off the vessel. If you can’t manage stairs, this may not be the trip for you.

Ear plugs – If you’re a light sleeper or are easily disturbed by snoring, bring ear plugs. It was quite an orchestra on our sailing – yes, we both contributed to it.

BYOB – bring your own alcoholic beverages or particular types of soft drinks. We had a 12-pack of beer between the two of us which was adequate for the 5 nights on the Mary Day. There’s a communal cold chest where everyone chilled a couple of cans at a time.

Evenings – Once Mary Day is finished sailing for the day, she is moored in a secluded bay for the night. Passengers can take a swim, read a book, chat with new friends, play board and card games, listen to live music from the crew or join in with the use of a guitar and parlor organ.

PACKING

You want to pack as lightly as possible due to limited storage in cabins. If possible, use soft-sided duffels for your luggage so they will fit under the bed/bunk better.

You’ll be spending the majority of your day and evening outside, so layers are important for clothing, and a windbreaker is essential. It’s very handy to have good raingear – we were lucky enough not to need ours the entire time. Being on the water means nothing will dry, so fleece or natural fibers are best (cotton will not dry if it gets wet).

For your feet, bring soft-soled comfy shoes for being on deck, plus sandals or water shoes for beach landings (something you don’t mind getting wet).

VALUE

Rates vary depending on the number of days, itinerary, and cabin type. With breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner included in the fare, Schooner Mary Day offers passengers tremendous value.
Example: 3-Day cruises start at $675 per person; 4-Day cruises start at $775 per person; 6-Day cruises start at $1075 per person.

 

The goal is not to sail the boat, but rather to help the boat sail herself.

– John Rousmaniere

 

BOTTOM LINE

The choice is yours to find a quiet spot and disappear into a good book while watching the serene scenery of Penobscot Bay pass by while undersail, or help haul the sails with the crew, or mingle with other passengers and share travel and sailing stories.

Mary Day - Sunsets in Maine

Mary Day – Sunsets over Camden and Penobscot Bay in Maine

One thing is for sure… Passengers arrive as guests, but leave as family. Many of the passengers on our trip were repeat customers – multiple times over. Although, you can’t depart Schooner Mary Day without feeling somewhat sad that your trip has come to an end, you can depart feeling excited you’ve booked another sailing trip on this beautiful windjammer for the next season.
The Maine Windjammer Association is the best resource for researching and booking a Maine windjammer cruise. They feature a variety of tall ships that sail various itineraries.

 

Note: WAVEJourney were guests of Schooner Mary Day and Maine Windjammer Association for the August 27 – September 1, 2018 Camden Windjammer Festival Cruise. Read our full disclosure statement to see that this has no effect on our reviews.

 

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