Summer sailing around Camden, Maine
Summertime in coastal Maine evokes images of searching for the perfect lobster roll, exploring tide pools along the rock strewn beaches and sailing among bays and summer isles. Verdant hills tumble into the deep blue of the Atlantic forming over 3,000 miles of rocky coastline and to properly experience it you must take to the water. On a gorgeous 75 degree day filled with sunshine and gentle breezes we made our way down to Camden’s postcard worthy harbor to sort out our seafaring options. Kayak? Not a great option for us this time with Steve’s mom in tow. Motorized catamaran? Eh, not feeling it. A four-sailed, beautifully restored historic schooner? Now we’re talking.
The Surprise was originally built in 1918 as a racing and cruising yacht and sailed in a number of races until the original owner’s death in 1959. This beautiful schooner has undergone several restorations in recent years and was even recognized on the National Register of Historic Places as an important part of United States maritime history. Ownership of the Surprise has recently changed hands to Nicole and Ramiro de Avecedo Ramos; but we had the pleasure of sailing with the boat’s previous owners, Captain Jack and his first mate Barbara, a lovely couple in their 70s who have been sailing the Surprise for almost 30 years and still help out on occasion. Their love of sailing was evident as they shared the history of the ship and their future sailing plans. They even encouraged visitors to pitch in by helping to raise the sails and my inner sailor came out as I got a turn at the helm!
After leaving shore we made our way past dozens of sailboats, yachts and windjammers from around the world who have decided to port in this secluded harbor along coastal Maine. As we left the harbor we passed by the Curtis Island Light, one of the iconic lighthouses that dot the shores of mid-coast Maine. Depending on the day’s winds the boat may hug the coast while heading down to the town of Rockport but the gentle breezes we had were perfect for a leisurely out and back trip to the island of Isleboro. Sun and bright blue skies above and the crisp sea breezes running through my hair I started to understand the lure of life on the water. I began to day dream about getting my own boat and spending my winters exploring the Caribbean and summers along the beautiful New England shore.
My daydream ended as we turned the corner and Camden’s incredibly picturesque harbor came into view and my thoughts turned to Maine’s other must-do activity, finding the perfect lobster roll. (More thorough research is needed on my part but I can highly recommend the lobster roll at Graffam Brothers Seafood in Rockport). You’ll find boat tours in most of Maine’s coastal towns but if you visit Camden and want to sail on the Schooner Surprise (and I really think you should), then you’ll find the following information helpful.
(July 1 to Sept. 15)
10am, 12:30pm, 3pm, 5:15pm, 7:15 (sunset sail most days till August 3rd)
SPRING and FALL
(May to June and Sep 16 to Oct 15)
10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm
$39 per person
$29 children under 12