Welcoming Mainers in Mystic

By my reckoning Maine (pop 1.3 million) easily has far more schooners and more talented boat builders per capita than you'll find in any other state. For about forty years I've had the privilege of sailing amongst its fleet of beautiful windjammers and Maine-built wooden boats of all kinds. It's not just that the sailing and scenery are tops - Maine boats and Maine boat people give me a comforable feeling. "You don't need to know where the rocks are - just where they ain't."

I'm sure there are a lot of Mainers that would enjoy our winter meeting in Mystic; the talk this year by Peter and Jeanette Phillips of their 15 year circumnavigation in Voyager, the Friday night gathering at the Best Western where ASA's talented pool of musicians take turns into the wee hours, and in the adjoining suite, schooner friends from all over, old and new, swapping ideas, and making grand plans.

So, recognizing that it's a long trek to Mystic, on Friday night we'll feature the Official State Soft Drink of Maine. Hope you will find a way to set aside your tools for the weekend and join us on February 1st and 2nd.

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Al - You planning on staying awake this year?

By geez Al if you mix some of that Moxie with your rum you might just stay awake long eneough this year at the pre-meeting gathering to see some of the Mainers that do make it down. It takes us a little longer to get there you know than you folks from MA. If your bringing Moxie - I'll be there.

Begging your pardon, editor

Editor, I brought all this up because I've been hauling the same unopened bottle of Moxie back and forth to the gathering for two years. Thought this might be a chance to finally get it opened. The few Mainers that did show up seemed to prefer Old Newburyport.

You are are asking me to make a huge sacrifice by adding Moxie to my rum. If I need medicine, I'll take cod liver oil. I only know three non-Mainers that are Moxie fans, and they acquired the taste before they turned two.

PS - Bring some more Mainers with you. If they like Moxie, they'll likely fit the profile of an ideal ASA member. Yes, it's a long drive, but nothing compared to making all that westing in a schooner. I'll try to wait up for you this year, but hauling away all those oyster shells shucked by Jay and the mid-Atlantic crowd wore me out.

Stop alcohol abuse!

Anyone found mixing Moxie (they still make that stuff?) or any other such toxic and unauthorized adulterant with Flor de Cana will be summarily flogged around the fleet. (If they are lucky, and Barnacle Bill doesn't catch them first and feed them to the oysters.)

If you plan to engage in that sort of shenanigans, please bring Bacardi or some similar "rum" or other industrial solvent for the purpose.

Viva Sandino!
Greg DeCowsky

A wicked good meeting coming up

Greg, those are my sentiments as well. Don't know where our editor gets those funny ideas. Then again, I'm not so sure he's a native Mainer. Could be that he's from away.

Anyhow, it will be good to have some cross-cultural activity going on. If Mainers do show up, they'll likely be quite surprised to see oysters with eyes. I expect it's going to be a wicked good meeting.

Maine schooners?

Are there still that many schooners in Maine? This must be one of Maine's best-kept secrets. When they were looking for a schooner for the Maine quarter, they chose VICTORY CHIMES, built in Delaware.

Greg DeCowsky
Chair, Schooner CASHIER Restoration
Bayshore Discovery Project
Bivalve, NJ
Schooner Capital of the World

Schooner Capital of the World - Bivalve?

Greg, that is mighty impressive about the NJ origin of VICTORY CHIMES. Makes one wonder what might have become of the official who did the deal on the quarter.

C'mon though, you've got to be kidding about that "capital" claim. But, if what you are saying is true, it does help to explain why Jerseyers(?) always seem to outnumber Mainers at the meeting. When I ran a credibility check on you I came across another unsettling discovery - ISAAC H EVANS also was built in Jersey.

Anyway, I don't care what you say, there are a LOT of schooners in Maine. Can't rightly say just how many, though. They've been trying to get a census for years, but the fog always seems to obscure the fleet before the count can be completed. And we're still going to feature Moxie.


I cannot tell a lie: VICTORY CHIMES was built in Bethel, Delaware, in the Chesapeake watershed.

But J&E RIGGIN was built on the Maurice River; in Dorchester, where the MEERWALD was built a year later.

You may think I have been drinking Green Dragon, but there used to be about 500 oyster schooners on Delaware Bay, most sailing out of Bivalve/Maurice River. We have the pictures, and the book, to prove it. And if you don't believe me ask Barnacle Bill. (Don't do a credibility check on BB, your computer will explode.)

Most of them are probably still there, if you look deep enough. A friend of mine with the State of DE is doing benthic mapping of the Bay; says they have found numerous wrecks; maybe he can generate a dive map for schooner enthusiasts.

Speaking of dives, if you go into Al's Hideaway in Shellpile, you will find enough gear hanging from the ceiling to rig a schooner.

And of course, NJ is the home of the (still floating, as of Saturday) oldest schooner in the USA, CASHIER (currently waiting for her new masts and a few other items to get her ready for her next sailing season).

Not to mention the 2007 GCBSR Class C/Best Overall winner, QUINTESSENCE (though admittedly she is on Barnegat Bay, which is a little closer to Maine, anyway; and of course her hull is a Maine design). Not to gloat or anything.

Greg DeCowsky
From Delaware Bay, Home of the Maine Windjammer

Greg - but don't forget

Quintessence may be sitting in New Jersey, but she was born and bred in Maine as a Friendship Sloop! Only through the work of three incredibly talented Maine craftsman, Jarvis Newman, Malcolm Pettigrew (they built her) and Ralph Stanley (he designed the schooner rig) that she ended up the beauty she is.
And also don't forget, while Quintessence may be sitting in New Jersey, here official home port is Solebury, Pennsylvania!
Can't wait to see everyone at the meeting!!!

Amazing facts!

Sorry, I was a little confused about Delaware and New Jersey - two states when added together, are 1/3 the size of Maine.

Delaware Bay blanketed with schooners must have been some sight. The way the tide runs there I expect they could drudge up a good load, breeze or not. With that many schooners, the oysters must have been pretty well depleted even before powered vessels came along. Is that why you started sending 'em to Maine?

Well, now I get it - restoring a historic Delaware Bay schooner is right up there with the worthiest causes. It will help replenish the beautiful Maine windjammer fleet. Where can we send donations?

And by the way, what are the Official State Soft Drinks of New Jersey and Delaware?

Cashier Sailing ?

if it doesn't have masts in it, and it is not sailing is it a schooner?

Thirsts to be slaked at ASA pre-meeting gam

Even though Dirigo II was actually built in Maine (Goudy & Stevens, East Boothbay, 1939) to John Alden Design No. 693, and she currently plies the Pacific off Southern and Baja California (for now), and her caretaker sails mostly on the Chesapeake and Atlantic, if good rum (there's only good and better) must be adulterated with something, I fancy some Gosling's Black Seal and a wee splash of Barrit's Ginger Beer (AKA "Dark & Stormy"), but I can't wait to tast some of that Moxie stuff I've heard tell about!

Cap'n Steve, Schooner Dirigo II

Come early - stay late

Steve, you have exquisite taste, and we need to hear more of Dirigo II. Please come early and stay late.

Maine v. New Joisey

Down here in Joisey we don't call them Mainers, we call them Maineiacs.

Talking to Mainahs

Vern, prior to setting off for Mystic you might bone up on this:
Wicked Good Guide to Mainah English

A schooner to the death

If your cat had kittens in the oven, would you call them biscuits?

Greg DeCowsky
Chair, Schooner CASHIER Restoration
Bayshore Discovery Project
Bivalve, NJ

biscuits ?

nope - just lucky

Just teasin you Greg- can't wait to see Cashier sailing, what you folks are doing takes a lot of dedication and its great to see it happen.

New Jersey official drink

Allan: To answer your question about NJ's official drink. Hires root beer (my ancestor started the company here in NJ) with a splash of Avon's "Skin So Soft". Goes down smooth and helps repel the mosquitoes...which brings me to the official NJ State bird...

Will it work on Maine's Black Flies?

Bill, I know you are a chemist and are not prone to exaggeration. You'll be attracting a crowd of keen listeners at the gathering. This is a topic of great interest to Mainers as well. Along with a few of your old schooners they have imported a thriving population of NJ state birds. Hires to you.