“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.” ~ George William Curtis
“Aside from what it teaches you, there is simply the indescribable degree of peace that can be achieved on a sailing vessel at sea. I guess a combination of hard work and the seemingly infinite expanse of the sea – the profound solitude – that does it for me.” ~ Billy Campbell
Annual Sail Boat Trip
Every year (with the exception of last year, but does that REALLY count?!?!) I do a sail boat ride with my best friend and mer-twin. It has become our summer slash birthday tradition. It began in Portland, Maine with Portland Schooner and when she moved to the Mount Desert Island area, we kept up the tradition. There is NOTHING like sailing, especially when it is on a historic hundreds year history filled sail boat. Their is something so incredibly magical, awe inspiring, and yes, humanizing, about being on the ocean letting the waves take you as you sail in a hundred plus year old sail boat.
If boats could talk, oh the stories they would tell, especially these sail boats which have withstood decades if not centuries of waves and rough seas! The ocean has always been my happy place and being on a sail boat always brings me so much joy. I always joke that one day I will live on a sail boat and who knows, perhaps I will! There is certainly plenty of time, and these old ships have plenty of room! The hull usually has a bed or a bench that transforms into a bed and depending on the renovations of the boat it can be quite cozy and homey. I have been on one sail boat that even had a sink and kitchenette!
A little history of Sail Boats
There are many different types of sail boats, which have been around for centuries, dating as far back as ancient Egypt when sailing ships would travel along the Nile. They have evolved over time to become stronger, faster and more efficient, as they sailed the oceans, conquered lands and explored the world. Sail boats now have engines to propel them, so the don’t need to rely on just the sails, but it is incredible to think (or just my nautical self geeking out) that before engines, boats could sit stagnant in the ocean until the winds picked up.
I have sailed in several different types of sail boats, most commonly schooners and sloops. I love both for different reasons. Schooners have been sailing for centuries and have become synonymous with New England as they sailed up and down the coast and travelled along the rivers for trading. Schooners have been around since the 1700s roughly and are bigger as well as require multiple people to operate it due to the multiple masts, some have up to seven sails! On the other hand Sloops, which originated in Bermuda, are much smaller with one mast, jib, and mainsail. They are perfect for fishing and if you are in New England, Lobstering.
Sail Acadia is a small local Maine business which has operated for 20 plus years. It is located out of Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island, though they do occasionally sail out of Northwest Harbor. They have three sloops, which were all built in Friendship, Maine. (and thus called the Friendship Sloops) They do a variety of sails which include, two hour tours, charters, and even going back to their roots and doing lobster tours.
Being a small business, the captain is also the owner, and his wife will do the bookings as well as the social media. He does hire people seasonally, but you just might find him steering your boat ride. Not only did Captain Karl grow up in Maine, but he is also a USCG certified licensed captain whose knowledge of the seas around Mount Desert Island and really all along the Coast is expansive. The tours are small, with only six people at a time sailing. So it really is a personalized and intimate experience.
Because it was May and rainy (though it held off!), it was just my friend and another couple who were not only the absolute sweetest, but their daughter and I are friends on Instagram! (She runs a shop in Kennebunkport called Seacraft!) Such a small world! We wanted to see some seals, so Captain Karl took us out a ways to a rocky island where they were lounging, because the waves were quite fierce we couldn’t get to close, but it was still fun to see the lounging unbothered by the temperamental sea.
We went out around Sutton island – And YES I do have an island named after me….J/K but it IS named Sutton island, maybe I have a long lost relative somewhere? Before making our way to Some Sound which was incredibly calm, the only body of water that was! The cool thing about Sail Acadia and really all of the sailing companies I have used, is they really focus on customer service and will supply things, like blankets to keep you warm. Depending on the type of sail, they will even provide food, and all the boats I have been on allow you to bring your own grub as well as to bring some spirits, so it truly is a festive adventure!
There is NOTHING like sailing during some wine time! The sail went by so quickly! And despite the moody skies, it was so much fun, the perfect way to kick of celebrating my birthday month! I was sad when it ended, but it certainly is not going to be my last sail, maybe even of this summer!
Have you ever been sailing? Did you like it?