On the anniversary of the 60th year celebrating Windjammers Days and maritime history, we pay homage to our founder, Captain Marion Dash for her contribution as a female role model in our maritime community. It is her legacy that has inspired the Friends of Windjammer Days to celebrate the women who are working on the waterfront today who in turn inspire young girls and future maritime generations to come.
"Being on the ocean is what I love most of all," she will tell you. Armstrong grew up spending summers with her family in Friendship, Maine where most every day from sun up to sun down was spent in and on the water. After school, her young adult life took her away from the ocean but the sea was always calling her back.
In her late 30s Amy had enough with working indoors, and off she set for a new adventure. She accepted a position as a reservationist at Wayfarer Marine in Camden, Maine. Quickly Wayfarer recognized Amy's skills and she was moved to dockmaster. It is there that she earned her six-pack captain's license and eventually worked her way up to a 100-ton license.
After 14 years at Wayfarer, Amy decided it was time for a change. She took her skills down the coast to the Boothbay Region Boatyard (now Hodgdon Yacht Services) where she has been dockmaster at their Southport marina for the past 12 years. "My favorite part of the job is the long lasting relationships I have with the seasonal boaters who return year after year. I also love meeting new people. I take great pride in taking care of my customers."
Clearly, the feeling is reciprocated as Amy shared several stories of boaters who have opened their homes and boats to her.
"Susan and Brent Pope on Dragonfly have become my dear friends over the years. I've traveled to their home in Atlanta and stayed in their V-berth many times. Dick and Terry Lilly on Stranraer and Jack and Carol Dexter on Finale are near and dear to me. I always look forward to their return in the spring." Her words are full of endearment as she continues, "Peter and Martha Roderiques of Quest. Their berth is right next to the fuel dock so I get to see them a lot. We became fast friends and Peter loves to serenade us on his guitar from time to time. A great perk of the job."
Amy is quick to talk about her customers but quite humble about her own skills. Tim Hodgdon, President and CEO shines a light, "Over the years, not only has Amy managed the Hodgdon Yacht Services waterfront operations but she also has moved and delivered numerous storage boats as they are launched in the spring and hauled in the fall. Amy is a remarkable, seasoned boat handler seamlessly operating vessels of all types and sizes on a regular basis. Daily, she is seen piloting a large sailboat and then a few minutes later twisting a big twin screw sportfisherman or 67’ varnished “Trumpy” yacht while backing into a narrow or confined slip. She is a superstar among our customers, well respected by everyone at the yard, and cares deeply about what she does.”
Captain Armstrong is retiring this year, and she gets a little teary talking about it. "I'll never forget my ‘kids’ over the years who made my job so enjoyable and who were instrumental in keeping the fuel dock and marina working like a well-tuned instrument." Amy is quick to point out what she is looking forward to is spending more time with her wonderful family and friends and especially her amazing hardworking son Eric and his beautiful baby girl Eliza.
If the world needs more kindness, Amy Armstrong is surely doing her part. When asked to describe herself, she replied "I am honest, compassionate, and I just love everybody."