Boothbay Harbor hosted Tall Ships Privateer Lynx, Spirit of Bermuda and Nao Santa Maria the weekend leading into Windjammer Days. Last year's Tall Ships Festival was supposed to bring a host of other ships in commemoration of Maine’s Bicentennial: Fair Jeanne, When & If, Alert, Eastwind, Lazy Jack, Mary E and Oliver Hazard Perry.
Exclamations of “I have never seen it this busy” and “forget trying to park” were the norm June 26 with occasional whisper-gasps of “will you move?” popping up along the packed sidewalks.
Captain Donald Emmons Peacock of the Lynx said the trip up from Nantucket, though foggy, was a breath of fresh air knowing the ship would be able to port and welcome guests aboard. He said this year's Windjammer Days is the first time in about two years the ship has been able to hold tours and the steady stream of visitors has been encouraging. “It's always fun to come to Boothbay. We went outside the Cape and got on the one-line course and had a great sail. Living in New Hampshire, it's a place my wife can come up and join us … My son is captain of Spirit of Bermuda and they joined us in Nantucket and we sailed up together.”
A Spirit of Bermuda crewman, Amtume, said the trip marked his first voyage to Maine which, not counting the stop in New Bedford, Massachusetts for routine repairs, only took a few days. Amtume said he could not profess it the most beautiful coastline between Bermuda and Maine mostly due to the fog and rolling into the harbor in the early morning, but he has enjoyed his time here.
“We didn't really see the coastline. There was just so much fog and mist and after Nantucket we were (several) miles offshore. It was a little choppy, but they keep us busy … There's no freeloading. You gotta work, the boat's gotta move, but it’s nice to be part of the crew. And it’s nice to be here.”
The Nao Santa Maria last visited the region in 2019 and has since stayed in North America. The ship last ported in Wilmington, North Carolina where it held tours before making the eight-day direct sail to Boothbay Harbor. Crew members said the crew has changed over since the last visit, with some moving on to other ships in Nao Victoria Foundation’s fleet and some going back home.
One crewman said they docked in Mexico for one year, then were in Texas, Florida and then up the East Coast, so they’ve been in America the whole time, and they like that people like to learn about them.