Sunset from the Schooner American Eagle

Sunset from Pulpit Harbor

photo courtesy of Ken Martin

 Schooner American Eagle Newsletter

May 2013  


In This Issue
Cruise News
Story Time
From Andy in the Galley
Outfitting 100 years ago
Postcard From Shipmates
Crew News
  Varnished Blocks    
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        I've often said that there's a day of maintenance for every day of sailing.  There have been a lot of days of the former since last October when the 2012 season wrapped up, but life is full of surprises and the schooner's engine exhaust system has just undergone a surprise rebuild when both crew and guests would much rather be sailing.  With the repair  done, we're back in service for our next voyage.  Apologies to those who had their vacations cancelled or rebooked later, but safety and preparedness are nothing to minimize, repairs are nothing to do by half, and I'm not one to risk the vessel or guests to keep a schedule that's on paper.  Who knew that a stainless steel pipe would fail internally in one season?  We found the problem while between trips at the dock testing our systems;  good thing we check these things often.  New sails, new awning, new anchor this season and now a new exhaust, at least in part.



Cruise News 


      The  American Eagle fished for 53 years; 2013 is our 28th season windjamming.


      Our annual Rotary Youth Exchange cruise was in mid-May.  Half of those aboard went swimming in 48 degree water; none were crew or chaperones.


2013 Rotary Exchange Student Cruise
photo courtesy of Henry Garretson







Spring has sprung, the bell has rung, let's eat! 

The bell and life ring aboard the Schooner American Eagle
photo courtesy of Peter Atkinson

Moving on from the snows of yesteryear it's time once again to provide a comfortable home afloat at least for a few days or a week with ever-changing scenery, cozy cabins, and the certainty that Andy will soon be sending up another meal to satisfy our outdoor appetites.  Ten weeks ago, Shary's office looked like this from the schooner


 Shary's office after the February snowstorm



and our dock.



Dock Building after the February blizzard

  Edward Hopper painted Rockland scenes like this.




Why, it's almost enough to drive one to drink.       


 Story Time

Capt John reading by lantern light
photo courtesy of Alan Pease



Speaking of the above, some of the favorite tales for an evening on board are Mr. Glencannon stories written by Guy Gilpatric, which first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post years ago.


Bookcase full of sea stories aboard the American Eagle
photo courtesy of Ken Martin



The Scots engineer on a tramp steamer, the Inchcliffe Castle, Mr. Glencannon makes frequent use of an elixir native to his home country.  The stories may be fiction, but my dear wife found proof that there was some truth in the tales... 86.8 proof.



  Scottish elixer

 Mr. Glencannon's famous Duggan's Dew of Kirkintilloch


From Andy in the Galley


First mate Adam Smith working on the stove
2012 mate Adam Smith working on the stove.

 The Stove


      It was a memorable summer, to be sure.  Who could forget watching a humpback whale breech sixteen times in a row, or winning two schooner races, or those still twilights when Logan played his violin for us?  But what I'll remember longest is when I closed the oven door and the front apron platform snapped off the stove.  It probably landed nowhere near my feet, but I jumped about a mile.  I put on my oven gloves and hustled it up on deck, where I laid it on the lobster kettle on the chain locker.


      Disasters like this make the captain's eyes twinkle with pleasure.  John refitted the iron panels of the stove which had slid out of position when the bottom fell out, drilled a hole in the stove top and fitted in a steel bolt as a latch to hold the door closed. We welcomed new guests aboard and set off for another six-day sail.  I needed two hands and a potholder to open the oven, and couldn't rest pots on the right front quadrant of the stove top.  Not that I'm complaining.


      It took the stove's falling apart to make me appreciate the delicacy of its construction.  The walls fit on a platform with airspace aound the oven, a damper to direct the heat.  The stove, in other words, is kind of like the schooner itself.  It works wthout moving parts, by simply manipulating the atmosphere.


      The good thing about nineteenth century technology, like wood stoves, is that they were built to be repaired, instead of replaced, unlike the microwaves and steamers of today.  When the season ended, John took the stove apart and sent it to an expert to refit.  When the expert took too long, John collected his stove, rebuilt it back in the galley and refit the complicated copper pipes which give us our hot water.  Now it works better than ever.  Come visit us and see! 



  The galley cookstove back in place and better than ever

Outfitting a hundred years ago 


Schooner Athena built 1908  

      Here's a Gloucester Harbor view of the schooner Athena, designed by Thomas MacManus and built a few hundred yards away in 1908 at about the same spot where the American Eagle was launched June 2, 1930.  Athena's mainsail is lying on the cabin top and wheelbox, hopefully just back from the sail loft and ready to be bent on.  There's some work going on from a float on the port side. 


      What one doesn't see is where she has been and where she'll be going over her twenty year career.  Athena  grounded on Lovell's Island in Boston Harbor in the February 1910 blizzard described by one reporter  as "Tipsy Weather," a storm during which the schooner Minerva went ashore on Whiskey Ledge, near Cape Ann, the sloop W. H. Reed was wrecked off Rye, NH  and a three-masted schooner anchored in a dangerous position off Toddy Rock, just below Boston Harbor.  The next November, by then equipped with an inboard engine, Athena left Boston for Seattle, a voyage of 16,000 miles around Cape Horn, to enter the Pacific halibut fishery.  When that didn't work out she came back to fishing off New England and was finally abandoned off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in 1928.     



Postcard From Shipmates 


   Postcard of Victoria Falls


Some of our guests are world travelers.  They look forward to sailing on the American Eagle just as much as those of us who stay home the rest of the year.


Crew News


Furling Sails
photo courtesy of Ken Martin


Shorts weather is finally here.  Remember it's always cooler out on the bay!



We still have space for you on a lot of the trips if you haven't decided yet for this season.


See you on the bay sometime soon,  

John and the crew


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Schooner American Eagle
P O Box 482 
Rockland, ME  04841
(800) 648-4544