"Off for an island picnic"
photo courtesy of Carolyn Dow


Schooner American Eagle Newsletter

January 2014 


In This Issue
Cruise News
Crews News
Old Photos
Postcards from shipmates
  Varnished Blocks    
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          Happy New Year to all of you whether you've sailed with us or are about to come sailing or want to keep up with what's going on aboard the American Eagle.  This time of year there's winter maintenance and repairs in progress, quite a bit of snow plowing, and lively discussions at coffee break as we warm up and see what Shary might have brought us from the post office.  The 10th annual Pies on Parade is this coming Saturday in Rockland and the National Toboggan Championships in Camden will be coming up early next month.  We did field a team for the first toboggan competition in 1991.  I'd be happy to lend you a sled if you'd like to compete.  It's also gray seal pupping season about now, appropriately on Seal Island in outer Penobscot Bay.


Cruise News


          For 2014 we offer trips from two to eight nights, May into October.  Every cruise has moments of fun, plenty of sailing, time to explore a coastal village or island, or watch for wildlife.  





Enjoy our own parade of pies and wonderful meals with the Maine coast as our setting.

photo courtesy of Ralph Smith




Seabird watching is best in June towards the end of nesting season, what few whales we see are apt to be in August, and the best breezes are in September.


photo courtesy of Patrick Burns






Crews News


         The crew is all set for the coming season with some faces you may recognize if you've sailed with us recently.  Logan is back as mate and Mike has moved up to cooking.  New crew Christa and Olivia will liven things up some as we start sailing windjammer summer # 29.  And not to forget past crew, here's Andy's contribution to crew news:






          It is my painful duty to alert the erstwhile passengers of the schooner American Eagle that I won't be cooking on her next year. I got a very good job here in Waterford, Connecticut as Chef of the Eugene O'Neil Center for the Arts. Benefits. Retirement. A salary.


          I contrive to take out the garbage two or three times a day, so as to crossing the parking lot and contemplate Race Rock Light and Fisher's Island across the sound. Sometimes I see the Cross Sound Ferry on its way to or from Greenport.  I look at the waves breaking at the mouth of Alewife Cove and I decide whether I'd like to be on the water that day. These are some of the first waters I ever sailed, back on the Sylvina Beal and Mystic Clipper in the nineties.


          Putting in the last two years under sail was the smartest thing I ever did. What feeling I ask you, can compare with taking the Costa Baja Yacht Club Shuttle to downtown  La Paz, Mexico, and reading in a two day old USA Today about blizzards paralyzing the East Coast? I liked to think of the paralyzed East Coast as I ate  a mango on a stick, which the vendor cut up sort of like a pine cone, and dusted with red chile and lime juice.


          How I miss the bakery aisles in Mexican supermarkets, where I pulled my bread and pastries from their myriad bins and balanced them on a tray, and carried them to the lady by the conveyor belts who bagged them and stapled on a price tag . The scent of the corn tortillas as they came down the chute, warm and dense from the horno. The pot of chicharones deep frying on a gas ring outside the carniceria on market day. Choosing between among four different kinds of banana.


          And there was nothing like the semester- long voyages on the Ocean Classroom boats, where you board pale and pasty  in Gloucester, and debark,  tan and fit, four months later in Old San Juan. The thrill of watching  a crew of teenaged unreticulated brains absorbing the lore of offshore sailing as easily as donning their foulies.  Flourishing on a boat that makes demands on them they'll probably never experience again. They'll never have to do bow watch and boat checks from midnight to four, they'll never have to furl the topgallant in a gale, never have to sweat a dockline. Never live within arm's reach of forty people again. Many, not all, will never clean another toilet.


          Very few things were as satisfying as casually mentioning in bars that I cooked on the American Eagle. Or the assurance, endlessly repeated, that I'm the most important person on the boat. Or the amazement of a gluten free passenger presented with a steaming bowl of quinoa. I could go on, there's a unique pleasure in dropping anchor  in a new harbor,  watching the car lights swooping up and down the shore road, knowing that you'll go ashore next morning to a picturesque historic town, just small enough to walk through, just big enough for a gourmet deli and  a farmer's market.  The Saturday afternoons when we've cleaned and restocked the boat for our next voyage , and we sit in the galley and drink local beers and make jokes about the last trip and gorge on cold lobster quiche.


          The windjammer season amounts to a hundred and fifty sunsets and sunrises, give or take, about a dozen rainbows, the odd meteor shower, and  some moonless nights with the Milky Way clear enough to pick out her individual stars. The predawn in October when Orion first pokes his nose above the horizon.  The eagles, the ospreys, the seals, the harbor porpoises. The raft ups, with their heartfelt captonial perorations. Winning races. Losing races. A hundred and fifty days of starting the stove and brewing a cup of coffee.


          Now I live next to West Mystic Wooden Boatyard and some mornings I go stand on the floating dock, to feel the sea beneath my feet. I can look down through the clear winter water and see the last schools of shifting minnows, the starfish patiently opening their clams. This is Clamshell Cove. I could borrow one of these rowboats and go around Willow Point down the Mystic River past Six Penny Island, Ram Island and Mouse Island to the Fisher's Island Sound. I could row past Latimer Reef and take Napatree Passage out into the Atlantic Ocean. I could cross that ocean to another ocean; a couple of different oceans.  The lands are separated by oceans, but the oceans are all connected.


          A passing wake of a boat long gone may jog the dock and remind me where I am, and I'll make sure I have my laptop and knives and a clean apron in the back seat, and I'll drive over the bridge to work.


          Fair winds!  

     Andy Jackson



Old Photos 



          Here in somewhat chronological order are some milestones for the schooner:


 1930    (Launch Day)  Note the windlass and anchors on the dock as well as the dog and the heap of planking  edgings .  You can just make out the name Andrew & Rosalie on the bow.





Leaving on an early swordfishing trip.  The fore topmast is for spotting the fish.





             from The Kane Republican July 14, 1937





1940      Hauled out for spring painting, something that hasn't changed.


Andrew and Rosalie Spring haulout pre-1941
photo courtesy of Fred Bodin




1959     Rigged for dragging and has been renamed American Eagle.





1970's      Rafted up with the Serafina II etc. at the Seven Seas Wharf between trips






1986      Ready for rigging and launch day after rebuild at the North End Shipyard in Rockland.






2010     Racing back in Gloucester 


American Eagle leading
photo courtesy Amy Beaudet






Postcards from shipmates 



     "The earth blue on the front is gorgeous, but I do like to see the Ocean's blue from the deck of the American Eagle." 





From two former crew, sent from Spain, fall, 2000.  Paul sent the card but Andy had to get in the last word, "Yo! Chris got stabbed last night!  He's ok now."





This poem and picture say it all.









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    Hope to see you if it ever warms up,

John and the crew


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