photo courtesy of Alexander Hardt

Schooner American Eagle Newsletter

April 2015 


In This Issue
Cruise News
Puzzle of the month
News from Andy in the galley
Postcards and Snapshots

Vanishing Point by Shawn Payment
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Sailing in three weeks!  Thank goodness; but wait, there's still a lot of outfitting to do.  It always gets done anyway.  The winter cover is off, spars are all varnished, and topside painting has begun.  Christa, Eric, and Hannah have the job well in hand.  Andy and Angela will be here soon to complete this season's crew.

Cruise News


        A couple years back, Jenna and Ben joined us for a trip and posted this to the website, Go World Travel. 

 (Click on the picture to go to the video.)



      While you're in Rockland...


July 11th & 12thNorth Atlantic Blues Festival
July  16th - 18th55th Friendship Sloop Rendezvous & Races
July 29th - Aug 2nd68th Annual Maine Lobster Festival
Aug 14th-16thMaine Boats Homes & Harbors Show
All Summer LongMaine Lighthouse Museum

Looking for alternate pricing for a trip aboard the American Eagle?  Go for free:  all you have to do is be the 3rd prize winner in the National Geographic Traveler photo contest.  And we've donated a trip for two to the Maine Lighthouse Museum.






Puzzle of the month - Which lighthouse is this?

As for last month's puzzle, there were a number of correct answers: Egg Rock Light at the entrance to Frenchmans Bay, but nobody got the extra credit answer.  The fog signal installed in 1875 was considered too loud for a summer resident of nearby Bar Harbor and in 1905 was redirected away from the estate of .....Joseph Pulitzer.


Hints for this issue:  established in 1853, discontinued and now privately owned, near the worst golf course on the Maine Coast, where the greens keeper was a flock of sheep.  We sail by here at least once a summer.


For extra credit: what's the name of the island just offshore of the light where the local ram was pastured?  Send your guesses to [email protected]


   News from Andy in the galley

photo courtesy of Beverly Peyser

Oh boy! I'm going sailing again.  I had a great job with fascinating people, cooking for actors and I threw it over after a year to answer the siren call of the windjammer fleet.  I'll try to attach a picture of my current place of business.  Sure it's beautiful, but it's no Penobscot Bay.

What's in store?  I hesitate to commit myself, but in my dreams, I dream of switchell.  Switchell is a blend of cider vinegar and molasses and water.  They ladled it out to the farm hands after haying.  Sometimes they'd put in whole oats, sometimes they'd soak the oats in the switchell and then strain them out, giving your switchell a creamy glutinous consistency.  As we have weathered the Summer of Callaloo and the Summer of Lovage, let this be the Summer of Switchell.  I suppose there's a switchell app or website somewhere in the cloud, but let's not look it up.

I've lined up a farm to provide us with fruits and vegetables.  I'm in close negotiations with my old shipmates Tom and Dayle Ward to buy all the produce from their place in Union.  They also make sails.

And I've taken out my old copy of Maine Coastal Cooking, recipes reprinted from the Courier Gazette of Rockland, Maine, copyright 1963, incorporating The Accomplished Cook, which was printed in 1664.  It says if you soak mutton in blood, it tastes like venison.  In 1664 they called it "counterfeit venison".  I envision a field test, where half the passengers get real venison and ... but let it go.

The one I'm dying to try is butterscotch rice pudding with salted pecan sauce.  Parsnip stew sounds good too, especially in spring when the parsnips are sweet.  I'll be using more molasses this season, especially at the start and finish, when it's chilly.
   Postcards and Snapshots

Tom and Elfi sent a card from halfway around the world, from  the Sea of Galilee.  It's certainly one  of the oldest cedar plank on oak frame boats found anywhere at about two thousand years old.

The cedar on oak seineboat we use as a people mover for shore trips is only thirty years old.

This postcard took nine weeks to arrive from Mexico.  Never complain about our postal service.  Shary almost went on this vacation.



Eating a hot buttered lobster roll is like taking a mini-vacation: it conjures the scent of salt in the air and the crash of waves on the rocks-the essence of a day at the beach in Maine. Now, with Real Maine Food you can re-create this simple delicacy as well as more than 100 other Maine dishes at home.

Ben Conniff and Luke Holden of Luke's Lobster have come up with a cookbook, Real Maine Food, including a chapter on the fare aboard the American Eagle, with several of Andy's recipes.  Ben has sailed with us a couple of times and documented the experience both in this work and for Saveur magazine in 2010.  The book will be in the ship's store this season. And I was invited to attend the book release April 7th.  Great lobster rolls and crab cakes!

George and attendant

Just so you don't think I make up all of this stuff, here's proof that there really is a small dog asking for a sweater last month in California.

photo courtesy of Beverly Peyser
 Hope to see you this summer,
John and the crew

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