That race and that fast schooner again
couresy of Anthony Marks


Schooner American Eagle Newsletter

November 2015 


In This Issue
Crews News
Cruise News
Galley News
Postcards from Away

Vanishing Point by Shawn Payment
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Alright, I promise to not put up any more pictures of our losing to the Columbia in this years' Gloucester Race.  In 2016 the Bluenose II should be there instead.


The results are in for the 2015 Maine Windjammer Association's photography contest and congratulations are in order to talented shipmates Bridget, Marc, Kathryn, Ellen, and Colleen for their award-winning entries.


Crews News

Right to left:  Eric, Andy, Hannah, Angela, Christa, and John
photo courtesy of MB Rolfe

Christa didn't get a moose.  Activity around the yard, as I finish up some long postponed repair projects on paint and woodshed, is largely bringing the lobster gear ashore for the winter.  Shiny pickup trucks and small flatbed trailers come and go as summer traps come in and winter traps are brought down to be set out for offsore work.

Stacks of Lobster Traps being brought in for the winter
You can barely see the woodshed across our parking lot.  One day earlier this month a thousand traps came in.

The last vessel we hauled on our marine railway this season was the Jacob Pike.
Lobster Smack Jacob Pike
Built as a sardine carrier in 1949, she has been used as a smack from our wharf for the last five years, freighting bait, salt, and rubber bands to the islands and returning with crates of lobsters.  Some of those lobsters we have taken back to the islands for picnics at the rate of about a ton a season.  

Gulls checking out the fallen apples

A great year for more than guests on the American Eagle.  Apple trees that have been unproductive for years put out their best efforts on record, including the little one by the schooner.  Young gulls spent several days clearing up the drops; and that was after several apple pies.

The apple picking crew
gull, apple, gulls, Eagle

Cruise News

courtesy of Daniel Bennett

Friends and family: seven of the cruises on the 2016 schedule  are still open for charter if you find a summer get-together an appealing topic around the holidays.  They include three or four-night trips in June, August, September, or October.  And you don't have to bake the pies or carve a turkey...and we'll do most of the dishes.  

Galley news
Andy cooking in the galley
Andy in the galley
courtesy of Anthony Marks

An excerpt from Andy's upcoming article, Stoves I Have Known:

Few things are more satisfying than cooking on a wood stove.  As I explained to passengers, it's a relief to come up from the galley and admire the dense stands of pine on the dark green islands in the dark blue sea, and it is another relief to go below to the nice warm galley.  The wood stove has in common with the sailboat that it has hardly any moving parts; it works by manipulating the air.  It has an oven damper, a flue damper, and a checkdraft that slides back and forth in the firebox door.  The oven damper is always wide open or shut tight, but the checkdraft and the flue damper are capable of exquisite permutations.  The passengers, many of whom had grown up with wood stoves, had much to teach me.

I got up at four thirty and shoveled out yesterday's ashes and took them aft to throw overboard.  A couple of sheets of newspaper and two handfuls of pine kindling were all it took to start the stove.  If I took off a cooking lid and put a covered pie tin full of water in the socket over the flames, I could boil enough water for a first cup of coffee.  No one else saw coffee till seven.  The first spotty intense heat was good for making cookies, which I could shift around on the sheet.  By six thirty the heat in the oven was even enough to bake batter cakes.  It was best to save the dough baking for underway.  You didn't want to be heeled over when you put in your popovers.  It took a while to proof the doughs anyway.

I also controlled my heat by choosing the wood carefully.  I had mostly oak and apple for steady heat, but if I wanted a quick scorch, I could put in a split white birch or a handful of pine kindling.  It took about a week to get into the habit of throwing in another log about every twenty minutes.  I would leave the next log on the apron of the stove so I didn't forget it.

Since the stove was traditional, it made sense to prepare traditional cuisine on it.  Baked beans, Indian pudding, brandade, corned beef and cabbage;  things that needed a long low heat.  There's a body of folklore about gauging the temperature in ovens of wood stoves.  One might hold a piece of brown paper till the edge begins to char, or hold one's hand in the oven till the fine hairs smolder.  There are several fine oven thermometers one might buy, but in my experience, if the food is cooking the way you want it to, who cares about the temperature?  In a wood stove there is a lot of turning and raising and lowering the main course, which offers the conscientious cook a plethora of opportunities to view the progress of dinner.  Having the stove going all the time made it easier to do impulse cooking.  It became second nature to roast the seeds from the winter squash with kosher salt and olive oil instead of dumping them in the compost.

The sensitivity of the mate to the feel of the wind, of the engineer to the sound of the engine, the cook has to the smell of what's in the oven.  I noticed sitting on the quarterbit with my clipboard I could smell the sugar browning in the galley much more readily than I would have below, next to the stove.  At the end of the season we unscrewed the chain turnbuckles that secured it to the sole, and slathered on a coat of Crisco and wrapped it in three layers of clear plastic wrap.  In the spring I would scrape off as much goo as I could, and put newspaper under it to melt the rest of the shortening off.

Captain's note:  the first spring firing of the galley stove melts off the rest of the shortening, imitating the aroma of baking pies and the remembrance of pies past.

Postcard and picture from Away




American Eagle shipmates on the beach in Port Orange FL
Shipmate selfie from southern shores




from really far away


Sailing in only 24 weeks!
 courtesy of Kathy Foss


John and the crew

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