A little adventure and a whole lot of relaxation
Picnic Time
-photo courtesy of Bill Carleton

  April 2015
Schooner Heritage
P O Box 482
Rockland ME  04841


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Hi Shipmates,

Spring is here at the North End Shipyard.   The parking lot has been graded and repaired in anticipation of everyone using it this season when they come for their trip. Our marine railway is busy as we haul and launch schooners for spring outfitting. Our neighbors down the wharf, Prock Marine Company, are fixing one of our docks, replacing pilings and braces.

All of the schooner crews are working at getting the vessels sanded and painted and ready to sail.  Our crew is great!  We have some wonderful new young crew members. Mate Ben and Cook Sean are back, outfitting as our head painters 

Sean and the Ben in the galley

and eager to be sailing again this season. We're looking forward to many evenings of great music on deck or in the galley with their professional guitar playing and singing.

Capt. Doug is making the Heritage look better than ever.  He's made a new stainless steel guard for the galley smoke stack and replaced some worn decking forward by the anchor chain.

Capt. Doug finishing up the new decking a few days ago.

From the archives...
1904: Repairing the deck of the 3-masted William Bisbee which was built and launched in Rockland in 1902. 

Life today is so different than at the turn of the last century.  In many ways it is, but this newspaper article, written over a hundred years ago, is nearly as accurate in its description of outfitting aboard the schooner as if it was recently published.

30 March 1901                             Bangor Daily Commercial

Schooner Skippers Get Ready for Sea
Masters of Coasting Vessels 
Have Busy Times Now Preparing
Their Craft for the Coming Season

Now is the time when the ship riggers get busy.  They have been out of the world all winter, more or less, hibernating as all the other shipping men do, like bears or hedgehogs.  Now when the spring sun begins to warm things up a bit and the crows begin to caw over the fields, the ship riggers wake up and earn money.  When a ship or a schooner, or you might as well say vessel and be done with it, is hauled up for the winter, if her captain is a careful man and a good seaman, he fixes her so that the weather can do her as little harm as possible.  Sails mildew, running rigging rots, and brass work gets green.

Many of the vessels which are hauled up in warmer climates than this are practically stripped of all their working gear and left bare and deserted at their docks.  This is what makes work for the rigger.  He has to be called in to put things in order, unless if chance should make it that way, the captain intends going to sea at once and then he makes his crew do his work at crew wages.

Sails have to be patched in the sail lofts.  This has probably been done in the winter and they are all ready.  Then they have to be bent to the spars, the halyards and down hauls rove and the sheets bent.  Every spar has to get its coat of slush which is sailor for a bucket of mutton tallow with a hot chunk of iron in it to keep it warm.  In any place where they are refitting a vessel for sea you can see a poor cold-blue nosed chap swinging in a boatswain's chair from the cross trees with his legs wrapped around the mast, slushing it down for dear life.  It is cold work these days but it has to be done and there are plenty of men who are glad of the job.

Running Rigging Rove.

The decks are a tangled mass of blocks, ropes, marlin spikes, sail cloth, serving rope, and cables.  No common man could make head or tail of the mess, but the head rigger understands it because it is his business.  One after another the clewlines and buntlines are rove and one by one the down-haul and halyards squeak through the sheaves.  Ratlines are squared, shrouds are tautened, and stays and braces treated to a coat of tar that makes them shine like a new boot.

Some captains paint and some captains don't paint.  It is according to the nature of the man and the nature of the man's pocketbook.  If he likes things shipshape he paints; if he wants all his profits and despises style, he does only what is necessary which may be a strip of green around the waterline and a little white lettering on the bow and stern.  He probably paints the cabin door, too.

Scraped and Painted.

Ordinarily if the captain can afford it, a schooner is painted inside and when she is ready for sea she is a proper ship. Maybe she has to be scraped or the paint has to be burnt off which is expensive but paint will do wonders to the looks of a vessel and sometimes it counts.  The bilge water that had been working into the hold all winter is pumped out, the hold cleaned, and the red hatch coaming touched up.  Outside a crew of caulkers is at work, jamming and pounding strips of oakum and cotton into her seams, 
1900: Caulking aboard the 6-masted George W. Wells
at the H. M. Bean shipyard in Camden, Maine

and the deck scrapers are making the shavings blow and the boards white as the inside of a new apple.

The donkey engine gets its cover off and the rust scraped out of the corners where the damp of the winter has made it in spite of the good thick coat of grease that has covered the parts.  The bright brass binnacle is put up and the rods of the cabin skylight grating polished till the captain's wife, when she comes aboard, can find no fault with them.

After a while they get through with all this and then somebody who knows the vessel charters her to carry coal.  Her crew is shipped, grumbling at the forecastle grub begins, everybody is happy and the tug tows her noisily to sea.  

And present day...
Capt Doug and Sam horsing the seams on the port side quarterdeck

Capt. Linda caulking on the port side up forward by the chain

From the Galley

The spring crop of strawberries are showing up in the grocery store and we're looking forward to having strawberry shortcake topped with hand-whipped cream and a dark-chocolate-dipped strawberry.  



We make our shortcake using biscuits with a little sugar added to the "Heritage Biscuits" recipe. 




Mix together the dry ingredients:

2 c. flour

t. baking soda

2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt



1 c. milk

c. oil. 

1 egg (optional)

1 T. sugar (optional)


Turn onto floured board.  Cut with biscuit cutter and place in greased pan.  Do not overwork dough as it makes it tough.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400.


The biscuits are split and placed in individual serving bowls, one biscuit per bowl.  Any extra biscuits can be served with dinner.  Then the strawberries are added.  Next comes the whipped cream and a chocolate dipped strawberry.


The 2 pounds of strawberries are prepared ahead of time, usually after breakfast, before the schooner gets underway.  Be sure to set aside 8 or 9 nice looking berries to dip in chocolate. Melt half of a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar over a double boiler.  Carefully dip the strawberry in the chocolate holding onto the leaves.  Place the chocolate dipped strawberries on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill until serving time.


The remaining strawberries should be hulled and sliced, and a little sugar added.  Then they are stored in the ice chest. 


The whipped cream can be prepared about half an hour ahead of time and stored in the ice chest.  We add confectioners' sugar and vanilla "to taste" to 1 pint whipping cream.  It is difficult to find room in the ice chest since we have a full quota of ice and provisions on the first day of the trip, but the strawberries are much too perishable to hold until the next day.


Serves 8.


For a variation we sometimes use our "Perfect Yellow Cake" instead of biscuits.  Both are hits.



One of our galley crew members helped to find this recipe.  I was looking for a simple to make and simply delicious yellow cake recipe.  This is the answer!


2 c.         sugar

4             eggs                          Beat together.

1 c.         vegetable oil

1 c.         white wine

1 t.          vanilla


2 t.      baking powder            Add.

t.         salt                            Beat for 1 minute.

2 c.     flour        


            Grease and flour two 9" round layer cake pans or one 9" x 13" pan.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake at 350 F. for 30 min.

The Chocolate Course
Over the winter, we always finish our noon-time meal with a piece of dark chocolate.  We call it 'the chocolate course' and have decided to try it aboard this season.  One of our favorite sources is Candy Harbor, located right here in Rockland. 

They stock a marvelous variety of chocolates and cordials made in Maine by Haven's of Westbrook. The dark-chocolate-covered caramel, topped with Maine sea salt is Shary's favorite. They do ship, if you can't wait to try one.
(207) 594-4441 or



Looking forward to time aboard with many of you,


Only 37 days until our first guests arrive.