Maine got its nickname "Vacationland" for a reason. It has so much to offer people looking to escape their everyday lives, and just enjoy a simpler pace. For those who love the sea, Maine holds a special place in their hearts. Maine is the keeper of a world renown sailing tradition. Like a living museum, Maine offers people the chance to see a majestic windjammer sailing vessel from a bygone era.
Built in 1927, the J. & E. Riggin was originally an oyster schooner. In 1929 this sleek craft it won the Oyster Dredger Race, with its 4000 square feet of sail powering the 89 foot vessel. After switching hands a few times over the years, it was converted to a passenger sail in 1977. Later in 1991, The National Park Service designated the J. & E. Riggin as a National Historic Landmark. Most recently in 1997, Capts Jon Finger & Anne (Annie) Mahle become the new stewards of the J. & E. Riggin. The care and love Capts Jon & Anne put into this schooner is evident all around you.
Although being designated as a national historic landmark would be enough to make the J. & E. Riggin a stand out schooner in Maine, there is a lot more that goes into what makes this cruise special. It all begins on the docks in Rockland, Maine. As you walk out to this impressive vessel, it is like going back in time. The world starts being a little less hectic and life seems to get a little more simplistic. Early 1900's fixtures aboard complete the classic look and feel. Climb below deck to find your similarly fashioned cabin.
Another part of the experiences unique to a windjammer cruise is feeling you are a part of the crew. If you ever had a desire to feel what it was like to sail “back in the day”, this is your fantasy come true. Although not required, active participation in helping the schooner set sail and anchor is encouraged. The wonderful crew of J. & E. Riggin, besides being extremely experienced sailors, are also quite entertaining.
Whether it is the playful competitions they organize between teams of people raising parts of the enormous sails, or humorous chants and cheers while teams lift the anchor, the crew is a major part of the fun.
Maine is a beautiful state to visit and the scenic coastline is definitely one of its best features. The safe and relatively calm waters around Maine offer a relaxing voyage by sea, which is made even better aboard the smooth cruising J. & E. Riggin. This windjammer is perfectly designed for the waters around Maine. During sunset and sunrise, the water can be almost like glass.
Although alcohol is not served on board the J. & E. Riggin, you are certainly welcomed to bring your own. Feeling the last warmth of the fading rays of sun, while enjoying a nice glass of wine will provide a magical moment to highlight your vacation.
A trip to Maine would not be complete without trying the lobster. I’ve had lobster in many parts of the world, but none compare to Maine lobster. As part of your experience on the J. & E. Riggin, you will be treated to a lobster bake. For those of you who have never had a lobster bake, you are in for a special treat.