Saturday, June 9, 2018

Historic Schooner Timberwind Returns Home, Increases Fleet in Portland Harbor

Portland, Maine - After battling high winds and having to anchor off of Chebeague Island for the night, the schooner Timberwind– listed on the National Register of Historic Places– returned to Portland this morning, the home harbor where it was built and christened in 1931 and where it served as a pilot boat until 1969. It joins Wendameen and Bagheera in Portland Schooner Company’s fleet, based on the Maine State Pier. Originally named Portland Pilot, she was designed by and built for use by the Portland Pilot's Association. Harbor pilots are responsible for boarding incoming vessels outside of the harbor and piloting them to their berths. The white oak used in its frames and a portion of the planking was obtained from one of the pilot's farms on Ossipee Mountain, according to its application for historic status. The Portland Engineering Company built her and she is the only known extant historic vessel built to serve as a pilot boat in Maine, and one of only a handful in the country. Her historic designation was earned not only for her decades of service as a pilot boat in Portland Harbor, but for her service during WWII when she was commandeered by the Coast Guard to patrol Portland harbor and its approaches.

Michelle Thresher, co-owner of Portland Schooner Company, said, “We are really excited about bringing Timberwind back to her home port of Portland. This vessel is important because it is a rare maritime artifact; it’s a preserved chapter, if you will, of the history of Portland’s working waterfront. We are proud to be her next steward and the keeper of her story. By bringing her back to Portland passengers will be able to go on board, hear the history, and get a feel for how an early 20th century pilot boat operated.”

In 1971 the vessel was converted to a passenger carrying cruise schooner and re-named Timberwind. Before returning to Portland, Timberwind served in Camden-Rockport and Belfast.

Timberwind begins sailing for the public on Saturday, June 16 and she will also participate in the 2018 Portland SchoonerFest and Regatta that kicks off the summer sailing season from June 22-24 with five to seven large, traditional schooners racing and parading under sail together in Portland Harbor.

For more information about the historic schooners in the Portland Schooner Company fleet, see portlandschooner.com

About Portland Schooner Company

Operated by owners Scott Reischmann and Michelle Thresher, the Portland Schooner Company is based out of the Maine State Pier and–with the addition of Timberwind–sails three historic schooners out of Portland Harbor.

Wendameen

The 88-foot schooner Wendameen, like Bagheera, was designed by the famed yacht designer John Alden. She was built in East Boothbay, Maine, and launched in 1912 when she took center stage in the golden era of fast, sleek ocean schooners.

Inactive since the 1930s, she was thoroughly restored in the late 1980s and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wendameen is certified by the US Coast Guard to carry 48 passengers on deck and can also accommodate 14 guests for our overnight excursions.

Bagheera

Bagheera is also vintage Alden, featuring long overhangs, a sweet and graceful sheer line and a long bowsprit. For construction, Alden turned to the rich shipbuilding heritage of Maine and found able craftsmen at Rice Bros. Shipyard in East Boothbay.

In the 1920s, Bagheera sailed in the Bermuda Race at least once before being delivered

to the Great Lakes, where she won the annual Chicago-Mackinac Race for several

years running. In her more than 90 years of cruising the world's oceans, Bagheera has crossed the Atlantic, cruised areas of the Pacific, including the Galapagos, and spent many years in the Caribbean Sea. In the 1980s, Bagheera was fitted out in San Diego for the passenger trade. She was transported back home to Maine in the spring of 2002 to serve Portland Schooner Company.

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