Skip to main content

Schooner Gam Week - A friendly gathering of historic Maine schooners

A Schooner Gam is where a small fleet of Maine schooners tie up alongside each other for a bit of a party.  Anchored out in the natural beauty of the Maine coastal scenery your raft of wooden sailing ships is a great way of meeting other sailors, checking out each other's vessels and celebrating the unique maritime culture of Maine. This is not an event for the general public in port. It is the traditional way of catching up with other schooner crews. You are part of our tribe now.

Embark
Fri, 05-06-2020 - 18:00
Rockland, USA
Disembark
Wed, 10-06-2020 - 12:00
Rockland, USA
Duration
5 Nights
Vessel
Victory Chimes
Voyage No.
VC050620

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 2 Berth Cabin pp. AVAILABILITY: Available. PRICE: 905 USD. BOOK NOW
TYPE: Single Berth Cabin - sole occupant. AVAILABILITY: Limited places. PRICE: 1,105 USD. BOOK NOW
TYPE: Admiral or Governors Suite - price per person. AVAILABILITY: Limited places. PRICE: 1,155 USD. BOOK NOW

Victory Chimes - Schooner Gam

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR...

Travelers who want to see Maine from the sea on a traditional Maine schooner and be part of the enduring maritime culture. Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers who want to move through a wild and rugged landscape under sail. Artists and photographers who appreciate seeing the landscape in all its moods from the deck of coasting schooner that has spent 120 years gracing these waters. Sailors who can't wait to take the helm. People from all walks of life and nationalities who want a bit of downtime, good food, amiable company.

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Meet the whole schooner fleet - early season get together
  • Explore one of the best sailing grounds in the world
  • If you are visiting USA East Coast - a schooner voyage is a must
  • See Maine & take an active part in its maritime culture
  • Wild anchorages and small ships boats to explore
  • Run by an incredible couple - Sam and Cara
  • Music and Sailing as a ship board way of life life
  • Choice of characterful cabins from singles to queen size beds
  • Talented Chef - You have to be good in the Maine Windjammer Fleet
schooner gam by Carol Douglas
schooner gam by Carol Douglas

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

What is a Schooner Gam?

​A Gam is where one boat ties up to the other so they create a small floating world.

​On this week the schooners will anchor in a harbor together one evening and you will be able to visit all the other boats and have a look around. "Schooner Party" explains it nicely. Maine is one of the only places in the world where you can see 12 Schooners of this magnitude in the same harbor.

This gathering is to celebrate the unique living maritime culture of Maine; bringing the boats together so that you see them for yourself and celebrate with us, our sailor's life and the coast of Maine. 

 

Maine - One Vast Neighbourhood - Connected by the Sea

A book that shaped the ethos of Classic Sailing was "Passage in Time - along the coast of Maine by Schooner" by Peter Spectre. The sumptuous photos were by Ben Mendlowitz who showed off the East Coast trading schooners and passenger charter fleet in such a way, that Adam and I knew that we had to grow a fleet of charter vessels in the UK and show the benefits of profiling the whole range of craft from Britain's seafaring past.

The Maine windjammer fleet in Maine established passenger charter as a way of preserving their 'out of work' schooners decades before the UK. What they also did right was to appreciate that having a fleet of vessels sailing around its historic sailing grounds was a more powerful attraction for customers than focussing on one.

That concept of togetherness and being on deck of one great ship and seeing another eye-catching schooner come around a headland under a press of canvas is hugely attractive to guest crews. The sailing ground in Maine is still perfect for it and there is a healthy fleet here today.  Having the schooners still sailing, coming together for schooner gams and visiting small ports and anchorages helps connect the whole neighbourhood, as ships and boats have done for centuries. 

If you want to travel through the real Maine, and get off the freeway (motorway) then we think you will love a sailing ship like Victory Chimes, whether you are a sailor or not. All the hospitality and comfortable accommodation comes with you on your engineless expedition ship, and you have a whole professional crew as your local guides.

Victory Chimes passing Rockland breakwater lighthouse
Victory Chimes passing Rockland breakwater lighthouse

Penobscot Bay on your Doorstep

If you had to design the perfect cruising ground then this would be it. Islands of all sizes to explore, broad reaches to set all sail and 'reach' across the wind, narrow passages between rocky shores to gasp with relief when you pop out the other end. The towns range from gritty fishing villages to sophisticated summer resorts offering lobster and fine dining. With life long sailors and boat builders on board you are likely to find yourself anchored off a few querky outposts where your visit is just as much a highlight for the local inhabitants as it is for you.

The Camden Hils form a mountainous backdrop to West Penobscot Bay and the sailing can range from a gentle drift into the sunset or exhilarating sails where the islands and changing skies wizz past too fast to sketch or paint.

There are so many inner islands that flat seas can be found, even though the Atlantic is not far away. The outlying islands are lashed by waves and home to puffins and other seabirds that know they are safe from any landing party.

In a 3-4 day voyage the options are endless - with ports and classic anchorages everywhere you look. Historically every seaport here has a story to tell. The windjammers of Camden still going strong as charter vessels, cargo ships still heading for Searsport and Belfast, when hundreds of sea captains have set off to ply their trade on the worlds oceans.

'Gunkhole' is a new word for European sailors, and there are plenty of 'secret spots' here amongst the trees and rocky shores. We imagine it means those snug anchorages that can hide a whole schooner if the weather turns bad.

Maine lighthouses. Photo from Pixabay

Isle de Haut, Jericho Bay & Mount Desert Island

The rugged Isle de Haut is 25 miles from Rockland and marks the start of Acadia National Park. The fishing town of Stonington looks out on Deer Island and the distinctive islands of Merchants Row.

On the 4-5 day voyages your sailing ground can do justice to an even bigger playground. Some of the most stunning scenery lies of the island of Mount Desert. An ancient mountain range looms above a superb sailing ground. Jericho Bay is a great place for larger schooners go for a blast. Swan Island and Long Island have facinating harbours and local communities.

In the coastal waters offshore from Frenchmans Bay you might be lucky to spot humpback whales or fin whales.

On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

Arcadia National Park Coast
Arcadia National Park Coast

Small Boats - Messing about on the Water

Another thing the Americans do well is the ship's boats. Their vessels are big enough to carry davits so the ship's boats are always ready. Victory Chimes has a sailing dory, and elegant rowing boats you can borrow when in a safe anchorage. If you don't quite have the skills or confidence they have enough crew to volunteer to come with you on a little foray along the shoreline. If everyone is going ashore then they have a 'push boat' with a big engine (used to manoeurvre the ship into port as it has never haad an engine.)

Apart from improving your boat handling skills, it gives you a chance to photograph the ship, work off some of the delicious meals with a spot of rowing or land on a beach for a walk.

Victory Chimes Rowing Boat
Victory Chimes Rowing Boat

Great Sea Music Concerts & Music on Board

Maine and the nearby Nova Scotia coast is famous for its music scene. A sailor's jig to hoist a sail, or a soulful song at the end of a working day has always been part of a seafarer's way of life. On Victory Chimes some voyages have planned concerts of an intimate scale for guest crew to enjoy in a secluded anchorage under the stars.

For Voyages with a musician booked to join you for the whole voyage, We will provide a link to the guest musicians website or You Tube channel so you can hear how wonderful they are.

On all other voyages music quite often happen. It will always be accoustic on fiddles, guitars or by voice. It is up to each guest whether they want to listen to it intimately or as a distant accompaniment drifting across the deck.

Playing traditional music is one of the loves of both ship owners Captain Sam and Cara. Cara has played the violin since she was 7. In her twenties she travelled around the world with a fiddle on her back, travelling and living in over 30 countries. She has studied Turkish music in Israel, played Indie Rock, opening concert for the Rio Carnival and toured as a professional musician in Europe, South and Central America and the South Pacific. She is also a fine sailor.

Sam has been the Captain of Friends Good Will, Lynx, Tole Mour, Harvey Gamage, Lettie G Howard, Roseway, Victory Chimes and the ocean voyaging Training Ship, Picton Castle. When he is not at sea you can find him between Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Rockland, Maine playing music and building boats with his friends.

night times for music and moonlight

Food, Glorious Food

A ship crew is only as good as its chef....and Victory Chimes has a good un. Chef Jeffery Miller has lived on sailboats for the last 20 years. Cooking with flair runs in his family. His mother studied cookery in Provance, his grandmother was widely known for her Appalachian culinary flair and Jeff has known how to cook for big crews since childhood, as he grew up in a home with a commercial stove; the house was literally built around it: a Garland, 8 burner burner commercial stove, so big that the walls couldn’t be put up until stove was installed. 

Jeff paid his way through college with his cooking and has a captain's licence too. He is ably assisted by a galley hand, so you really don't have to help in the galley.

You can read Chef Jeffery Miller's whole profile - under Skippers & Crew tab above..

Food and celebrations on Victory Chimes
Food and celebrations on Victory Chimes

 

HANDS ON HOLIDAYS

Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.

SAILING STYLE & LIFE ON BOARD

We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.

AGILITY & FITNESS

Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.

working off the food
working off the food

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs

 

 

Rockland, Maine, USA

schooners in maine
Latest port updates

Content...

How to get here

By Road & Parking

Content..

Rail & transfers

Content..

Air & transfers

Content..

Discount airlines

Content..

Feeling Guilty? - Carbon Offsetting Schemes

Content..

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/travel-insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Rockland, Maine, USA

schooners in maine
Latest port updates

Content...

How to get here

By Road & Parking

Content..

Rail & transfers

Content..

Air & transfers

Content..

Discount airlines

Content..

Feeling Guilty? - Carbon Offsetting Schemes

Content..

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’ http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/travel-insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Victory Chimes

Wooden schooners have graced the waters of coastal Maine for more than 100 years. Built for the coasting trade in 1900 the Victory Chimes is one of only two surviving Chesapeake Ram Schooners. Based in Rockland, she can show you this rugged sailing ground of mountains, woods and inside passages. Whether you are anchoring in an unspoilt bay, rowing ashore or crossing bowsprits with other historic schooners, this is the most evocative way of understanding the maritime culture and natural beauty of Maine.

Statistics

 

  • Length overall: 127ft (39 m)
  • Beam: 23ft (7 m)

 

  • Year built: 1900
  • Vessel type: gaff schooner 

 

  • 40 Guest berths: 
  • 8-9 Crew berths: 

 

Authenticity on an Epic Scale

At 127ft Victory Chimes is the largest of the historic schooners that still sail, but she only takes 40 guest crew, which is a lot of space per guest. Cabins have 6ft 7 inch celings and the deck space is large enough for evening music concerts. Traditionally these ships carried deck cargo too so Victory Chimes makes quite an outdoor viewing platform to stride about on during your journey through West Penobscot Bay, Eggmoggin Reach, Isle de Haut Bay and many other famous wild sailing grounds. Her cabins are comfortable and anything but standard, with portholes, sinks and a wide choice of bed options.

This 208 ton ship has no engine, so sailing everywhere is what she has always done and considered normal. There is a push boat with an engine to nudge you into port, but otherwise you set your sails to depart and to hang onto your impressive spread of canvas until the last possible minute. Her Captain and owner Sam Sikemma was formerly Captain on globe-trotting barque Picton Castle. Debbie from Classic Sailing sailed with him in Nova Scotia and we short tacked a square rigger into Rose Bay, so he is no slouch at sail handling.

If the weather goes light on you there is always somewhere to explore ashore, or take one of the ship's small boats out for a row or a sail. If you are a bit unsure about taking a boat out on your own, the deckhands are super keen to escape with you and give you a hand.

National Landmark Victory Chimes passing lighthouse

Share the Dream - We Bought the Boat!

Some people dream big! It takes a pretty special couple to take on a National Landmark like Victory Chimes. Maintaining a 208 ton of wooden sailing ship built in 1900 requires a certain amount of dedication and skill. Luckily Captain Sam has a lifetime of experience as ship's captain, mate, rigger and carpenter. He knew what he was looking for when it was time to buy his own charter vessel, That vision was shaped by his partner Cara and her musical friends and contacts.

Cara ran off to sea at 17, working 4 seasons on Maine schooner Stephen Taber. A lady with a lot of wanderlust, she travelled with her fiddle on her back, travelling and living in over thirty countries in the last 10 years, playing and touring throughout Europe, South and Central America, the Middle East and South Pacific. However, there came a point that she “just missed home,” so she packed her bags and returned to the states where she has now become involved in running the VICTORY CHIMES. 

Sam and Cara have managed to weave all their favourite pastimes into their voyages. It is obvious from the customer feedback and social media images of their first season in 2019 that they have already breathed new life into this legendary Chesapeake schooner. We can't think of a more engaging couple to give you a flavour of Maine, its maritime history, its music and introduce you to the many friends they have made through their energy and smiles.

Victory Chimes - We bought the boat - Sam and Cara
We bought the boat - Sam and Cara

Evenings are for Chilling & Acoustic Music

Sam and Cara both love playing music and they have numerous cruises featuring fine acoustic musicians that travel on the ship for the whole cruise and play for guests on select evenings after dinner. They  even have a summer concert series on a series of voyages called 'Sea Great Music.'

The performances are intimate and wonderful. Each is an hour or so, often longer because folks keep asking for more, but you can just as easily fall asleep to it from your cabin if you like. Either way, it's a lovely way to end your day after a sail and a completely unique way to get to know an artist. 

There are voyages without music theme too. Victory Chimes is large enough for everyone on board to dip into the social gatherings or find their own space for chilling out, reading a book or writing in a sea journal.

Music in the moonlight on Victory Chimes
Music in the moonlight on Victory Chimes

Sailing Style

The craggy coast of Maine offers up all sorts of wide bays to explore in the day and cozy coves to anchor down in for the night. Even then, you can keep exploring by taking out one of the ship's small boats.  The Victory Chimes owner's ethos echos our passion at Classic Sailing for travelling by sail as much as possible and finding time to also explore ashore. There is over 3000 miles of coastline and the new owners of Victory Chimes aim to show you the tucked away spots of Maine: those spots and sights that you just can't see any other way. 

Learning about the rig and how to set the sails is part of the everyday activity but these trips are more about soaking up the essence of Maine than a sailing course. Based out of Rockland, the ship has one of the best cruising grounds in the world on her doorstep. set more sail as you cross the island-dotted Penobscot Bay, and, from there can head north to Jericho Bay, Isle au Haut bay, Mt Desert Narrow, perhaps going ashore in an island town, like Stonington or south to Muscongus Bay, skirting the numerous, scenic working harbors and idyllic seaside towns.

small ports and fleets of schooners

The bays of Maine are gentle, and the Midcoast sailing season is ripe with fair-weather days. Any fog is typically poetic and we can skirt rain-showers or hunker down cozily in a cove as real storms go through. 

The sails are big and set using blocks and tackles. You have a first and second mate a 2-3 deckhands to help everyone work as a team. As the ship has no engine, you do have to earn your next meal by helping hoist the 'push boat' on its davits, after you have manoeuvered out of harbour. Victory Chimes is a stately lady and it takes quite a blow to get her really blasting. If winds are light to moderate and you are champing for more action, she does have a couple of secret weapons if you want to try more 'seat of the pants' sailing.

The ship carries a rowing boat and a sailing dory to go off exploring in the evenings, or whenever the ship is anchored somewhere tempting. The ships crew are usually up for a sail with you if you are not so sure about venturing off in a small boat on your own.

messing about in small boats is part of the fun
messing about in small boats is part of the fun

Life on Board

We have to say that food on board is a pretty major part of the experience. The dinner bell is much anticipated, especially once you have sampled the first delights from the galley. There is quite a fleet of Maine schooners so rivalry to have the best meals and chefs is rife. Sam and Cara have chosen well for their chef and galley assistant. Read the crew profile to learn more about the very experienced chef Geoffery Miller.

The Captain has spent years on sail training ships where everyone has to be kept busy, so on his own vessel he makes sure guests can do the exact opposite in the evenings. Taking relaxed downtime is part of the attraction and a chance to slow down from frantic modern lives. Enjoy a cool beer, the sunset and often an impromptu music session. There is a giant 'cooler' fridge on deck, so you can even stock up on your favourite drink before you join and keep it cool to toast those magic moments. The restless types could try a before breakfast swim around the boat or go for a row.

working off the last victory chimes meal
working off the last victory chimes meal
Below decks concert

Sweet Suites and Neat Retreats


Victory Chimes is the largest passenger sailing vessel under the USA flag, yet she accommodates just 40 guests. Repeat guests have a slight advantage in choosing cabins as they already have their favourites to request when booking.

Victory Chimes has quite a choice of accommodation and we love their querky descriptions of each cabin type. What all cabins have in common are  6'7" deckheads (ceilings), refined bedding, hot showers (outside the cabin - not in individual rooms).

Where it gets interesting is when you start to look at the possible cabin choices.

Standard Cabins at Base Price

The base price quoted is for one bunk in standard double cabin. The majority of rooms at this price are similar and with two bunks. If you are travelling solo and the vessel is full you will probably end up sharing with someone from the same sex.

Below describes rooms 1,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,16,& 18

With ceilings of 6'7", a cozy pair of comfy bunk beds, a sink and cheery, glowing porthole to peek out at the morning light or open in the afternoon to nap to the music of the wind and sea, these rooms are anything but standard.

Standard 2 berth cabin - this one has bunks but there are two twin bed cabins too
Standard 2 berth cabin - this one has bunks but there are two twin bed cabins too

Cabin 2 - Twin berths instead of bunks - base price

This room sleeps two, not in stacked bunks though, but in adjacent twins. If you like to jump on the bed, or you like an airy feeling to your pillow fights, then Room 2 is a great choice.

​Like all rooms, the ceilings are 6'7" (be impressed), it has a nice sink, fluffy bedding and a cheery porthole to glow the room or let in the music of the wind and sea. 

Room 5 - cabin for 4 friends - all bunk berths - base price

This room is a “double-double,” that is, it has two sets of bunk beds. For friends into a summer camp vibe where you tell stories from your bunks at night and get into laughing fits, this is the perfect, cozy clubhouse. ​Complete with a sink and fluffed, soft bedding, you may not get out of bed very easily in the morning, but at least you’ll have three friends nearby to help wake you up.

Private Single Cabins - Only two of these - additional price

Cabins 19 and 21 each only have one bunk so solo travellers can enjoy your own private cabin without having to share.  See individual voyage descriptions for extra cabin costs, which vary with length of voyage.

​You still get the high ceilings (6'7"), the cheery portal and the fluffy bedding and great mattresses that all the other cabins get so you won't feel like a stowaway at all.

Victory Chimes - She is a big old girl
Victory Chimes - She is a big old girl

 

Double Bed with Ensuite Restroom - additional price

There is a different price band for these ensuite cabins with double beds and their own bathroom (or restroom as the Americans like to call it). See individual voyage descriptions for costs, which vary with length of voyage.

Admirals Suite - Double bed - ensuite  

​This Suite sleeps the same number of people as a regular room, but here - you’ll get to sleep side-by-side, cozy style, on a nice, full-size bed. Complete with its own restroom (WC), a convenient sink and a cheery porthole for peeking at the scenery or enjoying the music of the sea.

Governors Suite - Queen size double bed - ensuite

Special treat? With a comfy, Queen-sized bed (!), it’s own bathroom, bookshelf and dressing area, even the captain will be jealous when you stroll into breakfast from the glow of the finest room aboard. 

'Yin and Yan' Double bed -ensuite Cabins 15 and 17

Each of these suites has, in addition to a convenient sink and charming porthole like the other rooms, it’s own restroom and a real, full-sized bed. They are a bit cheaper than Admirals and Governor suite.

Governors cabin on Victory Chimes with Queen size bed
Governors cabin on Victory Chimes with Queen size bed

 

Victory Chimes in her working days.

Victory Chimes - Ship's dimensions and history                         

Built 1900 Bethel, Delaware
length overall (sparred length) 127.5ft m
beam 23.8 ft 5.9m
draught 8.6 ft  
GRT 208 tons  
Sail rig gaff schooner  
Engine no engine yawl boat 135hp

 

History of Victory Chimes

Victory Chimes (official number 136784) is a three-masted, gaff-rigged Chesapeake Ram schooner. She was launched in April 1900 from the Bethel, Delaware yard of George K. Phillips Co. as the 'Edwin And Maud', named for two children of her first captain, Robert Riggin. Her home port back then was the same as it is now - Rockland, Maine. Originally designed for and used as a cargo carrying schooner, she was converted to a charter vessel as early as 1946.

​Victory Chimes not only exemplifies the nineteenth and early twentieth century development of large American wooden schooners intended primarily, though not exclusively, for the coasting trade on both east and west coasts, but she is the only surviving example of the "Chesapeake ram" type and one of only two surviving examples of a three masted schooner in the United States.

Victory Chimes'  She was slightly larger than the average "ram," and today she is the largest member of Maine's fleet of windjammers, which carry passengers along the coast during summer months. 

donkey windlass and winter haul out
donkey windlass and winter haul out

Restoration & Originality

She is constructed with an oak keel, double sawn frames and deck timbers and Georgia pine planking. In 1988 she was extensively repaired at Sample's Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine while owned by Domino's Pizza. Traditional working methods and materials were used to replace rotten areas in-kind. Despite an active working life in a harsh environment and required changes for passenger safety, Victory Chimes is estimated to retain about 70 percent of her original fabric.

The traditional "ram" rig was a standing jib, flying jib, staysail (also called a forestaysail), foresail, mainsail and spanker (or mizzen), which Victory Chimes carries today. The heads of the fore, main and mizzen sails are supported by gaffs and the feet are laced to booms. The present masts of Oregon Douglas fir are over eighty feet in height. The mizzenmast was replaced in 1976, the main in 1988, and the fore in 1989. "A straight tree 110 feet tall is required to get the necessary length a full twenty-one inches in diameter."

The original wooden bowsprit was replaced by one of steel to the same dimensions in 1965. The standing rigging is steel wire. Standing rigging was minimal on rams, to enable deck cargo to be stowed on uncluttered decks. Each mast is supported by three shrouds on each side. The foremast has three stays and springstays run from its masthead to the main and mizzen masts.

Still an engineless Sailing Ship today

Just as when Victory Chimes was built, the schooner does not carry an engine. Maneuvering assistance is provided by a nineteen foot wooden yawlboat which pushes against the stern. When not in use it is towed astern. The current yawlboat was built in 1991 by then Captain Kip Files and George Alien to enable the vessel to compete with other vessels in the passenger schooner trade which have been modified to carry engines. The yawlboat is, said Kip, "probably a bit bigger than would have originally been used."7 It is powered by a 135 horsepower Ford diesel engine. Three other boats are carried on davits. 

Ships Boats

Ships boats for you to use on Victory Chimes
Ships boats for you to use on Victory Chimes
Introducing the ships crew on Victory Chimes
Introducing the ships crew on Victory Chimes

Captain Sam Sikkema

Debbie from Classic Sailing met Sam when he was onboard Picton Castle, where he was clearly revelling in being Captain of this famous tall ship in home waters during the Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Race. Seeing Captain Sam orchestrate us as motley crew into short tacking this 56 metre square rigger into Lunenburg was one of the highlights.

Capt Sam Sikkema fell in love with the water early in his life. Sailing dinghies on Lake Michigan as a kid with his father, he quickly grew up to sailing larger and larger boats. When in High School he joined the Sea Scouts and had the opportunity to start sailing large traditional sailing vessels around his home waters in the Great Lakes.

When Sam left school he turned to seaward and never looked back, launching into a maritime career that has taken him around the world and sailed on all of the world's oceans in Schooners, Square Riggers, Training Ships, Yachts, Fishing Vessels, Commercial Vessels and work with Maritime Museums and Shipyards as a Carpenter and a Rigger.

Over the years he has sailed as crew in Niagara, Bounty, Sørlandet, Denis Sullivan, Californian, Red Witch, Nina, Robert C Seamans, Spirit of Bermuda, Alabama, Highlander Sea, Columbia, and the 1841 Whaling Ship Charles W Morgan. He has also been in command of Friends Good Will, Lynx, Tole Mour, Harvey Gamage, Lettie G Howard, Roseway, Victory Chimes and the ocean voyaging barque Picton Castle.

​Capt Sikkema, along with many certifications, holds a US Coast Guard Masters License for vessels up to 1600 tons upon Oceans and 3rd Mate unlimited. He is licensed internationally to be Master of vessels of up to 3000 tons and mate of any vessel worldwide. He also holds the Nautical Institute International Sail Endorsement for Square Rig and Fore & Aft Rig.

​Along with his passion for being on the water Sam has always enjoyed playing music and is a student of History and Marine Preservation. When he is not at sea you can find him between Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Rockland, Maine playing music and building boats with his friends.

Captain Sam Sikkema

Cara Lauzon

​Cara Lauzon was a born and bred a farm girl in upstate New York and took to the seas when she was 17, moving to Maine to work on the local vessel Schooner Stephen Taber. Caught by wanderlust she worked for 4 years seasonally on the Stephen Taber and took off in the winters traveling Europe and South America and the Southern States. Playing Violin since she was seven, her wish to travel soon became insatiable and she set out to travel with her fiddle on her back traveling and living in over thirty countries in the last 10 years, playing and touring throughout Europe, South and Central America, the Middle East, the South Pacific and other continents of our globe.

Her love of the sea was never quite lost and she had several sailing adventures in the South Pacific and other warmer climes. 

Most recently she was living in Israel studying Turkish music, playing Indie Rock and living by the sea. However, there came a point that she “just missed home,” so she packed her bags and returned to the states where she has now become involved in running the VICTORY CHIMES. She is very excited to bring her knowledge of the world and her connections to the musical world to breathe new life into this historic vessel's journey.

a medley of Cara images

Chef - Jeffery Miller

VICTORY CHIMES has an 'engine'. Yes, the secret is out. It is the cooking of our Chef, Chef Jeffery Miller that drives us. Below deck, in the galley, is what fills our trips with enjoyment as much as the wind fills our sails. 

He is always sailing or cooking and has lived on sailboats for the last 20 years. Being aboard VICTORY CHIMES allows him to be immersed in his two favorite passions: sailing and cooking.  He grew up in a home with a commercial stove; the house was literally built around it: a Garland, 8 burner burner commercial stove, so big that the walls couldn’t be put up until stove was installed. 

His mother studied with Patricia Wells in Provence Italy and Jeff picked up the passion from his grandmother who has a widely known Appalachian culinary flair for simple brilliance, and a dramatic style of hospitality. At thanksgiving she would surprise each guest with their favorite entree; each individually prepared for them. 

In school, Jeffery worked in kitchens around marinas and he cooked his way through college, fully paying his tuition as he went. He moved to Florida to upgrade his Captain’s license by adding offshore time.

He somehow - he has a thousand stories and so we’re only touching on the peaks of his anecdotal mountain range - ends up working shoulder to shoulder with a renowned Hungarian Chef - Lazlo Bevardi, who at 9 was chosen as the only person in the country allowed to cross to West Germany to attend a renowned culinary institute.

After years in the trad sailing world, Capt Sam has picked his crew well.


Nicola Morse - Galley Hand 2019

Nicole’s history with the ‘Chimes is more than most peoples. Her great grandfather, Fredrick Boyd Guild, owned and captained the Victory Chimes and her aunt worked in the galley when she was in her early 20’s. She grew up sailing in Casco Bay, Maine and previously taught sailing in the Falmouth and Portland areas.  Nicole is currently studying at Maine Maritime Academy working on a dual major program in Marine Biology and Small Vessel Operations. She just finished her first year and will be heading back at the end of the summer for her sophomore year.  

Yoko Bowen: First Mate

Yoko's parents started a marine science summer camp, so she spent summers on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick.If you’re always around boats, you sail out to watch whales, and all your father’s friends are fishermen, then you just might fall in love with the sea. 

Yoko went to the College of the Atlantic with a focus on marine studies. When the chance came up to live on one of the most remote islands of Maine, Mt. Desert she lept at it and many other outdoor adventures. She was also stationed on Great Duck Island, researching the ecology of herring gulls that had her living intimately among them.

Ever since her first day at college though, her counsellor had tried to convince Yoko to take a semester at sea versus so much time on land, collecting data. She eventually relented and took part In the Sea Education Association’s program (SEA). This was the pivotal experience that set Yoko on her course to us. At the end of her stint at sea, the moment she hit the dock, she realized that as much as collecting data put her intimate to the natural world she’d loved since childhood, the lengthy follow-up time spent analyzing data, would habitually keep her from it for much longer. 

She changed course and a week later she was hired as educator on a boat called Quinnipiack. Two years later she found VICTORY CHIMES. Within three years , she went from deckhand to first mate and is the first ever female to hold that position on this ship.

As much as she’s a brainy, brawny badass, Yoko is also an endearing goof. This season, the crew is all about the movie “A Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” so, of course she knit everyone red caps to wear, just like Bill Murray wears in the movie. 

Sherman Brewer: Second Mate

The Brewer family has lived on the island of Southport since the 1600s, so Sherman’s love of the sea and nearly innate seamanship is nearly hereditary and seemingly inevitable. A sailor since he was 9, working aboard ships at 15, his official training was at the Northeast Maritime institute in Fair Haven, MA which transitioned him from deckhand positions to ship’s officer. When the opportunity to work on the ‘Chimes came up, he gladly took it. This is his second year and we hope just the beginning. 

For a bio steeped in history and devotion, Sherm’s may seem aloof in its brevity, but such quiet humility is a Sherm trademark. Just beneath his taciturn reserve though, is a dry humor, simmering wit and beaming smile. He’s an old soul, conscious and quietly proud of his family’s long local, maritime history. Like the best sailors, he snaps to duty and awareness in an instant, doesn’t suffer fools well and is deeply knowledgeable of safety, process and teamwork. 

A nod from Sherm' is as good as a cheer from most others. He wears his seamanship with reserve, but he’s a lovable, loyal and a darn fun complement to the long, proud history of our ship. 

Deckhands

In 2019 season there were two deckhands and one deck apprentice. Very handy if you want to take out one of the ships sailing dories and need some company.

Victory Chimes - Kit List

Sociable sailing holidays on Victory Chimes

Packing Tips

It's best to pack light and in soft luggage; it squishes better under beds. You also don't need to bring towels, washcloths or shampoo. There are two hot showers for guests, each available from 7am to 9pm each day. 

Top tip from Classic Sailing. You can't all fit in the shower at 8am. Sneaking off for a shower later in the day, is much more pleasurable.

Climate for Sailing in Maine

​It's always cooler on the water, and we're powered by the wind - so make sure to have some sweaters and layers when you start packing!

​On top of that, at either end of the season, June in the beginning and September & October towards the end, can be brisk. Above all, be comfortable and be prepared.

​Packing List (with European Translation)

$25 Cash for parking in a lot (car park) right nearby. 

Sneakers (trainers)  and deck shoes are best for comfort and traction on deck.

Sun stuff: sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen; no trees at sea.

Rain jacket (not a poncho) and rain pants (waterproof trousers or salopettes). They don't have to be offshore sailing clothing - any good quality hiking waterproofs are fine. You can avoid standing in the rain looking at a steely sea all day, by hunkering down in the galley with a book, but to not bring waterproofs would limit your options and they are great as windproof protection too.

Swimsuit if you fancy swimming off the boat or in a cove ashore.

Earplugs: if you're a light sleeper, consider bringing a pair, the crew gets up early to get ready for the day, and sound travels easily in a wooden ship - it's like a big guitar sometimes!

Camera: of course a camera! Maine is too beautiful to just commit to memory. 

Sleeping bag: this is only if you want to sleep on deck, which is a real neat thing to do. There's a big, padded square under the middle mast, and dozing under the Milky Way and rising with the sun, is a treat. 

CONTRABAND & Alcohol

​Note that because the vessel is Federally inspected, and so under Federal jurisdiction, marijuana, though newly legal on the state level, and here in Maine, is still illegal federally and so not allowed aboard VICTORY CHIMES. Sorry to harsh your mellow. 

Alcohol - After sailing its great to enjoy a cool beer, wine etc. The ship does have a vast cooler fridge on deck, so you can store your favourite beer or bubbly.
 

Off

Victory Chimes - Customer Comments

everybody rows in Maine

Victory Chimes is a new vessel in the Classic Sailing fleet, so we do not have our own customer reviews yet. We have been watching their first season (2019) with interest, and the Victory Chimes team have gathered some exceptional reviews. When an experienced captain gathers years of working for others and distills all the best bits into their own vessel you know it is going to be good. Partner Cara and her musical friends and a well chosen chef and crew add another dimension....but don't just take our word:

Trip Advisor - Snapshot of the most recent of 35 reviews

Trip advisor snapshot

Facebook 

Sailing on a windjammer was something we always wanted to do. Fresh breezes, awesome food and a fun crew made sailing on Victory Chimes the trip of a lifetime...

25 Sept 2019, Facebook, B Matthews

The Victory Chimes is a gorgeous piece of history, and a magical adventure, with a warm friendly crew, and fun new discoveries every day. I would recommend it heartily.

27 Sept 2019, Facebook, H Harvey

This is an amazing peaceful beatific the sea, charming and crew is awesome and we haven’t even left the dock yet

21 Sept 2019, Facebook L Messier

This is a beautiful and historic vessel (last of her kind!), operated by wonderful folks. The sailing was incredible. A special "bonus" was the MUSIC!!! Thanks to Captain Sam and Cara for making this an incredible experience!

27 Sept 2019, Facebook, C Vetro

Just got off the victory Chimes after 5 days of sailing. It was a very relaxing time, The food was great and more than enough.
The crew was very accommodating the helpers in the galley and the Cara the cook were just great they went out of there way to be of service to us. And finally I could not say enough about Captain Sam Sikkema how he handles the ship and how he took time out to answer any questions he was asked.
Ps. The emphasis on safety on board made us feel very comfortable

02 Sept 2019 D Mcintyre & D Lombardo

An historical ship, the captain is an accomplished sailor, wonderful story teller, and can even play a few tunes!
Food was fabulous, I snatched a recipe from the chef who gets to create 3 yummy meals a day for you. We sailed, had yoga twice a day with guest instructor on board, hiked around several islands and made it out to Monhegan Island, a rare treat I was told. I want to see more of this amazing Maine coastline. Did I mention the crew? So in sync, and fun to be with. Will go again! And you get to help hoist the sails. For a first timer it was more than I expected.

22 Aug 2019 Facebook, C Di Domenico

Off

Itinerary

On a sailing voyage, we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described above, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her.

Visas and Vaccinations

Classic sailing is unable to be an expert for advice on visas and vaccinations for customers traveling outside their own country.

Please seek advice relating to your nationality traveling to the countries of your voyage from the country you will be setting off from and returning to.

Passports

In most instances, you will need a passport that expires six months or more after your return to your home country.

What others say about us

CURRENT AVERAGE   4.6 STARS
249 REVIEWS

Facebook reviews

"A life changing experience with talented crew who gave us hope for mankind ...and biscuits"

Customer comments

Read what the press say about our holidays
 

Magazine articles

 

Why book with Classic Sailing?

The call of the sea

Destinations for sailors & explorers

Over 300 voyages a year

11, 051 customers introduced to

traditional boats and tall ships.

Tell us your sailing dreams

Experts

Office Team of Skippers

6 Times Around the World between Us

Selling Holidays for 22 Years

2 Dogs to make us laugh

Contact Us

How to Book

Voyage Applications Online 24 /7

How to book a voyage

Terms & Conditions   Travel Insurance

Loyalty Discounts & Price Match

Frequently Asked Questions