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Official tall ship of New Jersey gets restored in Maine

For the past 10 months, expert boatbuilders in Belfast have been restoring the AJ Meerwald, a Delaware Bay oyster schooner.

BELFAST, Maine — The AJ Meerwald, the official tall ship of New Jersey, has called Belfast, Maine, home for the past 10 months as it was the focus of a historic restoration. 

“Pretty much everything topside needed to be either significantly repaired or replaced,” Tim Clark, co-owner of Clark & Eisele Traditional Boat Building, which restored the schooner, said. 

The Meerwald arrived in Maine in September 2021. It's owned by the Bayshore Center at Bivalve history museum in New Jersey. There, it's used as a traveling classroom to teach people about oyster dredging. 

"We looked a variety of yards, and there's a lot of expertise up here in Maine, especially in the wooden boat sphere," John Brady, interim executive director of Bayshore Center at Bivalve, said about why they chose Maine for the restoration. "It just made sense to come up here and do the work." 

Before coming to Vacationland, the schooner was restored once before in 1992, according to Bayshore Center at Bivalve. Six years later, Governor Christine Todd Whitman designated the AJ Meerwald New Jersey’s official tall ship.

On Monday, July 18, the ship sailed out of Belfast Bay for Castine. It will stay there until its crew is ready to return to New Jersey. 

To learn more about the AJ Meerwald, click here

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