PORTLAND, Maine — On this week's Outside Edge, we're headed to Portland. After beginning our summer adventure in Franconia Notch with an easy hike, we've taken on rock climbing in the White Mountains, mountain biking at Mount Abram, and now, meteorologist Mallory Brooke is at the ocean's edge for a more tranquil summer option.
Despite celebrating her 10-year anniversary of living in Maine next month, she has yet to be out on casco bay, until this week's episode. Mallory boarded the Timberwind schooner from the Portland Schooner Company for a sunset cruise.
Scott Reischmann and his wife are in their 20th season of offering Windjammer sails, but it all started with one ship.
"We saw an advertisement in wooden boat magazine, for Bagheera, which is the first schooner that we bought," Reischmann said. “The boat was built in Maine. It was actually for sale in San Francisco, so we brought her back here to Maine and started it and haven’t looked back ever since."
Now, The Portland Schooner Company has five boats available for sails and private charters. All were built here in Maine and are on the National Register of Historic Places. Reischmann said they wanted to pay homage to Maine's wooden boatbuilding past and keep the tradition alive in what is a craftsmanship unique to Maine.
Sails are offered four times daily in the summer season but continue through October. You’re invited to bring food and beverages onboard. The sails are quiet without any narrative or entertainment.
"We want the experience to speak for itself," Reischmann said. You can, however, take part in getting the ship on course. “We welcome people of all ages, children and adults alike to take the helm or help raise the sail," he said.
The Timberwind was built in 1931 at the Union Wharf in Portland. It's an incredibly smooth ride, but that’s what she was built for.
"Her job was to depart Portland Harbor and go out into the North Atlantic in all weather all conditions, in January, in 10-foot swells and take the pilots out to a larger ship, transfer them onto that larger ship, and then drive that ship into port," Reischmann said, recountinging her history. She was well-loved and utilized for near 40 years in Portland harbor.
With so many options and opportunity, these sails truly encompass the best that Maine has to offer. Reischmann said that their focus has always been to appeal to locals and get Mainers out on the water.
“The beauty of the sail on the water and the beauty of the boats, and the craftsmanship that we have to offer, and the authenticity of the whole experience we think speaks perfectly to Maine and those who live here, want to live here, and it's frankly why we live here," Reischmann said.
Be sure to tune in on July 21 for the next episode where Mallory engages in one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities.