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MID-COAST MAINE; Celebrate Father's Day with a 4-in-1 cruise along the coast of Maine that includes a full moon, summer solstice and a tour of North America's oldest fleet of sailing ships. Cruises offered by the Maine Windjammer Association during the third week of June also feature lobster and lupines, quiet harbors and spectacular sailing, along with close-up views of seal pups and porpoises.

June 16th is Father's Day and marks the first day of this special week in the Maine windjammer fleet's schedule. Schooner Victory Chimes offers a special fare for their Father's Day trip: sail with your dad and his fare will be half-price. It's an opportunity to give Dad some "nature" for Father's Day; in June, families of seals at play with their newborn seal pups can often be seen as well as porpoises, seals, osprey, and bald eagles. Schooner American Eagle will be sailing off shore during this week to search for puffins, and frequently on an off-shore cruise whales can be espied as well. The harbors are quiet and peaceful in June, offering much needed rest and relaxation for a hard-working dad.

The Maine Windjammer Fleet's Schooner Gam, always a highlight of the summer season, is scheduled for one evening during the week of June 16. At the gam, where the dozen historic vessels that sail together on Penobscot Bay rendezvous in the same harbor to raft-up to each other, guests will have an opportunity to visit all of the boats in the fleet. A traditional "gam" occurs when two or more sailing vessels meet at sea and heave to, sharing a meal and gossip about their cruises.

Guests booking trips on any of the boats in the fleet during this week will experience first-hand the excitement of watching capable captains and crew maneuver their vessels alongside each other, throw lines across to other boats, and situate them securely to form the raft-up. After dinner on their own windjammer, guests will be welcomed aboard all the other vessels to meet other guests, crew, and captains.  There will be an opportunity to view other galleys, cabins, saloons, check out the brass, the bright work, the captain's wheels, look at antique wall hangings and photos. For those who appreciate sailing history, it's a floating museum; an opportunity to walk the decks of America's oldest sailing vessels.

With the sun setting late and a full moon rising, and the brass lanterns lit on deck, there's plenty of light for a full evening of camaraderie. Guests will be encouraged to tune their instruments, stretch their vocal chords, and join the crews for a wonderfully informal evening of singing, joking, and story telling. Many of the windjammer captains and crew are also accomplished musicians, and the impromptu music of bagpipes, mandolins, drums, banjos, fiddles and flutes as well as guitars will fill the air.

It's been a long winter here in the Northeast, and captains and crews of the Maine windjammers are eagerly anticipating the start of the sailing season. The days are getting longer and warmer and everyone is anxious to finish getting their boats ready to get out on the water and enjoy these longest days of the year. The long light of each day will provide lots of sailing time; in 2008 the summer solstice on June 21 will occur at exactly midnight . . . 00:00 on the clock! Nothing is quite as romantic as sailing by the light of a full moon and a full moon will occur on June 18th of that week; Full-Moon Night Sailing is a feature on the schedule of Schooner Isaac H. Evans.

The week of June 16th is a prime week for sailing and visiting Maine. There will be an abundance of lupine edging the mid-coast byways, as yet uncongested with summer tourist traffic; and the lengthening days are filled with a light that almost shimmers. . This year, give Dad plenty of reasons to celebrate . . . summer solstice, full moon, schooner gam, puffins, seal pups, lupine, and of course, the fleet's traditional down east all-you-can-eat lobster bakes. Prices average $150 per person per day, all meals and activities included. For details, contact the Maine Windjammer Association at:
1-800-807-WIND or


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