Maine Windjamming: From Start to Victory
Summer "windjamming" on the Maine coast began in the 1930s when Frank Swift of Bucksport observed the rapidly vanishing sailing coasting trade and conceived the idea of carrying passengers for hire during the summer months.
It was a concept similar to the "dude ranch" concept in the American west and was the first time "the concept of operating, adaptive use of a historic vessel was applied to maritime preservation."48
It was a concept similar to the "dude ranch" concept in the American west
By the time Swift began his operations with the 1881 schooner ANNIE F. KIMBALL, sail on the Maine coast had "all but lost its commercial viability,"49 but by 1939 Swift had a waiting list for his fleet of three schooners and by 1948 had nine vessels operating out of Camden. 50 In the late thirties he advertised one or two week cruises:
These schooners are not yachts just picturesque down-east sailing vessels, clipper-bowed and able, with billowing sails and hempen rigging. Each Monday, from July 4th until September 10th, the Annie Kimball and the Lydia Webster will sail from Camden, Maine for a week's cruise not to follow an exact itinerary but to use the winds and tides to make the cruise most interesting. 51
EDWIN And MAUD was purchased in 1954 by a syndicate, Maine Schooner Cruises, of Belfast, of which Captain Frederick Boyd Guild of Castine was a member. Part-owner Captain Frederick Guild skippered Edwin And Maud, now re-named Victory Chimes, in the summers of 1954 and 1955.
Maine Schooner Cruises's
Captain Frederick "Boyd" Guild
renamed the ship "VICTORY CHIMES" from seeing that ship as a child.
The syndicate was not successful. In 1956, Frank Elliott bought the ship.
The Rockland newspaper, The Courier Gazette, reported in 1956 that "the ship was sold at a U.S. Marshall’s sale in Bucks Harbor in early October. Mr. (Hosmer) Philips, an executive of General Motors, and the mortgage holder, bought her in at the sale. Later, he expressed a desire to have her remain on the Maine coast and turned away other and higher offers in order to permit local people to buy her if they wished.
1956 postcard from Frank Elliott, right after he bought the ship, to his son Aldelbert Eugene ("A.E.") :
This is it Bub,
How does it look? Everything is smooth here. We will write you soon.
Frank Elliott of Ingraham Hill, Maine bought the ship and ran a successful windjammer business out of Rockland. The seller had wanted the ship to stay in Maine and so accepted Frank's offer.
Mr. Elliott’s offer of $21,000 was made Monday and accepted by Mr. Philips in a phone conversation."
Capt. Henry Gallant, agent for the owner, Hosmer Philips of New York, completed the transaction with Mr. Elliott Tuesday morning.
Mr Elliott said that he would employ a Maine coast sailing master familiar with the cruise schooner trade, and a crew recruited locally." Frank Elliott built up a thriving windjammer business with the ship but, due to health concerns, decided to sell the ship after operating it for three years.
In 2019 we were lucky enough to meet Frank Elliott's son, Stanley! We invited him aboard to swap stories about the ship's history for this section.
Click pictures to see captions.
In the spring of 1959 Boyd Guild, who'd skippered the ship previously, for the mentioned syndicate Maine Schooner Cruises, purchased the ship, this time "on his own."53 Assisted by his wife, Janet, and a crew of nine, he operated her until 1984 and then sold her to a Duluth, Minnesota banker in 1985. At that time she operated out of the Great Lakes.
Captain Frederick "Boyd" Guild was Master and Captain of the ship for 25 years, from 1959 to 1984.
Click pictures to see captions.
Thomas Monaghan of Domino's Pizza next purchased her
and renamed her Domino Effect
Thomas Monaghan of Domino's Pizza next purchased her, renamed her Domino Effect and offered cruises aboard her as incentives to Domino's employees. "But while many people in Maine remember Domino's Pizza only for having changed the vessel's name, Domino's should be remembered for having saved the vessel's life," wrote Virginia Thorndike in her book on Maine windjammers.54 As has been mentioned, the schooner received an extensive and much-needed refit in 1988.
Thomas Monaghan bought the ship while it was on the Great Lakes. He wanted the ship to be restored in the style in which it was built. Where in the world can you find shipwrights skilled in the ways of traditional wooden shipbuilding? Maine.
The ship was brought back to Sample's Shipyard in Boothbay Maine!
Click pictures to see captions.
Domino Effect returned to Maine in the fall of 1989, and in the spring of 1990 she was purchased by Captains Kip Files and Paul DeGaeta, who renamed her Victory Chimes. In 1991, "the State of Maine honored the Victory Chimes with the special Joint Resolution H.P. 1369 recognizing her as one of the premier vessels in the American Windjammer Fleet. She is the only Maine windjammer to receive this distinction."55 When cruising during Maine summers she carried up to forty passengers and a crew of nine.
The Victory Chimes is no Greyhound, but Captain Files says she is a relatively easy boat to sail.... She makes a lot of leeway going to weather. But in general, she is surprisingly handy . . . She likes a good breeze- 18 or 20 knots is ideal and her size and heft make her an impressive lady underway.56
Through 2022, Victory Chimes was the largest historic vessel sailing in the United States. She owed her survival to hard working owners and crews over her full career as a working vessel. They kept the schooner alive by keeping her in working condition; replacement in kind has been practiced as a matter of course throughout her working life. History-minded passengers shared in the experience of sailing on board one of the last great American windjammers.
There are now some eighteen schooners operating in Maine waters during the summer months. Seven of these have been designated National Historic Landmarks, and like Victory Chimes and a few other historic vessels, are an"adaptive re-use"of a vessel. Some, like the schooner Heritage, built in Rockland in 1983, are a modern version of a traditional type, carrying "the only cargo that loads and unloads itself."52
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