Photo courtesy of Sean Sheppard
Schooner American Eagle:
Autumn Sailing at its finest
These last months of sailing brought with it many things: a trophy, some incredible breeze, a tropical storm or two and as always so many delightful guests to share it all with. The cover shot above was from a superb day in early September. With a single reef in the main and a steady 25 knots of NW gusting to 35! We rocketed around Penobscot Bay surging up over 10 knots often. The Eagle did what she does so well, putting her shoulder down and speeding along with the foam crashing under her bow and boiling along behind in her wake.

Now as the weather gets cooler, the hustle and bustle of sailing behind us, the schooner all covered and everything neatly stowed away. There's a chance to reflect on such a memorable season and dream about the next one in store. Here are a few highlights of the last couple months.
Homeward bound, A Gloucester Trophy in so many ways
~"Readin' both Pages" heading into Gloucester harbor in a light afternoon Southwesterly~
The start of September began with a trip home for the schooner and myself for the Gloucester Schooner Festival. An event I have attended since I was very little and was finally returning to at the helm of an original Gloucester fisherman. After an incredible journey down across Jefferys Ledge, seeing Tuna, Dolphins, Sunfish and Whales playing in the swells. We anchored in the late evening out on the pancake ground of the outer harbor, just as late returning fishing schooners would do coming home with a full trip. We moved into our dockside slip the following day with all the other visiting vessels.

Race day dawned bright and beautiful, and after leaving the dock and setting sail we joined the parade, bowing and curtsying to all the other schooners and crowds of spectators along the boulevard. Smaller vessels whirred around us as we drifted our way out past the breakwater to the start line joining the other participants large and small all jockeying for the best position.
The starting signal was finally called over the radio, timing our tack nicely we filled away and crossed the line as far to weather as we could to get the best advantage. And we were off! The breeze was light but steady and the Eagle nosed her way into the long swell like she had done rounding Eastern Point for so many generations.
In the middle of the pack we pressed onwards passing a few other smaller schooners in the freshening breeze, then all of a sudden after a confused call from the mark boat to the race committee boat we found out they had given us the wrong coordinates for the floating mark we were all trying to head for! OOPS!
~ Narwhal and When & If fighting for the overall lead ~
After this bit of a development the race had to be recalled and restarted which in turn created quite the situation. Since all the racing vessels had been so bunched up in a tight pack it led to a very narrow and exciting boat to boat start with us right in the middle with 123 feet of fishing schooner! Tacking alongside another large schooner and avoiding another smaller schooner as she jiibed in front of us jockeying for the line as we all swept across it as the breeze freshened further was exhilarating.
After rounding the marks three times for a total of 2 laps of the course, and the crew and some of the guests scampered around tending the sheets and kept a close eye on the breeze. We passed, blanketed and squeezed our way to weather of our competitors crossing the finish line first in our class. The cheers rose up on deck for our wonderful schooner and for everyone aboard.

After a few long tacks we made our way back to the festival dock in harbor cove backing in across from the schooner Columbia for the night. Dinner that night was graciously hosted for all our entire ships company by Maritime Gloucester right between the Schooners Adventure & Ardelle and next to the Burnham Packard Railway (where the Eagle hauled out often when she was still fishing out of Gloucester). After dinner all the Captains lined up on stage for the awards where we were presented with the original Esperanto Cup for winning our class.
Named after the schooner who won it first from the Canadians in 1920. The Esperanto Cup kickstarted a competition between Canada and the US that lasted for more than a decade, capturing the imagination of the public and widely covered by the national press. Meant to be a race series between fisherman to show just what their own vessels could do, it inspired a massive effort and investment in building multiple large racing schooners. All built to fish and compete each year against the Canadian challenger (most notably the Schooner Bluenose). It was a special moment to hold such a unique piece of maritime history and we were given a beautiful silver platter to take home with us (the cup stays in the museum).

We happily hoisted our galley broom to the fore truck (as was always done) and headed for our other home the next morning, stopping in Portland & Boothbay along the way.
A wide variety of beautiful vessels participated.
Photos courtesy of Caroline Ridout
Our next trip was heading up to the last Windjammer Association Fleet event of the season the WoodenBoat Sail-In which was such a great time as always. Seeing our fleet vessels come the fog (ahh fall in Maine) at the home of WoodenBoat Magazine in Brooklin for the afternoon was quite the sight. We all had a wonderful time sipping hot cider and dancing to live music in the cool mist of the evening.
There are so many ways to preserve your experiences with us.
Photo courtesy of Carol L. Douglas
Our autumn watercolor workshop came next, with Carol Douglas hosting the trip once again. Teaching both experienced painters and newcomers alike, Carol helped students to hone their skills, and the artwork that emerged as a result was delightful. Our guests also had the pleasure of seeing our second whale of the season– this time a fin whale– reminding us again of the ecosystems and natural beauty that are always just under the surface throughout coastal Maine.
With the start of October, the iconic fall colors of New England began to emerge amongst the evergreens. During our final trips, we managed to cruise under the Deer Isle Bridge twice, sail amongst and anchor in beautifully scenic surroundings throughout Penobscot Bay and Blue Hill Bay, and have some delicious lunchtime lobster bakes on secluded islands. The reds, oranges, yellows and rich greens ashore made for a visual feast while enjoying the edible ones aboard. The weather too provided a healthy mix of warm and dry or cool and drizzly skies. Between light and strong breezes, we made the most out of the lower temperatures with the main cabin stove and radiators, enjoying all of the coziness our below-deck spaces have to offer. 
Our last morning of sailing brought us into Rockland harbor with blue skies, a quiet breeze, and the memories of a wonderful season. We’re filled with so much gratitude to all of our guests and crew, both new and returning.
It’s because of you and your love of sailing the Maine coast that we are able to continue sharing the traditions of this National Historic Landmark and the beauty of our sailing grounds. We look forward to seeing you again in the season to come!
Our 2023 schedule is ready for you to plan your next adventure. 
Give us a call at 207-594-8007 
Or you can book online below.
Crew News...
Even though our sailing days are through for the year, we still have downrig work that needs to be done, and we had a great crew to do it!
Look who it is!...
Fiona Rhodes joined us after our return from Gloucester, and during her time aboard, she has shown herself to be an invaluable member of the team with her vast maritime knowledge and wealth of skills. Originally from Seattle, she has worked aboard several vessels, including the Argo, the Seaward, and the Timberwind, before coming aboard the American Eagle. We were very fortunate to have had her join us for our last months of sailing, and we hope to see her aboard again in the future!
~ The Sunglasses Brigade ~
Asher will be staying with us through December, utilizing his many skills on a number of winter projects throughout the schooner and shipyard.
After spending some well-deserved time with her family and friends over the upcoming holidays, Merry will be off to Patagonia for more amazing adventures before she's off to college!
Always up for a new adventure, Kevin will be enjoying his next months on several road-tripping excursions before he heads home for the holidays as well.
Offcuts and tailings through the lens...
We had fantastic weather throughout the entire season.
Lobster rarely makes just one appearance on each trip!
These bacon and lobster lettuce wraps were a delicious appetizer.
"Take in on 1!"
"Is this the bridge we fit under??"
There is never too much cheese.......
A hot beverage is good company in the latter months of sailing.
The sunset's glow reminds us of the magic that our home afloat brings.

We have lots of winter projects planned and the varnish is even beginning to fly around to get a head start on outfitting, so stay tuned.

There's always next summer,youT