Why Adults Need Wilderness and Adventure More Than Ever

While this article is about kids and the benefits of being outside for our kids, we would suggest that adults need the outdoors, exercise, and adventure just as much, if not more.  After all, a good life is about balance.  If the bulk of our days are spent inside and on a computer, then the balance to that is to get outside and breathe unfiltered, fresh air in wide-open spaces surrounded by the the sounds, sights, and smells of nature.  Unplugged from our phones and completely plugged in to our natural world.   Might we suggest that the Riggin is the perfect place for this outside adventure?

Why Kids Need Wilderness and Adventure More Than Ever

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse photo: Ben Krebs



Cabin Refresh

Details in the galley.  Details on deck.  Details in the cabins.  Some years we’ve got big projects which cause the little projects to be relegated to the bottom of the usually long list.  We’ve had a couple of those winters in a row, so things like peapod repair, settee cushions, and new navigation stations have taken a back seat to the big stuff that most people don’t see, but is part of being good stewards of a National Historic Landmark.  These would be things like planking and framing, iron work, rig replacement, new sails, etc.  When these big projects are part of our budget in a year, they matter.  It just means that the other (usually more visible things) need to take their turn and wait a little longer.  This is the year of details.  

Among the many details being tended to over the course of this winter are the cabins.  The little details in the cabins which make your home for a week (or 4-days) nicer, a little more special.  This year all of the cabins are getting a going over – new paint, new varnish… new sink skirts.  

In cabins 1 to 4, these beautiful skirts hide the plumbing to the sinks and add to the charm of the cabins.  This beautiful craftsmanship was done by Tyler King with an assist by Chloe Finger.

wooden boat maintenance, wooden boats, taking care of a wooden boat, carpentry, craftsmanship, old-fashioned wood working, maine windjammer

wooden boat maintenance, wooden boats, taking care of a wooden boat, carpentry, craftsmanship, old-fashioned wood working, maine windjammer

wooden boat maintenance, wooden boats, taking care of a wooden boat, carpentry, craftsmanship, old-fashioned wood working, maine windjammer

wooden boat maintenance, wooden boats, taking care of a wooden boat, carpentry, craftsmanship, old-fashioned wood working, maine windjammer


Photos by Tyler King

Sew Fun – SO Fun

While the barn is abuzz with activity and woodworking, there are other folks who are also engaged and actively planning for another fantastic summer on the water with the Riggin.  E (Elizabeth) is taking reservations at a rapid pace.  And Annie is, among other things, sewing.  Curtains, settee cushions, deck cushions, engine box covers, and so on.  The list of projects is getting longer by the day!

What began as a “simple” slipcover for the house turned into the list above, which keeps getting additions by the second as Annie gets more comfortable with the work.  Annie is lucky enough to have a friend with several industrial sewing machines and she’s always offered to teach Annie how to use them.   This is that winter.  When Annie isn’t on a horse, or cooking in the kitchen, she can these days be found behind the needle of a sewing machine.  

And a powerful one at that.  These machines are not your grandmother’s Singer, although they are just as dependable.  They are finger-eating, strong-engined machines for which Annie has found some serious respect.  They can sew through canvas, sail material, or 4 layers of upholstery material without straining.   Magic and terror all wrapped up in one tidy package.  

Here is a link to Annie on one of the machines and some photos of a few of the many projects in progress or completed.

marine canvas sewing project
The engine box cover for the yawl boat got a little extra padding to protect that nice paint and varnish.


marine canvas sewing project
A look on the underside of the engine box cover. Turns out yoga mats have more than one use! Yes, that’s a yoga mat.


sewing deck cushions for a boat
The deck cushions need a little love. The fabric is wonderful and held up nicely, but the foam is substandard. We are replacing the foam so everyone’s bum has a cushy landing.


Photos by Captain Annie Mahle

Crafting and DIY Trips

Cast on and sail away? Get hooked at sea? Sail and stitch?

We’ve got four of them.  Each one is different.  Each one is pure fun.  They are our knitting cruises and our slow sewing trip.  While we didn’t set out to create a niche in the crafting cruise department, they are among our most popular trips and for good reason.  PLUS, if you are a non-knitter, no worries, you are just guaranteed to be around a hilarious, joyous group of fantastic people who happen to be doing things with sticks and yarn and fabric and thread.  Men and spouses are totally welcome (Capt. Jon says, please!).

It’s hard to believe that this is our 15th consecutive year of Maine Knitting Cruises. All our instructors are as happy as we are to have them return for another year on the Riggin.

knitting retreat, sewing retreat, quilting retreat, rug hooking retreat, crafting cruise, creative travel, maine windjammer, slow sewing, knitting travel

This year, with Mim Bird, you will learn where silk originates, how it’s made into a knittable product, and knit with a hand-dyed silk mawata. With Bill Huntington, you’ll learn the history and uses of gansey and then put into practice that same style in smaller projects like hats, mittens, and of course sweaters too. Margaret Radcliffe will have you playing with different types of fiber, learning how they behave, and how to make the best of them in your knitting. Find your Maine Knitting Cruise here.

If you are looking for more of a packaged trip, give Mary Penxa with Sawmill Creek Fiber Events a call as she has two knitting trips with the fabulous Casapinka leading her trips. Begin your Sawmill Creek Fiber adventure here.

Rhea Butler will guide you on the English Paper Piecing, fussy cutting and, Lucy Boston methods. Learn this popular quilting technique and see how addicting it is! This style of sewing is perfect for the novice, the experienced, and those in between. Start your Maine Slow Sewing/Quilting trip here.

Back for a second year is 207 Creatives with a rug hooking trip. Did you know that rug hooking as it’s known today was developed along our own Eastern Seaboard? Join this rug hooking/fiber art class by accomplished fiber artist, author, and hooker, Susan L. Feller of Artwools. You’ll be using modern linen foundation (instead of burlap) and a variety of materials, including 100% wool. Are you ready to “Get Hooked at Sea”? Book your Maine Rug Hooking cruise here.

Join us on any, or all, of these fun and creative 
Knitting with Mim, Bill, or Maggie
Knitting with Sawmill Creek Fiber Events
Rug Hooking with 207 Creatives
Slow Sewing/Quilting with Rhea Butler

Peapod Gets Some Love

The barn is abuzz with winter projects.  While Louis and Chives prep and sand and scrape and fill, Capt. is  busy repairing the peapod.   A couple of summers ago she received some structural damage to her mid-section and while she has held up fairly well under the strain, it was time to address her needs.  

We carry this sweet little row boat on our davits and lower her all summer long for those who want to do a little harbor exploring or catch a bit of exercise to work off Annie’s meals, so she’s pretty important to our summer operations.  In addition, she’s a  Jimmy Steele design, one of the many built by the famous boat builder.  We are lucky to have such a special little vessel and we are happy to be taking good care of her.  

Here’s a little photo journal of the work and care she’s receiving.

wooden boat maintenance
Sistering a couple of frames and shoring up some planking



wooden boat maintenance
Hey, is that the home stove? And the teapot? Capt. is using both to steam a couple of frames.


wooden boat maintenance
Don’t steam the cookbooks! Ahhhh!


wooden boat maintenance
Gluing and clamping everything together


wooden boat maintenance
Now we wait


wooden boat maintenance
The final product – strong and beautiful


wooden boat maintenance
And then we add some pretty hardware so she can take us on many more rows this summer.


Photos by Captain Jon Finger

Wooden Boats – Winter Projects

While the weather outside fluctuates between spring and the arctic, inside the barn, all is toasty and warm… and busy!  Louis and Chives, long-time Riggin crew, are both ‘on deck’ so to speak and in the barn full-time.  Right now, much of their work is about making dust as they sand and scrape all of the surfaces in preparation for their shiny coats.

wooden boat maintenance
These two goons working away on the barrels – scrape, scrape, scrape


wooden boat maintenance
Oars and Captains wheel – gonna be shiny soon!


wooden boat maintenance
Hatch covers sanded and ready for the final varnish and paint coats


marine engine work
The yawl boat engine removed and transmission ready for a rebuild and reinstall


wooden boat maintenance
Spars for Iolaire getting touch ups and undercoats before the final coat goes on


Photos by Captain Jon Finger and Elizabeth Poisson

Maine Windjammer Race Week – Such a Special Time

Its true that we love every trip on the Riggin, but there’s just something extra magical about Race Week.  The majesty of our Maine windjammer fleet sailing in company with all the canvas and flags flying and looking spectacular is unrivaled.  Coming together to share a day of friendly racing can only be seen in our very own Penobscot Bay from some sort of boat.  Best, of course, experienced from the Riggin, this 6-day trip culminates in race day, when the games truly begin.

maine windjammer race week

But before that there are shenanigans.   

maine windjammer race week

And Forth of July. 

maine windjammer race week

And our traditional lobster bake on an uninhabited island. 

maine windjammer race week

And time for simply relaxing in the sun while the crew hones their craft of sail so that we can be in the running for the win!  

maine windjammer race week

The fleet gathers, usually in beautiful and spacious Gilkey’s Harbor, off Islesboro.  The first order of business after our usual feast of appetizers, dinner, and dessert is the crew small boat races.  Only open to crew and guests of the vessels (no captains allowed) the flotilla of small boats are either sailed, rowed, or paddled around the anchored fleet with prizes for the most creative costumes and the fastest time around the course.  Our gang routinely gets into the spirit of things and as you can see below, dresses for the occasion.  As the races come to an end, we are always treated to the most amazing sunset from this vantage point.  

maine windjammer race week

maine windjammer race week

As race day dawns and the sun begins to kiss the cabin houses of our historic vessels, the captains rise and gather for coffee and some shop talk.  There they decide what the race course is for the day based on the weather conditions.  One by one, the vessels raise anchor and head to the starting line which is an invisible line from a buoy to a point of land.   The boats are split into classes based on their size and speed and one by one, the slowest to the fastest classes are given their 5 minute warning cannon and then their start cannon and the races begin!  

maine windjammer race week

How everyone does is based on the wind and tide, their specific vessels, and how the captains accommodate for both.  Winning take both luck and skill and we’ve had our share of both over the years.  For the Riggin, who doesn’t have topsails, the best weather conditions are 18 to 20 knots where the advantage of that extra sail area begins to become a disadvantage.   Last year we were proud to come in second in both our class and the fleet over all.  Quite an accomplishment and with the most exciting finish we can remember in years.  

At the end of the day, the whole fleet gathers on shore for music, awards, and a little bite of something sweet.  When we all head back to our respective schooners, it’s with joy and satisfaction for a day well done. 

maine windjammer race week

maine windjammer race week

We hope this year’s race brings all this and more!  Let’s see if we can rival last year’s Maine windjammer race, it was one for the captain’s log for sure.

Photos by Susan Land (guest extraordinaire and long time Riggin Relic)