Jon and I hope this finds you all well, learning new skills, practicing kindness in as many moments as you can, and sitting with acceptance of where we all find ourselves. We too are practicing the same, sometimes with grace and sometimes… not.
On April 28th, Governor Mills issued her four-phase plan for reopening the State of Maine. Here are a few links should you wish more detail here and here. The basic gist is that we are not allowed to operate until July 1st and even then with strong restrictions. At this point, although this is still subject to change, even after July 1st, those coming from out-of-state must quarantine for 14 days before they are able to move about the state freely. This effectively negates our season unless the restrictions lift ahead of schedule.
Jon and I had been holding out hope that the circumstances would be different, but that is not to be. As of this notice, we are rebooking all trips through July 18th to either later in the summer or the 2021 season. We are not ready to throw in the towel for the entire season and the governor has repeatedly said should things improve more rapidly, the restrictions will be lifted sooner.
We are so deeply saddened to not be able to celebrate our last season with at least some of you. Again, we are not ready to make a decision about the season after July 18th. Equally distressing is that, as you can imagine, not being able to operate for at least half a season is a huge hit financially to a business that is already a labor of love above profit.
If you are booked with us for the 2020 season, please reach out so that we might have a personal conversation or email with you about your trip. We only have two phone lines and can only have one conversation at a time. When we are talking with you, we want to be fully present with you. We will do our best to connect with you all as quickly as we can.
While the main cabin house is getting it’s makeover, the navigation station is also getting a total renovation. Those of you who have sailed with us for a while will remember Mouse, a long-time crew member who has, over the years, become a skilled carpenter and shipwright. He’s back in school for naval architecture and on the weekends we get his good, smart self in our shop. This beautiful nav. station will grace our cabin house this summer! Capt. will get to look at all summer long as he stands back by the wheel. Here’s some photos of the progress. We’ll post when it’s all on board and installed too.
It started with a discussion about re-caulking the main cabin house. It journeyed past replacing some cabin planks and lots of layers of varnish. It ended with a completely new main cabin house. Just like replacing a stove in a house which turns into entire kitchen renovation. Exactly like that.
Every year we choose a different area of the Riggin upon which to focus. That’s just how owning a schooner built in 1927 goes. This year, the main cabin house got our attention and we had a number of crew members working on the project. Here are some process photos from start to almost finish. And an hilarious short clip of the guys having fun. We aren’t quite to the final coat of paint or the re-installation of the skylight or nav. station but we’ll post those when that happens shortly.
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.
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.
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.
While the weather outside fluctuates between spring and the arctic, inside the barn, all is toasty and warm… and busy! Louis and Chives, long-timeRiggin 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.
Photos by Captain Jon Finger and Elizabeth Poisson
Signs of spring are happening, and by that we mean it’s haulout time, where for a few days the Riggin is pulled out of the water which allows access to the whole hull. This is the time to inspect the hull; wash and paint the bottom; and change the zincs. Routine maintenance is also coupled with tending to anything that needs mending or replacing under the water line while we have access to these spots. The shipyard can be a satisfying time because it really starts to feel as if we truly will be sailing soon. It’s also a time when stories are made – like the year we shoveled snow off the rail way before hauling in mid-April (and that wasn’t this year!). And doing projects late into the night by the light of the truck headlights to get off the railway as quickly as possible.
The Riggin is now back in the water – bottom painted and inspected, hull sanded and partially painted, and a couple of little things taken care of under the water. Now she waits for a couple of coats of paint and her sails to go on so that she can once again sail Penobscot Bay with all of us.
The Timberwind, our other vessel, is in Belfast not Rockland. She came out of the water yesterday in a completely different way. Front Street Shipyard, instead of a railway, uses a large travel lift which picks her up out of the water and transfers her to the yard where she rests with a number of other large vessels. She is supported “on the hard” with jack stands placed strategically all around her hull. You’ll see from the photo that the foremast is un-stepped. We’ll work on the top part of the foremast, an area tough to get to while it’s in place, replace the servings around the shrouds and be ready for the mast to be stepped right after the boat goes back into the water later this week.
When both are back in the water, we’ll be that much closer to sailing with you all!