Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Riggin at anchor Photo by Mark Flemming

What we are asked most often

Because a trip on a windjammer is so unique, you may not yet understand exactly what it entails.  We have listed questions that come up often, and if you don’t see your question here, LET US KNOW! Someone else probably wants to know the same thing.

“Can I come by myself, or do I have to charter the whole boat?”

Both. You can be a group as small as one and as large as 24. Many folks come by themselves and make long-lasting friendships by the end of the week. Our schooner is also perfect for family reunions, large and small. Our prices are listed per person and we have a group rate for charters.

“How do I get to you?”

There are several ways to get to us including plane, train and automobile. This link will take you to our “How to get to us” page.

“The facilities- two bathrooms and one shower- how does that work for 24 people?”

We know that this ratio seems simply impossible, but IT WORKS! Mostly because things on a boat are a bit different than at home. For starters, the bathrooms are called “heads” and contain only one thing…a toilet. That’s it. This means shaving, face washing, hair-doing and teeth brushing all happen in your cabin which has a sink and mirror. As for the showers, once we leave the dock, we have all the water we will need for everyone to take one shower per day provided no one expects to sing the first act of Madame Butterfly in there. All shower singing is done outside of the shower. Basically, you get in, you get clean, and you get out. Simple, and it works!

“Do I have to know anything about sailing?”

No way! If you want to learn, we (and our crew) are more than happy to teach you.

“Do we get to help sail the boat?”

You can do as much or as little as you like. We encourage everyone to be a part of the team that gets us going in the morning, sails the boat during the day, and helps us anchor at night. We also need plenty of help in the galley, and we encourage everyone to take a turn at the dish basin. You can even take a turn at the wheel if you like, or have Capt. Schaefer teach you to navigate. It’s fun! Everyone has a great time and by the end of the week you’re like old friends.

“What if I have a special diet or am allergic to certain foods?”

We can work around almost any diet restriction or preference however, we cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment. You’ll need to bring any foods or medicine special to your specific circumstance.  Call before you come (or let us know when you book) and we’ll figure it out.

“I have a CPAP machine. Will that be an issue?”

We recognize that traveling with a CPAP might cause some worry because, as much as you crave adventure, breathing comfortably through the night is important. Fret not. You are welcome to bring your CPAP along. Your best option is to bring a cord that plugs directly into your machine and into a 12-volt socket/auxiliary outlet. Lastly, Google “camping with a CPAP” and you will find some good tips, tricks, and suggestions from folks who have found alternative “traveling with a CPAP” solutions.

“Can we go swimming or fishing?”

Yes and Yes! Every week we have people, brave souls, who swim. We won’t lie…IT’S COLD! But it feels great (when you get out). As the summer goes on, the water warms up to a balmy 65 (or so) degrees. You are welcome to bring a fishing pole, we do not supply lures or bait.

“What is the best time to sail with you?”

Our favorite times are either early or late in the season. In May and June, the days are long and the sailing is fabulous. Plus, we are just so excited to be back on the bay again! September and October bring fall colors, crisp, clean air, and the best star-gazing ever! Early and late in the season we also have the advantage of being less hectic. Kids are back in school, fewer people are traveling and the summer cruisers have either not arrived or returned to their home ports.

“Do we get to get off the boat during the week?”

Yes, we anchor every night in a different location, and we always give you an opportunity to walk and explore ashore, either in the morning or the evening. Every harbor is lovely and individual in its own way. What you find ashore changes with each place we go. One time you might find an old historic fishing village or maybe a quiet country walk and a field of wildflowers. Another time might find you shopping in a quaint artist shops or passing the time with a friendly, local Mainer.

“Do we sail all day and night or do we stop?”

We set sail in the morning after breakfast and anchor in a different harbor every night. After the sails are lowered and folded and the deck is tidied, we put the canvas awning up and snuggle down for the night. We have hors d’oeurves, some have cocktails, and then we have dinner while at rest.

“What about drinks (wine, beer, liquor, and more)?”

Alcohol is only provided on Sip & Sail Cruises.

There is no alcohol on other cruises at this time; however, you are welcome to bring your own. The same is true for soft drinks, fruit juice, or bottled water if that is your preference. All of these can be purchased in Rockland in the morning before we sail and can be stowed in our icebox. We provide coffee – both regular and decaf – tea, hot chocolate, and water. Ice and an ice chest are available on deck.

“Where do we go during the week?”

We don’t have a set itinerary, we truly don’t. Our gorgeous sailing grounds are between Boothbay to the South West and Bar Harbor to the East. We visit places like Brooklin, Islesboro, Castine, Stonington, Bucks Harbor and Vinalhaven. Because we don’t have an engine, we are a true ‘sailing’ vessel. We sail just like they did 100 years ago and 100 years before that. Don’t worry though; we have a sturdy yawl boat (or push –motor- boat) to help us if the wind dies. There are so many beautiful places to choose from that we let the wind and tide take us to our next destination.

“How big are the bunks?”

74” x 24”

“What if I am claustrophobic, can I do this kind of trip?”

Well, the only one who can really answer this is you, but we can give you the information that you need to make your decision. The bulk of your time will NOT be spent in your cabin. You will be outside in the fresh air and open space. Most people clean up, change their clothes and sleep in their cabins. That’s it. Now you do need to know that there is no wasted space in the cabins and they are definitely “cozy,” i.e. this is not a space in which you can do aerobics.  You may actually see some folks doing yoga or stretches on deck.

“Do you have an age limit?”

Our age minimum is 12 years old, but we do make the occasional exception. On our “Kids and Family” trips the age minimum is 6 years old.

“What kind of wildlife will we see?”

The coast of Maine is home to a wealth of animals, birds, and aquatic life. The most recognizable being puffins, moose, whales, and lobster. While we don’t tend to see puffins (as they stick closer to two islands outside of our sailing grounds) we do see harbor seals, porpoise, sharks, eagles, osprey, and a wide range of sea birds among the islands, bays, and inlets along the coast. Whales tend to be seen in the mid to late summer months, the most common in our area are the finback, minke, and pilot whales. It is wonderful to see the whale population making a comeback in Maine just as bald eagles did

“Can I smoke or use recreational and/or illegal drugs?”

We are a completely smoke- and vape-free vessel for the duration of all trips while aboard.  This includes tobacco, herbal products, and/or federally illegal substances. Federal law dictates that the use of any illegal substances is strictly prohibited. (No matter what the state law says, we operate under federal law.)

“What if there is inclement weather?”

Your guess on the weather is as good as ours! The best we can do is to provide you with a packing list, included in your confirmation. Follow our list and you’ll be warm, dry, and comfortable no matter the weather. We generally sail rain or shine, but we will stay in port rather than endure rough seas. Please understand that our policy is as follows: in the unlikely event that your trip is delayed or shortened due to prolonged severe weather we do not issue refunds for time spent in port.

“What about other natural disasters or a pandemic?”

Please understand that we are a micro-small business and should the unlikely situation of a natural disaster or pandemic occur, we are unable to issue a refund.  This is why we strongly recommend trip insurance.

“What should I bring for seasickness?”

Very rarely is seasickness a problem because of the easy motion and steadiness of the vessel and the protected waters that we cruise. Seasickness would be bad for our business, so we’ll do everything possible to avoid those sorts of situations.  If you are concerned, bringing a natural remedy such as tea, ginger, saltines, olives (yes, really), or an over-the-counter remedy is typically enough.

“Do we dress for dinner?”

Absolutely not – life aboard the J. & E. Riggin is relaxed, informal, and casual. You will be spending most of your time in jeans, shorts, or bathing suits. When you are packing, remember to bring old, comfortable clothing. You will find that fashion is unimportant on a windjammer.

“What should I pack?”

  •         Sneakers, deck shoes or soft soled shoes (2 pairs)
  •         Wool socks (2 pairs – for June and September sailing)
  •         Slacks, jeans, or sweatpants (elastic waists are really comfortable)
  •         Shorts and shirts (both long- and short-sleeved)
  •         Long underwear (for June and September sailing)
  •         A heavy sweater or two
  •         Windbreaker
  •         Bathing suit and an extra towel for swimming
  •         Hat and sunglasses
  •         Sunscreen and bug repellant
  •         Waterproof rain gear- a jacket and pants (Pants are as important as jackets.  No rain ponchos please. They are hazardous and next to useless.)
  •         Flashlight or headlamp for the evenings (the sun sets early in the fall)
  •         Binoculars, camera (batteries and memory card), sketch pad, craft projects
  •         Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

Optional: A reusable water bottle, a USB style charger for your cell phone, wet wipes, and/or lip balm.


Sometimes! Some years the crew has musicians, and some years we don’t. If you want to be certain music will be part of your cruise, you should check out one of our music cruises. Of course, you are always welcome to bring your voice and/or instruments along (except pianos and things that plug in) and join in!

“What time can I board?”

You are welcome to board between 5 and 6 p.m. on the evening before we sail and to sleep on board that night. We have a “Captain’s Call” at 6 p.m., when we will orient you to the boat. Please let us know if you plan to arrive after 6 p.m. that evening. We will get you back to the dock between 10 and 11 a.m. the day we return.

“Is parking available?”

Yes. There is a parking fee of $20 per vehicle for the duration of your trip.


In the event of an EMERGENCY, if someone needs to reach you while you are sailing, they can call 1-800-869-0604 and their message will be relayed to you.

“Are there additional costs?”

Nope. None. Tax is even included in the listed price. That’s not to say you shouldn’t bring spending money for anything you find you NEED in the Riggin Chandlery (ship’s store).


Sailing on the Riggin would not be possible if not for the dedication and efforts of our crew. A 5 to 10% gratuity (of the total cost of your trip) is customary and would be greatly appreciated.

“What is your Cancellation Policy?”

Due to our small size, cancellations or rescheduling of dates affect us significantly. We limit the number of guests to a maximum 24 passengers each trip to keep our guests’ experience personal and customized. As a small, family-owned and operated business, this means that every booking is important to ensure an exclusive, authentic experience and excellent service.

All cancellations made 8 weeks before your arrival are eligible for a refund less a $150 per person cancellation fee. For cancellations made on or inside 8 weeks before your boarding date any and all payments are non-refundable unless we are able to rebook the entire space. If we are able to fill the entire space, any payments will be refunded less a $150 per person cancellation fee. If your space is not completely filled, any payments are forfeited.

If you need to change your trip date and do so before your final payment is made 6 weeks before sailing, any payments made can be applied to a future visit. If the date change happens on or inside of 6 weeks there is a $150 per person change fee.

In the case of a natural disaster or pandemic, please understand that we are a micro-small business and we are unable to issue refund if you cancel your trip with us.   

“Is travel insurance recommended? Is that something you offer?”

Because the Schooner J. & E. Riggin serves a limited number of guests, we strongly suggest that you purchase trip cancellation insurance. If you choose not to purchase trip insurance and an unforeseen event keeps you from being able to travel to Schooner J. & E. Riggin, we will be unable to refund your deposit and/or paid balance as set forth in our cancellation policy. We do not offer insurance directly but do recommend Allianz Travel Insurance. Their toll-free number is 1-866-884-3556  or visit Of course you may use any travel insurance company you prefer. 


Helpful Links


Heard on the Docks…

“…we will sail again on the Riggin. I can’t stop talking about: the schooner, the food, the people especially the kids, the Captain and family, the crew, the sea creatures, the bald eagles, the cramped room which makes me laugh, the food again, the scenery, the mosquitoes, and the food, etc etc.”

~ Faye H., Pennsylvania

Beached Photo by Ben Krebs

Lobster Bake Photo by Shannon Shipman

Breakfast Photo by Douglas Merriam

Sailing across Penobscot Bay Photo by Ben Krebs

Seaweed Steamed Lobster Photo by Shannon Shipman

Furling Photo by Douglas Merriam