After anchoring near an undisturbed island in the early afternoon, the yawl boat (our launch and tugboat) ferries us ashore and we hop across granite rocks to the beach. Everyone wanders off in different directions – exploring inland for blueberries, combing the shore for beach glass, or taking a refreshing swim from the water’s edge. One of the highlights of the week for many of you on our windjammer is a traditional Maine lobster bake – a feature of all our trips. It’s an all-you-can-eat feast with all the fixin’s. Seven lobsters eaten by one person in one sitting is our record, although we wouldn’t recommend it (she seemed pretty uncomfortable afterward!).
The crew has already rowed ashore to the island with everything we need for our feast and we all work to put the meal together for you. A fire is lit, corn is shucked, and various goodies are put out to tide us over until the lobster is ready. Once the fire is really going, the lobster pot – a huge galvanized tub – is filled with 2 to 3 inches of salt water and set on the fire to boil. While we wait for the water to come to a boil, several armloads of seaweed are gathered (being careful to leave some seaweed at each spot so that more can grow back in its place). Once the water is boiling we layer the lobsters, corn, mussels, and clams in the pot, cover it with a “lid” of seaweed, wait for it to come to a boil, and rotate the pot (for even cooking on the fire). When the water comes to second boil we’ll pull some of the seaweed aside and check to see that the lobsters are red all over. When the lobsters are done, the tub is carried away from the fire, the seaweed is arranged on a flat rock, and everything is placed on the seaweed bed – ready to eat!
While we are on an island for our lobster bake, we operate under a Leave No Trace policy. Whatever we take onto the island, we take off. Often we leave with more than we came with, as picking up litter while exploring an island is our contribution to leaving an island better than we found it. Our fires are built below the high tide line in a fire pan to protect the beach rocks from any scarring or cracking; five minutes after we’ve left an island, you can’t tell we’ve been there.
We feast on lobster, mussels, clams, corn on the cob, potatoes and more, all while sitting on a granite-studded island and taking in the pristine and wide-lens vista of the Maine coast. It’s a moment of magic to be sure.
Once everyone has had their fill of lobster, the watermelon is sliced and the makings for S’mores are laid out. There’s always a lively discussion over how to make the best S’more and the proper way to roast a marshmallow. Eventually, the magic must transition back to the schooner and as the sun sinks lower in the sky, we make our way across the water to our home on the ocean leaving only our footprints in the sand as evidence that we were ever on the island at all.
For those of you who don’t live in Maine or New England, this in print issue of Yankee Magazine might be hard to come by, but if you can get your hands on a copy, do it! Amy Traverso, accomplished writer, has given the Riggin wonderful kudos and Mark Flemming, photographer extraordinaire, adds a lovely balance to her words.
Recipes included in the article are Pecan Sticky Buns, Cornish Game Hens with Smoked Shrimp and Brandy Stuffing, Zucchini Gratin, and Lime Pie Jars. You can also find these recipes in At Home. At Sea – The Red Book, 2nd Edition.
This is one of the best articles we’ve seen on our sweet girl and you should check it out. #boatmagic!
Photo by Mark Flemming
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.
But before that there are shenanigans.
And Forth of July.
And our traditional lobster bake on an uninhabited island.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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)
Photo by Captain Jon Finger
Winter finally arrived with gusto this month, heralded by snow and record low temperatures. While it may be the down season that doesn’t mean it’s down time for us. When the forecast calls for snow and high winds, some of us head to the store for the “bread and milk”, while Captain Jon heads to the schooners (the Riggin
and the Timberwind
) to check on lines and bubblers (so the ice doesn’t freeze to the hull).
We are happy to have Erin back from her cross country adventure with Chives (who is back home in Texas) to help out in the barn this winter. Lots of smaller projects to be done before we go sailing just six months from now.
And Captain Jon is getting ready to start projects on the boat now that the holidays are over. His trusty woodstove is in place to give a bit of extra warmth.