The tradition of raising flags at 8:00am and lowering them at sunset dates all the way back to the late 1700s in the British Royal Navy. It is still practiced by today’s navy, as well as many merchant and private vessels around the world. The Schooner J. & E. Riggin is no exception.
We fly an ensign, which in our case as a U.S.-flagged vessel, is the American flag. This is flown off of the peak of our mainsail when it is set, or off of the back of the main boom when the sail is down. It is used to communicate to other vessels where our vessel is registered. It is the first flag up each day, and the last one down.
The name pennant is flown from the top of the mainmast to give everyone who sees us the ability to read our name clearly.
The house flag is flown at the top of our foremast this is intended to communicate something about the ownership, but until we have a house flag designed, we have decided to use the classic State of Maine Dirigo flag.
The final flag you can expect to see aboard the Riggin is the “R” or Romeo flag and the First Repeater. We use this combination on the main spreader to communicate the presence of a Riggin Relic aboard a cruise.
This week we saw the first of many raising of the ship’s colors for the 2021 season. Though historically greeted with the call of a bugle, ours was greeted with excitement and cheers from the crew.
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
Photo by Captain Jon Finger
Come play outside with us!
In honor of all of all the times our moms said, “Go outside and play!”, we offer you this Mother’s Day weekend special so that you can do just that – go outside and play – with us!
Book on either the June 8 to 11th or July 2 to 7th trip and receive 25% off, plus a bouquet of flowers from Annie’s garden to great you when you arrive.
Also – to all you knitters out there – our knitting trips are so successful, we’ve added another with the fantastic Mim Bird, August 24 to 27. Maybe come with your mom? A friend who is a mom? Spouses are welcome too – even if they aren’t mom’s.
Come breathe the fresh Maine air! We’ll love to have you.
**Offer expires Monday, May 14, 2018