The wonder of Windjammers

We are getting excted in these parts for the upcoming annual Camden Windjammer Festival, scheduled for Aug 31-Sept 2 this year (Labor Day Weekend- the perfect time to hit the coast).

The festival is the largest single gathering of Maine’s windjammer fleet and related vessels in any harbor in Maine each year. Camden is also where the modern windjamming industry began, with Capt. Frank Swift and Maine Windjammer Cruises in 1936. The Rockland and Rockport based vessels join the celebration, as do many private historic and working boats from up and down the coast, including this year the USS Normandy (a navy guided missile cruiser built in Bath).

Here’s the skinny on this year’s fun:

Camden’s Windjammer Festival celebrates Maine’s Windjammer Fleet in the port where in all began with new events and a weekend brimming with family fun events, music, fireworks, and perhaps even some pillaging and plundering

A large and diverse fleet of windjammers, schooners, historic yachts, and sail boats will let drop their sails and land in Camden Harbor on August 31, 2012 to celebrate the Annual Camden Windjammer festival. Kicking off the 3-day festival that will focus on Maine’s maritime heritage and the coast’s windjammer history, the fleet is expected to be welcomed by thousands who flock to the area for a taste of the seafaring life.

What: Camden Windjammer Festival

Where: Camden Harbor, Maine

When:August 31-Sept 2, 2012

Highlights:A fleet of 20 windjammers and historic schooners sailing into harbor, schooner and windjammer tours, music concerts, fireworks, the Maritime Heritage Fair, Pirate invasion of Camden, lobster crate race, a wonderful wet paint auction, and more! Also new this year, the USS Normandy, a Navy Guided Missile Cruiser built in Bath, ME, will join the fleet in the harbor.

Full Schedule online at

Over the course of the past two decades Camden’s annual windjammer celebration in it’s various forms has become a wildly popular event for tourists as well as locals. The annual Camden Windjammer Festival is a celebration of Midcoast Windjammers and the living traditions of our maritime heritage that make today’s fleet such an integral part of coastal Maine life. Every year on Labor Day weekend, thousands of visitors from across the country and just across town gather along Camden’s wharfs and parks to explore the ships themselves, learn salty crafts and skills, and swap sea stories and songs in talent shows and concerts that appeal to landlubbers and maritime types alike.

This year, Camden is going the extra nautical mile, pulling out all stops with a rich and full schedule of events to celebrate the history of windjammers in Maine with a harbor full of beautiful vessels –including 14 historic rigged vessels still working in a commercial capacity- and more. By contrast, bringing the waterfront well into the 21st century will be the US Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Normandy who will be visiting for the entire weekend. The town is also expecting a record turnout this year as visitors experience a true working waterfront and get a taste of life on the sea.

The Camden Windjammer festival is a celebration sailing and tourism as marked by passenger sailing expeditions that, in Camden, began in the 1930s. Visitors will have the rare chance to explore onboard many of the windjammers, as well as travel back through time to try their hand at land based nautical activities. Sunday will also see the Pirates of the Dark Rose stage their annual attack on Camden, although visitors need not worry about losing any silver or gold. There will also be sailing excursions, historic walks, and skills demonstrations on hand.

The weekend is made possible by the generous support of many local businesses. Lead sponsors are Down East- The Magazine of Maine; The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce; The First; Point Lookout; Courier Publications; Elm Street Printing & Graphics; Maine Veterinary Referral Service; EBS/Sikaflex; Allen Insurance & Financial; and Camden National Bank.

“This festival has so many things to offer all of our visitors from couples who are looking for romance at sea to dog lovers who fancy seeing Rover dressed up as a sailor, to families who want to build and race their own makeshift boats on Camden harbor,” says Dan Bookham, Executive Director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber. “Watching the fleet arrive is an event in itself as all the ships with full sails come into the harbor makes for a spectacular sight.”

Travel and lodging packages are available, for more information visit or call 1-800-223-5459.

About the Camden Windjammer Festival

The Camden Windjammer Festival is a community-led celebration of Camden’s maritime heritage and living traditions. Starting in the 1930s, many of the sleek and hard-wearing vessels found new lives hosting seagoing visitors from around the world for anything from a few hours to several days. Camden’s unbroken association with these beautiful vessels and those who make their living on the sea continues to this day.