Schooner Mary Day sports all-female crew

Posted May 31, 2013, at 5:49 a.m.
Veteran deckhand Jenny Baxter, 24, waits for the signal to start lowering a sailing on the schooner Mary Day, off the coast of Rockport, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Veteran deckhand Jenny Baxter, 24, waits for the signal to start lowering a sailing on the schooner Mary Day, off the coast of Rockport, Maine. Buy Photo
Capt. Barry King schooner Mary Day talks with his deckhands while sailing in the rain off Camden, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Capt. Barry King schooner Mary Day talks with his deckhands while sailing in the rain off Camden, Maine. Buy Photo
Wendi Liebl, 24, of East Hampton, Mass., flakes the anchor chain, one of the many physically demanding tasks performed by the crew of the schooner Mary Day on a recent trip on Penobscot Bay.
Robert F. Bukaty
Wendi Liebl, 24, of East Hampton, Mass., flakes the anchor chain, one of the many physically demanding tasks performed by the crew of the schooner Mary Day on a recent trip on Penobscot Bay. Buy Photo
First mate Rebecca Johnson, 22, of Freeville, N.Y., awaits an order from the captain to trim the sails on a rainy afternoon off the coast of Camden, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
First mate Rebecca Johnson, 22, of Freeville, N.Y., awaits an order from the captain to trim the sails on a rainy afternoon off the coast of Camden, Maine. Buy Photo
Veteran deckhand Jenny Baxter (right), 24, and mess mate Phoebe Walsh, 18, lead group hoisting a sail on the schooner Mary Day, off the coast of Camden, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Veteran deckhand Jenny Baxter (right), 24, and mess mate Phoebe Walsh, 18, lead group hoisting a sail on the schooner Mary Day, off the coast of Camden, Maine. Buy Photo
First mate Rebecca Johnson stands on a spar to lead a group taking down the foresail on the Mary Day.
Robert F. Bukaty
First mate Rebecca Johnson stands on a spar to lead a group taking down the foresail on the Mary Day. Buy Photo
First mate Rebecca Johnson shuttles passengers to shore from the Mary Day's evening anchorage off Isle Au Haut, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
First mate Rebecca Johnson shuttles passengers to shore from the Mary Day's evening anchorage off Isle Au Haut, Maine. Buy Photo
Cook Dani Hammond, of Peoria, Ill., prepares her shopping list after filling in the calendar's with each day's meals for an upcoming 5-day cruise. She uses a wood stove to prepare everything from blueberry pancakes to honey-ginger chicken.
Robert F. Bukaty
Cook Dani Hammond, of Peoria, Ill., prepares her shopping list after filling in the calendar's with each day's meals for an upcoming 5-day cruise. She uses a wood stove to prepare everything from blueberry pancakes to honey-ginger chicken. Buy Photo
Chowder, cookies and fresh-baked bread are prepared simultaneously in the ship's tiny kitchen area. No one ever goes hungry aboard the Mary Day.
Robert F. Bukaty
Chowder, cookies and fresh-baked bread are prepared simultaneously in the ship's tiny kitchen area. No one ever goes hungry aboard the Mary Day. Buy Photo
Mess mate Phoebe Walsh, 18, of Yarmouth, Maine, dressed as a Roman, delivers the lunch menu with a Shakespearean flair. The makeshift costume was inspired by menu that included a Caesar salad.
Robert F. Bukaty
Mess mate Phoebe Walsh, 18, of Yarmouth, Maine, dressed as a Roman, delivers the lunch menu with a Shakespearean flair. The makeshift costume was inspired by menu that included a Caesar salad. Buy Photo
Phoebe Walsh, Wendi Liebl, and Jenny Baxter prepare steamed lobster for the passengers of the Mary Day off Isle Au Haut, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Phoebe Walsh, Wendi Liebl, and Jenny Baxter prepare steamed lobster for the passengers of the Mary Day off Isle Au Haut, Maine. Buy Photo
Mess mate Phoebe Walsh, 18, of Yarmouth, Maine, hands out vegetarian shish kebab to passengers as an appetizer before the evening's lobster bake off isle Au Haut, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Mess mate Phoebe Walsh, 18, of Yarmouth, Maine, hands out vegetarian shish kebab to passengers as an appetizer before the evening's lobster bake off isle Au Haut, Maine. Buy Photo
Deckhand Jenny Baxter climbs aloft, 70 feet above the water, to work on the topsail of the schooner Mary Day off Rockland, Maine. Heights are no big deal for Baxter, who is a winter caretaker of a cabin at 4,400 feet above sea level in New Hampshire's White Mountains.
Robert F. Bukaty
Deckhand Jenny Baxter climbs aloft, 70 feet above the water, to work on the topsail of the schooner Mary Day off Rockland, Maine. Heights are no big deal for Baxter, who is a winter caretaker of a cabin at 4,400 feet above sea level in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Buy Photo
A weekend of rainy weather begins to clear up as a rainbow touches down over Mark Island in Penobscot Bay, as viewed from the schooner Mary Day off Rockland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
A weekend of rainy weather begins to clear up as a rainbow touches down over Mark Island in Penobscot Bay, as viewed from the schooner Mary Day off Rockland, Maine. Buy Photo
Deckhand Wendi Liebl lashes down a sail after the Mary Day dropped anchor for the night off Rockland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Deckhand Wendi Liebl lashes down a sail after the Mary Day dropped anchor for the night off Rockland, Maine. Buy Photo
Deckhand Wendi Liebl lights kerosene lamps she'll hang around the deck of the schooner Mary Day while anchoring for the night off Rockland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Deckhand Wendi Liebl lights kerosene lamps she'll hang around the deck of the schooner Mary Day while anchoring for the night off Rockland, Maine. Buy Photo

ON PENOBSCOT BAY, Maine — Wendi Liebl always dreamed about living on a sailboat, but after two long days of hoisting sails and stacking heavy anchor chain in spats of foul weather, she admitted it could be tough.

“I kept thinking, I wanted to work outside, closer to nature,” she said. “I had to remind myself that’s what I’m here for.”

Leibl, 24, of East Hampton, Mass., is one of five members of an all-female crew spending the summer working on the schooner Mary Day, one of Maine’s historic windjammers.

Their workday begins at dawn, swabbing the decks while the passengers sleep in their cabins. Soon they’ll be hauling in the anchor, climbing the rigging to set the sails and feeding up to 28 guests. On a windjammer there is always something to do; the crew will be busy for the next 16 hours. They work in good weather and bad, learning 19th century seafaring skills in a job as rugged as the Maine coast.

“A lot of this job — I think of it as a floating hotel,” Liebl said. “I worked in a restaurant and did a lot of the same things. But this is a better place to do it, plus I learn about sailing.”

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