Schooner Mary Day sports all-female crew

Posted May 31, 2013, at 5:49 a.m.
Last modified May 31, 2013, at 11:49 a.m.

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.”