BELFAST, Maine — A historic Maine schooner is sailing south, moving its homeport from Belfast to Portland, the city where it was built 87 years ago.
Maine Day Sail, a company that runs daytime sailing trips in Penobscot Bay, announced Wednesday that it sold the schooner Timberwind to Portland Schooner Co. for an undisclosed price.
The Timberwind purchase expands Portland Schooner’s fleet to three. The company currently runs two-hour trips and chartered sails from the Maine State Pier on two other Maine-built schooners, Wendameen and Bagheera.
Victor Cole, a boatbuilder at Portland’s Union Wharf in Portland, built the Timberwind in 1931. The vessel served as a pilot boat in Portland until 1969. After a major retrofit, a new owner moved the schooner to Rockport in 1970 and ran it as a passenger vessel. The Timberwind offered tours out of Rockport for decades until it was taken from its owners through a bank foreclosure in 2015.
Timberwind was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, recognizing its role as one of a shrinking number of 20th-century purpose-built pilot boats.
A second historic schooner also changed hands — and names — prior to this summer’s sailing season. The Rockland-berthed Isaac H. Evans is now the Boyd N. Sheppard, after new owners decided to return the vessel to its original name.
The Sheppard first hit the water in 1886 in New Jersey as part of an oyster-dredging fleet. Just after World War II, the then-owners plucked off the mainmast and installed a motor. By the 1960s, the Evans stopped oystering and was largely ignored until Doug and Linda Lee purchased it and brought it to Maine. The Lees converted it into a passenger vessel, and reinstalled the mainmast.
It became a National Historic Landmark in 1991.
Capt. Brenda Thomas, who has owned the schooner since 1999, sold it to Adam and Katie McKinlay in January. The McKinlays hauled the boat out of the water and launched a four-month restoration effort preparing it for this year’s sailing season.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.
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