The schooner Quinnipiack, built in Maine in the 1980s for Steve Pagels as Janet May, could return this summer to Bar Harbor, where she carried passengers between 1986 and 1990. PHOTO COURTESY OF QUINNIPIAC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Familiar wooden schooner to return to Bar Harbor



NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Captain Steve Pagels of Downeast Windjammer Cruises confirmed Monday that his offer to buy back the schooner Quinnipiack, formerly Janet May, from the Connecticut nonprofit that owns the boat, has been accepted.

“We are excited about getting back involved with this schooner and think with her traditional Downeast wood construction and historic lines, she will be a positive addition to Bar Harbor,” Pagels said.

The boat was built outside of Milbridge in 1984 by Pagels’ friends Phil Shelton and Don Baman. A centerboard schooner with a very shallow draft, she was designed after Mississippi freight schooners common in the 1880s. The pair used local hackmatack wood for the entire schooner except the keel, including 60 “knee” pieces.

Pagels began offering passenger trips on Janet May from the Bar Harbor Inn pier in 1986. For the first few years, she had no engine. When they did add an inboard engine, a six-cylinder Ford diesel, it was installed off center to avoid having to cut an aperture in the dead wood, he said.

Pagels sold the boat to Schooner Inc., an educational nonprofit in New Haven, Conn., in 1990 for $250,000, according to the New Haven Register. In the years since, Schooner has operated summer camps and other programs aboard the boat. Quinnipiack had a live-aboard crew of four during the sailing season. Her home berth was Long Wharf in New Haven, next to the schooner Amistad.

The nonprofit may be shutting its doors, the Register reported, and is no longer accepting reservations for trips on the boat. One other potential buyer, who hoped to ship Quinnipiack to Michigan, was disappointed.

“We do have plans to operate the boat this season in Bar Harbor,” Pagels said. In order to legally carry passengers here, he said, the Coast Guard “will still need to do a new-to-zone inspection when she comes back to this area.” A full dry-dock hull inspection was completed in 2014. “As far as I know, all her Coast Guard certificates are current.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Liz Graves is managing editor of the Islander. She's a California native who came to Maine as a schooner sailor.[email protected]