CASTINE —Maine Maritime Academy’s schooner Bowdoin, a national historic landmark and the official vessel of the state of Maine, will be home to two groups of students in the school’s Vessel Operations and Technology program this summer.
The students will be sailing coastwise and offshore as part of sail training courses during which they learn to navigate and maintain the vessel to fulfill degree requirements and competencies toward a U.S. Coast Guard limited license.
Bowdoin’s first two stops of the summer were Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and Ingonish Harbor on Cape Breton Island.
Last week, the schooner moored off Burgeo, Newfoundland, then was scheduled to sail for: Francois, Newfoundland; Englishtown, Cape Breton Island; and then back to Lunenburg for a three-day stay beginning June21.
From Nova Scotia, Bowdoin is scheduled to head back to the United States and cruise Penobscot Bay from June 28 through its July 6 return to Castine. The schooner will set out on another scheduled two-week training cruise on Aug. 12.
Maine Maritime Academy is the only college in the United States with a dedicated sail training program that leads to a Coast Guard license as mate on an auxiliary sail vessel. Students may start with no prior sailing experience and graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree, a Coast Guard license and all necessary certificates.
Bowdoin’s captain, William McLean, is a 2012 MMA alumnus. He returned to the academy in the spring of 2017 following a winter sail schedule with Call of the Sea, an educational nonprofit dedicated to environmental education through sailing. There, he was captain of the schooner Seaward, an 82-foot classic staysail schooner, conducting six-day charters in the Sea of Cortez. He also has served as senior chief mate-relief captain on Robert C. Seamans with Sea Education Association for three years.
The schooner Bowdoin has a long history of seafaring education and Arctic exploration. Commissioned by explorer Donald B. MacMillan to facilitate his work in the high northern latitudes, Bowdoin has made 28 trips to the Arctic, 25 of them before 1954 under the command of MacMillan. MacMillan sold Bowdoin to the U.S. Navy for use in World War II during the Greenland Patrol.
Maine Maritime Academy purchased the vessel in 1998 for the purpose of training students.
The public can follow the adventures of the schooner Bowdoin throughout the summer. Visit bowdoincruise.mma.edu or follow the cruise on Facebook at “Arctic Schooner Bowdoin.”