BAR HARBOR — Observers with a sharp eye may have noticed a new set of masts in the harbor this summer.
A gleaming white schooner with maroon trim, a replica of late 19th century merchant sailing vessels, will call Frenchman Bay home this season. Halie & Matthew is named after co-owner Butch Harris’ children. It was built and launched in 2006 in Eastport.
The boat has a proud history, according to the schooner’s current lessee, Captain Steven F. Pagels. One of the largest fiberglass schooners built in Maine, it was created for overnight cruises and has been leased to clients across the East Coast by owners Butch Harris and John Bishop. Halie & Matthew has sailed to Canada, set sail in the Great Lakes and cruised all the way down to Florida, where it was outfitted to help bring supplies to Haiti on an earthquake relief mission in 2010.
The schooner anchored in Bar Harbor less than two weeks ago and will spend the summer here, filling in as a tourist vessel for Margaret Todd, which currently is moored in Southwest Harbor. Along with Pagel’s other new arrival, Bailey Louise Todd, Halie & Matthew will take customers out to sea on three cruises daily.
Since sailing into Bar Harbor waters, the schooner has been certified by the U.S. Coast Guard and is licensed to carry 100 passengers. “Additionally, we’ve considered doing overnight cruises,” Pagels said. “A unique feature of the Halie & Matthew is that the cabins have heads [toilets] and showers, instead of there being just one toilet to share among the entire boat. This makes the boat perfect for overnight cruises, for individuals and groups.”
Pagels said that the ship will begin regular commercial cruises as soon as the sun comes out.