Schooner Bowdoin August Training Cruise Sets Sail With New Mast

Posted on: August 17, 2014

CASTINE, Maine—August 15, 2014—With a newly constructed laminated mast that was inspected and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard this week, Maine Maritime Academy’s schooner Bowdoin, a National Historic Landmark and the Official Vessel of the State of Maine, will set sail for Nova Scotia this weekend. Eleven ‘rising senior’ Academy students in the Vessel Operations and Technology program will navigate and maintain the 88-foot tall ship with the help of 5 crew members as part of their at-sea training during the month of August.

Maine Maritime Academy had suspended sailing due to a compromise in the vessel’s main mast, discovered during a routine rigging check in late June. Bowdoin’s Captain, Eric Jergenson, and his crew assisted during the construction of the new mast by Andros Kypragoras Shipbuilding, Inc. Captain Jergenson thanked the Bowdoin crew and the shipbuilders for working hard to complete the mast within the 45-day construction window: “You made this project happen. Thanks for your hard work and long hours. This mast is better than the last! To all who care about Bowdoin and her important mission at MMA, thank you for your support.”

The Bowdoin itinerary for the August training cruise is as follows:
August 16 – 22 Sailing to Nova Scotia with stops in Halifax, Lunenburg and Shelburne
(as conditions and time allow)

August 24 – 29 Return to Castine, Maine

Maine Maritime Academy is the only college in the United States with a dedicated sail training program that leads to a U.S. 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 USCG license, and all necessary certificates.

Bowdoin’s Captain, Eric Jergenson, is a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy’s small vessel operations program and former sailing master at the college (2000-2009). He has sailed extensively aboard the schooner Bowdoin in positions ranging from Deckhand to Master, from points south of Boston to the Arctic. Jergenson holds a U.S. Coast Guard license for Auxiliary Sail Vessels upon Oceans and is a US SAILING Certified Coastal Passage instructor and an Instructor Trainer for Basic Keelboat and Cruising Instructors.

The Bowdoin enjoys 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 21 trips above the Arctic Circle, 18 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. After WWII, MacMillan bought the ship back for $3,000 and continued to sail her for nine more years around Greenland. After MacMillan’s retirement the boat belonged to the Schooner Bowdoin Association until 1988 when Maine Maritime Academy purchased the vessel for the purpose of training students.

The public can follow the adventures of the schooner Bowdoin throughout the sail training cruise. Visit or follow the cruise on facebook at Arctic Schooner Bowdoin. Updates will include a Captain’s log and a hyperlink to the online vessel tracking site, iboat.

Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 18 degree programs in engineering, management, science and transportation. The college ranked high on Money magazine’s Best Colleges list, released in August of 2014: #1 Best Public College, #4 College That Adds the Most Value, and #12 overall. The college’s persistence, retention and graduation rates are well above national averages, and the job placement rate for MMA graduates is in excess of 90 percent within 90 days of graduation. For more information, visit