Schooner Bowdoin Sets Sail for Educational Cruises and Public Events

Posted on: July 6, 2015

CASTINE, Maine—July 6, 2015—Maine Maritime Academy’s schooner Bowdoin, a National Historic Landmark and the Official Vessel of the State of Maine, will make a number of public appearances in July and August, during which the ship will be available for public tours.

The ship will be sailing with three groups of students in the Maine Maritime Academy Vessel Operations and Technology program. Students navigate and maintain the vessel during 14-day summer training cruises to fulfill degree requirements and competencies toward a U.S. Coast Guard limited license. Bowdoin travels widely in its role as flagship of the MMA sail training program and will participate in the following public events this summer:

July 14-15            L’Hermione Voyage to Castine (Open Boat: July 15, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
July 18                  Tall Ships Portland, Portland, Maine (Lead Vessel in the Parade of Sail)
August 1              Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, Brooklin, Maine
August 15            Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show, Rockland, Maine (Open Boat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

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, Alec Schoettle, was born into a sailing family and worked and sailed on wooden vessels from a young age, starting with his first job at the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin. As a young teen, he sailed as a student aboard the schooner Harvey Gamage and spent summers working at boatyards and sailing. Alec has been sailing professionally since the age of 25 and has worked at Maine Maritime Academy since 2011.

The schooner 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 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. After WWII, MacMillan bought the ship back 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. It was at this time that Bowdoin became the Official Vessel of the State of Maine and was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The public can follow the adventures of the schooner Bowdoin throughout the summer. Visit or follow the cruise on facebook at Arctic Schooner Bowdoin.

At public events this summer, visitors will also learn about the Bowdoin Centennial Campaign, a fundraising effort to keep the vessel exploring, sailing and training for another 100 years. The $1.6 million campaign will fund the replacement of the ship’s deck, which will cost approximately $600,000, and will strengthen the ship’s endowment by $1,000,000 in order to protect and preserve her in perpetuity. “We want to celebrate the Bowdoin in excellent condition on her 100th birthday in 2021,” said Campaign Director, Kay Hightower of Castine. “We are well underway, and we have strong donor support for the campaign.”

The Bowdoin Centennial Campaign Cabinet includes: Co-Chair Capt. G. Andy Chase, Co-Chair Alexander Watson, Fred Atkins, Capt. Bill Cowan, Capt. Cate Cronin, Capt. Dave Fenderson, Lawrence Kaplan, Matthew P. Murphy, Capt. Alec Schoettle, Capt. John Worth, and Capt. Heather Stone. Honorary Cabinet Members include (to date): former Maine Governor Kenneth Curtis, Dr. Pete Rand, Phineas Sprague Jr., Dr. Ed Morse, and G. Baer Connard. For more information about the Bowdoin Centennial Campaign, please contact Kay Hightower at 207-326-8932 or

Maine 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 serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented programs of study. Maine Maritime Academy was ranked the #1 Best Public College on Money magazine’s Best Colleges list released in August of 2014. The college’s job placement rate is in excess of 90 percent within 90 days of graduation. For more information, visit