Schooner Bowdoin Sets Sail for Educational Cruises

Posted on: July 29, 2016

CASTINE, Maine—July 29, 2016—Following a major restoration project and systems upgrades, Maine Maritime Academy’s schooner Bowdoin, a National Historic Landmark and the Official Vessel of the State of Maine, gets back to its mission this weekend as flagship of the MMA sail training program.

The ship will be sailing with two groups of students in the Maine Maritime Academy Vessel Operations and Technology program during the month of August. Students navigate and maintain the vessel during 14-day summer training voyages to fulfill degree requirements and competencies toward a U.S. Coast Guard limited license.

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, Emma Hathaway, has had ties to midcoast Maine since she was a teen and went sailing out of Rockport on the schooner Timberwind. Over the following 15 years, she would serve as a crew member on the Pride of Baltimore II, Spirit of Massachusetts, and Niagara. She captained the Seaward out of San Francisco Bay and the Unicorn, sailing from Connecticut through the Saint Lawrence Seaway to the Great Lakes; she has worked as a trainer, mentor and teacher on ocean classroom vessels (Seaward, Harvey Gamage, and Lynx); and has taught U.S. Sailing curriculum at the Olympic Circle Sailing Club in San Francisco Bay. Between 2013 and 2015, she was captain of Makani Olu, a 96-foot, three-masted staysail schooner, the centerpiece of the Kailana Program, an ocean-oriented experiential treatment and education program based in the Hawaiian Islands.

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.

The Bowdoin Centennial Campaign—a fundraising effort to keep the vessel exploring, sailing and training for another 100 years—is funding the restoration project, which included the replacement of her 30-year-old deck, stanchions and ceiling timbers, along with several systems upgrades: an engine rebuild, increasing the tank capacities for fuel, fresh water and wastewater, a new refrigeration system, electrical system and generator. A new foremast will be installed later this summer. Fundraising efforts are still underway and the goal is to complete the campaign by year’s end.

The Bowdoin Centennial Campaign Cabinet includes: Co-Chair Capt. G. Andy Chase, Co-Chair Alexander Watson, Fred Atkins, Capt. Bill Cowan, Cameron G. Brien, Capt. Cate Cronin, Capt. Don Eley, Capt. Dave Fenderson, Capt. Eric Jergenson, Lawrence Kaplan, Matthew P. Murphy, Capt. Alec Schoettle, Capt. John Worth, and Capt. Heather Stone. Honorary Cabinet Members include: former Maine Governor Kenneth Curtis, Dr. Pete Rand, Phineas Sprague Jr., Dr. Ed Morse, G. Baer Connard, Capt. Elliot Rappaport, and Merle Hallett. 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 2014 and 2015 Best Colleges list. The college’s job placement rate exceeds 90 percent within 90 days of graduation. For more information, visit