Gaff Tech

Most every MMA mariner knows of Bowdoin, which completes 2018 sail training cruises in August, and is the Official Vessel of the State of Maine. But how much do you really know?

Designed by William Hand, the 88-foot schooner was launched in 1921 at Hodgdon Brothers Shipyard, East Boothbay, Maine, for her master Adm. Donald MacMillan for arctic exploration in an admittedly old-world style—29 trips north of the Arctic Circle, four times wintered over, frozen in ice.

Bowdoin was built of stout stuff to do the job: she’s planked with 2-3/4” white oak on 6” double-sawn frames, which essentially makes a frame that is 6” x 12”. Bowdoin is locust trunnel-fastened with 1-1/2” dowels driven through planking and frames into the interior planks. She displaces 66 gross registered tons. She’ll do 12 knots under sail.

Bowdoin’s role at MMA is unique. She trains not only vessel operations majors who will skipper the high-tech ships of the future, but also the next generation of tall ship captains, who come from all across America to take a turn at the helm.

Post Comment

Be the First to Comment!

Comments are moderated and will be reviewed prior to posting online. Please be aware that when you submit a comment, you agree to the following rules:

  • Be respectful and considerate of others in your tone and content.
  • Use your own words and communicate clearly and concisely.
  • Do not use abusive language, obscenities, or otherwise objectionable content under any circumstances.
  • Do not impersonate or make false statements about someone else.
  • Do not use commenting to advertise, campaign or recruit.
  • Feel free to use your real name, but please do not post other personal or private information.

Maine Maritime Academy reserves the right to delete any comment that does not comply with these guidelines and is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. If you have a message for the editor, please email