Experience Sailing Aboard the Stephen Taber
From late May through mid-October the Stephen Taber sets sail from Rockland Harbor, taking lucky guests on three-, four- and six-day windjammer sailing adventures on the legendary Maine coast. Our guests are treated to an insider's tour of Maine's Penobscot Bay, one of the most acclaimed cruising grounds on Earth, in a comfortable and casual atmosphere that makes it easy to unwind and get to know new friends. Our windjammer cruises are especially renowned for spectacular galley fare, which has earned a reputation of its own.
Where are we going, you ask? Answer: where the wind and tide take us. As the Taber has no inboard engine, we have no set itinerary. As the Captain says, "As far as I see it, my job is to make the best of each day. A rousing breakfast, a morning race with another schooner, a downwind run for lunch, tacking through an archipelago to see some wildlife, and beating into a remote harbor for a stroll ashore and a handsome sunset." Some places we may stop along the way are Stonington on Deer Isle, North Haven, Vinalhaven, Mt. Desert Island, or Sorrento, Isle au Haut, dockside at Castine, or one of the countless deserted islands that dot our coast. Wherever we wind up, it is guaranteed to be beautiful.
As we breeze along, you'll see lobstermen hauling and setting traps, colonies of harbor and fur seals sunning themselves and cavorting in the water, and the multitude of waterfowl that make Maine their home. And we're always pleased by the appearance of whales and porpoises.
If you are a seasoned sailor, or want to learn a bit about being one, you are always welcome to help sail the boat. Crew members are ready and eager to teach you about sail handling, steering a course and navigating. If you're the gregarious type, you'll find plenty of group doings to join. If you prefer spending your time in quieter pursuits, you'll relish the peacefulness of shipboard life.
"Best restaurant in town, wherever we happened to be that night."
Jed from Boston, MA
HERE'S WHAT MAKES US SPECIAL
- The Stephen Taber has been in the Barnes family for over 30 years. Your host, Captain Noah Barnes, began sailing on the Taber at age six, and delights in sharing his intimate knowledge of the Maine coast. All cruises are OWNER-CAPTAINED.
- The oldest sailing vessel in continuous service in the United States, and a National Historic Landmark.
- Huge percentage of repeat guests and referrals. Once you've sailed on the Taber, chances are you'll want to come back!
- Overall length is 110 feet. Length on deck is 68 feet, with a 22½-foot beam. The Taber is a very comfortable ride, and provides ample deck space. Seasickness is rare.
- On the Taber, wine is served with dinner every night.
- No inboard engine, meaning this is a pure sailing vacation, with no diesel odor below decks.
- Galley and dining area, with a separate main salon and library aft.
- The Taber's food has been continually featured in the media, including The Food Network's Best of... series, PBS' Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert and the Food Network's Rachael Ray's Vacations. Go here to see clips!
- The Taber is a centerboard schooner. Our shallow draft allows us access to some of the more secluded and beautiful anchorages.
- She's known as the "Good Luck Vessel" of the fleet.
- If we don't have room, we will take time to help you find a cabin on another vessel.
Boarding Day: You may board the Stephen Taber from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. You will be welcomed aboard by a crew member who will help you with your duffel and show you to your cabin. At 6:00pm, Captain Noah gives an hour-long orientation of the boat, explaining everything from safety procedures to the general schedule of the trip. Afterwards, guests can walk into town for dinner. The Taber remains dockside until after breakfast the following morning. Dinner on boarding night is the only meal that we do NOT serve.
Throughout the trip: As we have no set itinerary, each day and trip is different. We usually sail for the better part of the day. Weather permitting, guests will have the opportunity to go for a walk ashore every day for one or two hours. We visit many different lighthouses, quaint fishing villages, lobster towns on the islands and deserted islands where guests can go for a nice walk.
Every trip on the Taber features an all-you-can-eat lobster bake, weather permitting cooked and served on the beach. If you do not eat lobster, we offer many other menu items including a "turf" option (and someone else is sure to eat your lobster). This is one heck of a feast.
During the evenings you can go for a swim or row or sail on our wherry Plain Jane. On a clear night, the stargazing is incredible. On one or two evenings during each trip, the Captain and crew may sing and play some acoustic music.
Returning day is bittersweet. After a last morning sail and delicious breakfast, we return to our dock around 10:30am. Group photos and email exchanges are usually what's happening between fellow guests and crew. We are on hand to help you with your bags, give local suggestions if you are staying the area for a bit longer and help with calling cab or making your flight.
WINDJAMMER CRUISE IN MAINE
WHAT TO EXPECT
What to wear
The name of the first New Englander who said "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute" is lost in the haze of times past, but it's as true as ever. Bring layers of clothing, so you'll be prepared for both warm and cool temperatures. Sometimes it seems we change layers more often than we change tacks it all depends on whether or not the sun is behind the sails, whether we're running with the wind or tacking into it, and the time of day. Windbreakers, sweaters, bathing suits, comfortable soft-soled shoes, and casual clothing are the dress of the Taber.
June and September are two of the most beautiful months to cruise on the Stephen Taber. Nights are cool and wonderful for sleeping under a blanket, and the days are usually clear, bright, and warm. In June, the days are longer, stretching into soft, sun-lit evenings. In September, the hills and islands clad in autumn's palette are a sight you won't soon forget.
Cruises on the Stephen Taber are not geared to small children. We request that the minimum age be fourteen.
There is no smoking aboard our vessel. You may smoke during our daily trips ashore.
Reservations and Policies
Please call us at 1-800-999-7352 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then send $350 deposit per person to Schooner Stephen Taber, PO Box 1050, Rockland, Maine 04841.
Because we can only accommodate twenty-two guests each week, we urge you to reserve early. The balance is payable in full 6 weeks before sailing. If you should have to cancel, your deposit will be refunded less 10% of the full sail cost if we are notified six weeks in advance of the cruise.