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Maine Windjammer Schooner Stephen Taber

Hello Friends -
Great Schooner Race pursuitWell, wood is split and stacked. We've shoveled out from our latest substantial snowfall. Oscar is still a bit small to handle a shovel, but if we could just harness that energy, we could most likely rent him out to neighbors. Usually this time of year, after putting the Taber away and securing the outbuildings, we have a chance to catch our breath after a long sailing season and take stock of our next projects. Not so this winter; we had just enough time to take a breath and plunge into our next big project. We are grateful for an immensely successful 2014 season and are looking forward to 2015, with a VERY busy winter in front of us.

Fair winds, good cheese, and remember to take good care of each other.

—Captain Noah, Jane & Oscar Barnes

P.S. Oh and check out the new promo clip for the MWA!


Bowditch hauled outWe bought another boat
In August we purchased the Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch. The boat had been sitting at our wharf not operating and looking for an owner last summer. No one was stepping up to the plate and it was looking more and more likely that the boat would be lost. So we launched Operation: Schooner Rescue. Such a gorgeous schooner, such a worthy project, what choice did we have? The Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch, built in 1922 as the racing yacht Ladona, is an important American sailing classic. Designed by William Hand, she won the Bermuda's Cup in 1933, patrolled New York Harbor for submarines as CG81006 during WWII and fished the shores of New England. She now is getting a much-needed rebuild with our crack crew of shipwrights. This is a major project, but we hope to have her finished for the 2016 sailing season. Much depends on the next few months. Our plan is to have another crew and captain operate the other schooner (Noah stays on the Taber!) and run her as a similar, but slightly fancier windjammer. Wish us luck! We will keep everyone posted with regular eNews letters and our Facebook page — Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch rebuild. "Like" it, if you want to see our progress. And yes, we know, we're crazy.

The Great Schooner Race
We won! This year, not only did we win the Coasters Class but, but we took the overall trophy, which has not been done by an old coaster like us in a very long time. Here is a link to some local coverage about the race:

Charlie Nobles music on the BayThe Sixth Annual Music Cruise and Gam
This has really become something. Noteworthy. Special. For one special cruise from June 6–10, the Taber becomes the only floating juke joint on the coast.

The cruise features the music of The Charlie Nobles; the official house/boat band of the music cruise. The band includes Tom Whitehead on guitar, Cajun accordion and vocals; Chicky Stoltz on snare and vocals; Jed Kriegel on upright bass; and Capt. Noah Barnes on harmonica and vocals. All are master musicians who play around the Northeast, yet converge annually to serve up some of the greatest Jazz, Blues, and Americana this side of the Merrimac River.

"This floating reunion is always the highlight of our sailing season," says Capt. Noah. "I've known these guys for decades, and have played with them through thick and thin. There is nothing like playing music with old friends."

Guests are treated to not only great music every night, but impromptu sets take place at various times during the day, though never intrusive. Guests can also take advantage of guitar instruction made available by the band.

As if it weren't enough, then comes the gam. An old merchant navy term, a gam is any gathering of ships for what seems like the purpose of good times. A raft-up of typically eight to ten tall ships takes place in some secluded cove for a night of music, food, and camaraderie. The Charlie Nobles lead this gam aboard the Taber, combining a majestic gathering of tall ships with one heck of a floating concert. And if you add great food, incredible views, and service above and beyond; you've got yourself something. Noteworthy. Special.

Perks of the DownEast CruiseThe 2nd Annual Penobscot Bay Food Cruise July 19–24, 2015
We were honored when DownEast magazine chose us as partners for a special Readership Appreciation Cruise. Now in its second year, this cruise features unique excursions, extraordinary coastal personalities, and a somewhat higher price. Here are some Maine experiences you just can't get any other way:

  • Welcome dinner with DownEast editor-in-chief Kathleen Fleury and special guests at In Good Company on boarding night.
  • Food historian and columnist Sandy Oliver prepares lunch in her charming garden on Islesboro (apparently even the school bus ride was a hoot).
  • Chocolate making workshop on Isle au Haut with award-winning Black Dinah Chocolatiers, led by Maine icon Kate Schaffer.
  • Tour and geology talk at The Keeper's House on Isle au Haut. Oyster tasting with Adam and crew from North Haven Oyster Company — tough to find them fresher than this.
  • On board massage therapist, Leslie Frasier standing by with her chair: Ahhhhhh.

"Fantastic DownEast cruise that absolutely went above expectations. Love to do this every year..."

"Every day of this cruise was an adventure of culinary, social and sensory delight. Commodore Noah, you have created a spirit of camaraderie and fun... We loved the combination of events and down time. All perfect. Fair sailing to you all until next summer." —Rufus and Jessica from Baltimore MD

Our 3 great chefs Anna, Scott & Bethany
This year we were lucky enough to have Chef Anna and Scott return and we welcomed Chef Bethany to tag team it with each other. They have all agreed to return for next season! Which is a good thing, because we'll need them to take a trick on the other boat.

Moments after victory, Great Schooner Race Day 2014Toasts & Highlights
of the 2014 season

  • Great music on the bay: Thanks to Jenn Schott, Melissa Peirce, Tom Whitehead, Chicky Stoltz & Jed Kriegle for helping keep the music on the Taber flowing.
  • Third annual August wine trip with the incomparable Michael Green - informative/hysterical.
  • Seven wine-themed trips. As always, each one everything we hoped for: one long extended floating dinner party.
  • Some spectacular phosphorescent harbor light shows.
  • Let's hear it for the crew: Kenya, Tyler, Tiffany, Zach, Anne, Bethany and Scott.
  • Olive oil tastings with our Pat O'Brien of Fiore.
  • T-SHIRT CANNON. One size fits all. You're welcome.
  • This cheese thing seems to be working out. Let's do it again, oui? Many thanks to our friends in fromage, Maine Street Meats.
  • Third Annual Gourmet trip with Chef James (and he's coming back!).
  • Schooner at anchorageA few choice new anchorages and one or two new lobster bake beaches! Maine never stops surprising us.
  • Speaking of lobster bakes, the introduction of the wood-fired pizzelle maker was a hit! Graham crackers just don't seem to cut it by comparison.
  • Oh, did you hear? Because I may not have mentioned it. That the Taber won the Great Schooner Race?
  • 10 years of Wine Cruises! Yeah- we built it, you came.

Wine-tasting Anniversary


Special Trips

Since our specialty trips work so well, we're really not changing anything. So in 2015 we have:

  • 5 wine trips — 1 themed with the AMAZING Michael Green.
  • We're packing a pair of stand-up paddleboards next year! We're sure you will enjoy the challenge and freedom of this on quiet mornings and evenings.
  • Gourmet trip with Chef James — Bouillabaisse of the Gods
  • Two June Music trips with Tom, Chicky, Jed, Melissa and Jenn
  • Penobscot Bay Food Cruise with Down East Magazine
  • August 6-day Captain's Choice
  • Photo & Lighthouse with John Shipman in September
  • Wooden Boat Celebration in September
  • Possibly another schooner? Double the fun.

Not many small shop projects this winter, just one enormous rebuild at the shipyard. We'll let you know if the Bowditch will be operating in 2016.

Remember, we offer our repeat passengers a 10% discount if you book before March 1, 2015. We are already filling up for next year so book soon! And, if you are not on our e-newsletter list, and would like to be, drop us an email at A few times a year, we like to let you know what is going on, and highlight any special projects and offers. Take care!

Oh, and if you are wondering if there is anything you can do to help with the Bowditch rebuild, please contact us directly.

Gourmet Cruise
Gourmet Cruise June 11–14, 2015, with
Guest Chef James Tranchemontagne

We had the pleasure of having Chef James from the Frog and Turtle in Westbrook, Maine join us for a tasty 3-day trip in 2012 to benefit Share Our Strength. The trip, a tag team between Chefs Anna and James, culminated in an on-deck bouillabaisse demonstration, from stock to spoon that left us gasping for breath. The first trip was an instant smash, and we've booked Chef James for an annual trip ever since! (Book it now!)

"James is a wonder. Fabulous food as always. The Frog and Turtle is my first choice when I want good food in a comfortable atmosphere." —from a review on

Jenn Schott and Melissa Peirce
Solstice & Music Cruise
with Nashville songwriters
Jenn Schott & Melissa Peirce

Enjoy the start of Summer and the longest days of the year, June 15–19, 2015, with Captain Noah and special musical guests Jenn Schott and Melissa Peirce, accomplished performers and songwriters. What a more perfect way to end the longest days of the year than an informal concert. Melissa and Jenn's charming songs and sweet harmonies were such a hit last time we just had to have them back! (More info on our schedule page.)

Crew of the Stephen Taber

"What the doctor ordered and then some: idleness, laughter, tranquility, sun, wind, and the food of the Gods. Thanks to all, while we scheme of how to make a habit of it..." —Lillie, ME

New Yawlboat Engine
Babe was clearly happy with her new mahogany interior, and although it may be hard to tell, the safety and power of the new Volvo D2-75 meant fewer grey hairs on the Captain this summer. Everything we hoped it would be, enabling us to spend less time under power, because she got us there quicker.

schooner cookbook
Our Cookbook

We are thrilled to offer Taste of the Taber: Wine Trip Edition. Featuring over 60 of Aimee LePage's recipes from our wine tasting cruises, the book is over 140 pages with lots of color pictures, wine pairings and a cheese guide. It's kind of a virtual wine trip. The book is $20, $24.95 with shipping. Email or call us to order.

"What an awesome trip!! This was by far the best wine tasting trip ever, Jane. Noah, the sailing has been wonderful. Love you guys" —Jim and Freddie, NC

Partnership with Fiore Olive Oils
Since 2011, many of our guests had a surprise treat on boarding night: an olive oil tasting with Rockland, Maine's Fiore Olive Oils. Well, Fiore has loved doing the tastings so much they will be doing one on all trips this year! I know an olive oil tasting might sound weird to many of you but if you give it a chance, your taste buds will thank you.

Stephen Taber recognized as EcoTourism Leader: LEAVE NO TRACE certified
During the entire month of June, every guest who sails aboard the Stephen Taber will be offered a complimentary "Leave No Trace" outdoor awareness workshop on the 7 principles of responsible outdoor ethics. While windjammer captains have been practicing and teaching the Leave No Trace policies for years, this is an exciting opportunity for guests to learn the invaluable skills of properly caring for the environment. All guests who successfully complete the workshop will receive Leave No Trace certification.

Leave No TraceIn keeping with the June spirit of volunteerism and conservation, the Maine Windjammer Association will also host an official Coastal Cleanup during the week of June 5th, in conjunction with World Ocean Day. Guests and crewmembers will scour the beaches for trash that's washed ashore over the winter.

With hundreds of pristine islands in their sailing grounds, it's no wonder we are committed to preserving them. Sail this June and learn new skills to make a difference in your own backyard.

Lobster bake in Maine

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