Before the American Eagle can hoist sails and head out into Penobscot Bay for the windjammer season, its crew spends about a month preparing the schooner for a summer at sea. The crew varnishes the deck, booms and bowsprit, paints the hull and attaches the rigging and sails.
The Eagle is the last fishing schooner built in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and was bought by Capt. John Foss of Rockland in 1984.
He spent a year and a half renovating it in Rockland and started carrying passengers in 1986. Foss has spent nearly his entire adult life sailing aboard schooners.
“I started as a deckhand in 1969. Aside from a couple of years in the Coast Guard, I haven’t really done anything else,” Foss says. “If I ever retired, I’d miss it terribly.”
The schooner carries passengers on sailing trips ranging from three to six days and is one of eight schooners in the Maine Windjammer Association’s fleet.