THE MARY E as she appears in port in Pelham, New York. A crew of four, including Maine Maritime Museum’s Kurt Spiridakis, will sail her up to Bath later this month.

THE MARY E as she appears in port in Pelham, New York. A crew of four, including Maine Maritime Museum’s Kurt Spiridakis, will sail her up to Bath later this month.

BATH

The Mary E, a wooden schooner built in Bath in 1906, will come home this month.

The schooner, currently in Pelham, New York, was purchased by Maine Maritime Museum in November 2016. On Saturday, a crew of four will sail the ship up the coast. Mary E is scheduled to arrive in Bath at around 10:30 a.m. on April 23.

THE MARY E in full sail on the Connecticut River in 2015.

THE MARY E in full sail on the Connecticut River in 2015.

The Mary E is believed to be the oldest Bath-built wooden vessel still afloat, as well as the oldest fishing schooner built in Maine that is still sailing. She’s spent the past few years in Pelham, where previous owner Matt Culen began restorative work on her while keep- ing her afloat.

“Ownership has its toils and joys, but I never felt more on top of the world than standing aloft on the cross tree of the Mary E and sailing in a fresh breeze,” said Culen.

Maine Maritime Museum Executive Director Amy Lent said that acquiring a ship like the Mary E has been a goal for 20 years.

“We wanted to acquire a Maine-built vessel of some kind,” said Lent, who traveled to Pelham with Maine Maritime Museum resident shipwright Kurt Spiridakis in November to officially acquire the Mary E. “Very often I would get calls about ships to acquire, but they were usually too far gone. What’s exciting about the Mary E is she was built and rebuilt in Bath, and she’s still sailing with a Coast Guard certification. She represents the kind of vessel you would have seen all over New England 100 years ago, and she’s still in great shape.”

Lent said that the Mary E will need repairs when she returns to Bath, and that the museum still needs to raise some money to complete that work.

“It won’t be a huge financial burden, though,” said Lent. “The cost won’t be terrifying.”

The museum set a goal of raising $1.5 million for ship repairs and costs last November.

Spiridakis will oversee the repairing process this summer, but said his relationship with the Mary E will begin on the sail from Pelham.

“I’ll be getting to know her in the best way possible: by spending time sailing on her,” said Spiridakis, who will be accompanied by the ship’s former captain and two deckhands. “I can’t wait to learn about this vessel, see some of the New England coastline and be part of the group who brings Bath’s history back.”

Spiridakis said he will be updating the Maine Maritime Museum blog as often as he can during the sail north.

“It will be a small milestone to get her up here in one piece, but then the real work will begin on restoring Maine’s oldest surviving fishing schooner,” said Spiridakis.

Spiridakis said Tuesday that he has been busy building a pole barn structure on the museum’s lawn which will house the Mary E during the summer repairs.

“Anywhere you are on the shipyard, you’ll be able to look in and see the Mary E,” said Spiridakis. “I’m looking forward to seeing Maine Maritime again having a dynamic, working shipyard for visitors to see and understand the history that is represented in our shipyard.”

Lent said that once the work is done the ship will be launched back into the Kennebec River, and that the museum will then offer dockside tours of ship.

“We will also look at a sailing program for the future, whatever makes sense financially,” said Lent. “Hopefully we can keep the Mary E as an icon for many years. Bath hasn’t had a floating icon, so we hope that the Mary E can be an ambassador for the city and for all of Maine.”

The Mary E will return to the Maine Maritime Museum on April 23, at 10:30 a.m., weather permitting. The arrival is a public event. To follow the Mary E on her voyage north, visit mainemaritimemuseum.org/blog.

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