Travel & travel writing

Maritime Community Quickly Replaces Bowsprit of Historic Schooner Timberwind

Shipwrights Jeff Dick of Newcastle, Maine (left) and Kevin Roux of Alna, Maine (right) guide the new bowsprit into position, aided by Timberwind‘s captain. In the background Wendameen returns from a sail. (Photo: Patricia Erikson)

After suffering the breakage of its 24-foot bowsprit in a rare docking incident involving a lobster boat, the schooner Timberwind– listed on the National Register of Historic Places–had its new bowsprit installed and rigged (see video below) in Portland on August 3rd, the home harbor where it was built and christened in 1931 and where it served as a pilot boat until 1969. After a U.S. Coast Guard sea trial the next morning to clear the vessel, Timberwind rejoined Wendameen and Bagheera in Portland Schooner Company’s fleet, based on the Maine State Pier and Maine Wharf.

Shipwrights Kevin Roux of Alna, Maine and Jeff Dick of Newcastle, Maine shaped and fitted the new Douglas Fir bowsprit. 

Nathaniel S. Wilson Sailmaker of East Boothbay Harbor fabricated the new stays.

Michelle Thresher, co-owner of Portland Schooner Company, said, “To replace the bowsprit of a historic schooner in a week’s time is an extraordinary testament to the fact that Maine is gifted with a long shipbuilding tradition, skilled craftsmen, and all that Timberwind needed. Timberwind is a part of this tradition and today it feels like the maritime community gave back to her.”

Note: This blog post is a revised version of a press release, written and prepared by Whitecap Consulting Maine for Portland Schooner Company.

About Timberwind

Originally named Portland Pilot, she was designed by and built for use by the Portland Pilot’s Association. Harbor pilots are responsible for boarding incoming vessels outside of the harbor and piloting them to their berths. The white oak used in its frames and a portion of the planking was obtained from one of the pilot’s farms on Ossipee Mountain, according to its application for historic status. The Portland Engineering Company built her and she is the only known extant historic vessel built to serve as a pilot boat in Maine, and one of only a handful in the country. Her historic designation was earned not only for her decades of service as a pilot boat in Portland Harbor, but for her service during WWII when she was commandeered by the Coast Guard to patrol Portland harbor and its approaches. The vessel is a rare maritime artifact, a preserved chapter of the history of Portland’s working waterfront. In 1971 the vessel was converted to a passenger carrying cruise schooner and re-named Timberwind. Before returning to Portland, Timberwind served in Camden-Rockport and Belfast.

Patricia Erikson blogs about Maine writers, travel, and science from a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, follow her on Instagram at @seashorewrite or subscribe to Peaks Island Press in the upper right corner at

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