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Furling the sails

The crew of the historic schooner Victory Chimes furl the vessel's main sail Monday, May 9, 2022, while docked at Mystic Seaport Museum's Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard in Mystic.

With the two shipyards in Maine capable of handling the 127-foot schooner Victory Chimes unavailable, captain and owner Sam Sikkema opted to bring the vessel to familiar territory for maintenance, the museum's shipyard.

Traveling by sail and tow because the 122-year-old, three-masted Chesapeake ram schooner does not have an engine for propulsion, the crew made a 48-hour nonstop voyage from the home port of Rockland, Maine to Mystic, arriving Saturday morning in a foggy rain.

The schooner, launched in 1900 in Bethel, Del., to work the Chesapeake Bay cargo trade, is now a member of the Maine windjammer fleet carrying passengers along coastal Maine every summer.

Victory Chimes is in Mystic for maintenance and a Coast Guard inspection with plans to return to Maine by the beginning of June and ready for a first trip on June 11.

Sikkema, who served as chief mate for the 38th voyage of the Mystic Seaport Museum's whaleship Charles W. Morgan, said neither of the two shipyards in Maine capable of hauling the Victory Chimes, which is 127 feet long, were available this spring, so a trip to Mystic, with its staff of experienced wooden boat shipwrights, was the best option.

The crew of nine is busy with on-board work while the team at the shipyard prepare the lift cradle to haul out the vessel later this week.

Victory Chimes is the oldest operating and last remaining vessel of its type and is a National Historic Landmark.   


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