Winter 2018-19 Articles

At exactly 1 PM, Fred Ebinger pulls into the roadside diner in Harold Burnham’s weathered black pickup. I toss my things into the bed: a small duffle with foul-weather gear, my camera bag, and two empty jerry cans I am donating to the cause. Five minutes later we’re going 80 miles an hour up Route 95 toward Rockland, Maine.

We have a rendezvous with the 1911 knockabout schooner Sylvina W. Beal and with Harold, who plans to save her.

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The century-old, three-masted schooner Victory Chimes, the largest vessel in the Maine windjammer fleet, was sold this summer after four years on the market.

“Victory Chimes wasn’t a typical Maine Windjammer Association schooner,” former co-owner Paul DeGaeta said at the time. “She is massive and because of her size, she intimidated potential buyers and even museums. Also because of her tonnage, she required a much more advanced USCG license.”

The right man for the job turned out to be Sam Sikkema, 31. Sikkema plans to continue running the boat as a windjammer out of Rockland. We spoke with Sikkema at the end of the sailing season.

Marlinspike: Tell us about your sailing background.

Sam Sikkema: I’ve been sailing small boats since I was five years old, with my father. When I was in high school, I got involved in the Sea Scouts. I grew up in Michigan, and in the summer of 2003 the tall ships came to the Great Lakes, and the Sea Scouts paid for us to go on a ship for about a month. We did part of the Great Lakes tour — on Bounty, actually.

After that, just as soon as I was done with high school, I started shipping out as much as I could, found a job, working, going sailing, and just kept at it, as many places as I could go, as many opportunities as I could find!

I worked for a couple of maritime museums along the way, and I had always been interested in the marine preservation side, so that led to me do things like working for Mystic Seaport on the Charles W. Morgan project. And that’s how [Chimes co-owner] Kip Files and I got to know each other.

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