PO Box 992, Camden, ME 04843 - Phone 207-230-8320 or 1-800-469-4635

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Schooner Lewis R. French

America's Oldest Windjammer

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning to Sail Vacations
Can I help sail the schooner?
Absolutely! To make the most of your Windjammer experience, we encourage you to take an active part in the running of the French. Feel free to help the crew furl the jib, learn coastal navigation, trim the sails, or heave up the anchor. We are very traditional on board; everything is done by hand. The crew will be there to "show you the ropes" and by trip's end, you'll be amazed at how much you've learned. And don't forget to try your hand at the helm. It's not everyday you can pilot an 1871 schooner.
What are the cabins like?
For a detailed look at cabins and vessel layout, see our accommodations page. Each cabin has an opening window, running fresh water, electric reading lights, standing head room, and we provide blankets, linens, and towels. The cabins are small but comfortable. We have longer bunks in some to accommodate tall sailors. We have five single cabins, 2 double bunkbed cabins and 6 double bed cabins.
Please explain your cell phone policy.
Don't worry, we won't make you check your cell phone at the gate, but as a courtesy to your shipmates, we ask that guests refrain from making or taking calls while on board. You are welcome make calls on your phone on our daily shore excursions or to give texting a try in your cabin. We don't mind silent technology use, but we feel ringing phones and phone conversations detract from the windjamming experience. If an emergency arises, please let Captain Garth know and you can make arrangements to use your phone on board. If you'd like to give out an emergency phone number, you can give out our 800 number and Jenny can get a message out to the ship. Most people, even the most technologically-addicted among us, will enjoy the peace and quiet of an unplugged vacation!
Do you have parking for my car or RV?
Yes! We have free parking for your vehicle in a large warehouse just around the corner. When you arrive in town to board, please park on Atlantic Ave, or anywhere nearby, and come on down to the boat.
What kind of food do you serve?
On board, we serve up homestyle meals cooked on our woodburning cookstove. For breakfast, blueberry pancakes, bacon, sausage, (Lewis R.) French toast, fresh muffins with fruit and cereal are on the menu. Lunch is generally homemade soup or chowder, salad and freshly-baked bread. Dinners range from roast beef, ham, pasta, fish, or turkey and are always rounded out with veggies and scrumptious side dishes. There are always tempting desserts like fresh baked pies and cookies. Best of all, one afternoon we row to a deserted beach and steam up all you can eat Lobsters. The menu is always changing, and we know it will be hot and delicious.
I have a special dietary need. Can you accommodate me?
Of course! We can accommodate vegetarian and other special diets - and we have more and more experience accommodating gluten-free diets. Just let us know when you book your trip and we will make sure your needs are taken care of.
Maine Windjammer views a bad eagleWhat kind of wildlife do you see?
Seals, porpoise, dolphin, osprey, bald eagles, loons, puffins, and whales have all been sighted from the French. We've even seen moose and bear roaming along the water's edge. You may also spy the very wild Native Maine Lobsterman hauling his traps.
Where do we sail?
There is no itinerary and plans can change hourly. Our general cruising grounds are the hundreds of islands between Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor. Weather, wind, and mood will determine exactly where each trip goes. Deserted islands, small Maine coastal villages, little coves and harbors off the beaten path or Acadia National Park are all likely destinations.
Maine Windjammer Vacations
What if there is no wind?
Our daily activities are very low key and subject to change, so every day and every trip is different. If the wind dies, you might take a swim, explore an anchorage in one of our rowboats, beachcomb, learn some knots, find a quiet reading spot or enjoy an afternoon nap.
What if it's raining?
This is an outdoor vacation, and we make the best of what Mother Nature gives us. The galley with our woodburning stove is a popular spot during times of wet weather. We also have an awning we put up over much of the deck while we are at anchor, so you will be sheltered. We have some extra raingear, but bring yours and an extra pair of shoes just in case.
Will I get Seasick?
Very rarely does any passenger get seasick (regardless of experience level) on the French. The protected waters of our sailing grounds combined with the stability of the French make for a very smooth ride. If you are still worried, bring along a motion sickness drug (Bonine, Dramamine) or the anti-motion-sickness patch thingy (says passenger Dr. Tom , available by prescription.
What is your smoking policy?
We are 100% non-smoking on board, and have been for over 15 years.
Is there electricity for recharging cameras and batteries?
On a limited basis, we can recharge batteries. We run strictly on battery power on board, so our resources are limited. Depending on levels, there is a chance that we will be unable to charge batteries. Bring along extra batteries, just in case.
Maine Windjammer Family photo
Can I use a C-PAP Machine on board?
Yes, we have rigged certain cabins with outlets for medical machines. Just let us know when you sign up and we will make sure you are in the proper cabin.
Who sails?
All types of people enjoying sailing on the French, from lifelong sailors to folks that want to try sailing for the first time. We do have a minimum age of 16 years old.
Do you serve alcoholic beverages on board, or can we bring along our own?
It is BYOB, and we have a large icebox on deck to keep drinks cold. We do serve non-alcoholic beverages.
Are there any additional charges?
Nope. Our prices are all inclusive. The price includes all accommodations and meals, except for dinner on boarding night. There are no added on fees or taxes.
Am I expected to tip the crew?
A gratuity for our crew is completely optional. Many guests choose to leave a tip for the crew to share - a suggested amount is around 5% of the fare, but the crew is greatly appreciative of any amount.
What should I bring?
See the packing page for a complete list.
How do I get to the French?
See our traveling to Camden instructions page.

banner photo: Bridget Besaw Gorman; photos #1 & 3: Bridget Besaw Gorman; #2 & 4: Leo Straight

PO Box 992, Camden, ME 04843 - Phone 207-230-8320 or 1-800-469-4635