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

A Little History

maine tallshipBuilt by the French brothers and named for their father, the schooner Lewis R. French was launched in April, 1871, in Christmas Cove, Maine. She is the last schooner remaining of thousands built in Maine during the 19th century. Due to some luck and love, the French has carried an assortment of cargoes for various owners around the Northeast for over 130 years! She freighted bricks, lumber, firewood, granite, fish, lime, canning supplies, Christmas trees, and now people. Windjammer French sailing circa 1890

She worked hard carrying freight until 1971, when she then spent 3 years being rebuilt for the passenger trade. Much of her hull was renewed with massive timbers of oak, pine, and fir. She still looks, feels, and sails much like she would have the day she was launched, and the French boys would be proud to see her sails drawing as she heads Downeast.

The French was proudly named a National Historic Landmark and has a large following. From folks that have sailed on her as a windjammer to old-timers who remember her when she carried freight, the French has touched many people. It is a truly unique experience to sail on a vessel that has been active since shortly after the death of Abraham Lincoln!

Windjammer French anchored

Today

The French is still operated much how she would have been during the age of sail. She has no inboard engine, relying on 3,000 square feet of sail to propel her. She has four lower sails and two topsails. If the wind dies, a push from our yawlboat "Greyhound" will help her along. All the sails are still raised and trimmed by hand, and the anchor is manually raised each morning using our windlass. There are no engines on deck or below to spoil the serenity. The French is 101 feet overall, 65 feet on deck, with 19 feet of beam. She draws 7.5 feet with a full keel. A proven vessel in all conditions, she is a nifty and quick sailor, having won the Great Schooner Race many times. The French has also participated in recent Tall Ships gatherings in Boston.

The French is inspected annually by the U.S. Coast Guard, is outfitted with modern navigation equipment such as VHF, GPS and radar, and is in top-shape.

banner photo: Andy Watras; photo #3: Neal Parent

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

The Lewis R. French is a proud member of the Maine Windjammer Association.