Celebrating 60 on the high seas

For Lolly Lovett, September 10th was not going to be just another birthday. Lolly was turning 60 and she wanted to celebrate the occasion surrounded by friends and family doing something they all loved: sailing. So she called the Maine Windjammer Association and reserved a ship – an entire ship – for a long weekend.

More and more, passengers are chartering entire vessels to celebrate family reunions. Away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people have a unique opportunity to become re-acquainted. They can relax and enjoy one another’s company aboard historic ships sailing along Maine’s rugged coast.

Lovett was concerned about meals for two vegetarians so, prior to departure, she spoke to the head chef, who reassured her they would be able to accommodate guests with a range of dietary concerns. And they do it all from the galley. “What I was impressed with is that everything was made aboard ship: ice cream for my birthday, cookies, cake, just the most incredible tasting food I’d ever had. There was a variety of breads – some had olives, others had herbs; it was just amazing.”

The Lovetts set sail with 16 adults and three children. There are no age minimums when you charter a whole windjammer. The musically inclined Lovetts brought a keyboard and found camaraderie with a musical crew and captain who made evenings even more delightful. “The crew was awesome. They were so friendly and helpful. The captain was wonderful and everybody had a great sense of humor,” said Lolly.

The Lovetts played an important role in choosing an itinerary. They were always consulted about potential ports of call, well aware that the final choice would depend on wind and weather.

For Lolly’s birthday, the crew organized a lobster bake on an uninhabited island. Lobsters were nestled in seaweed and steamed over a campfire on a beach with corn on the cob. “It was the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had,” said Lolly. Once everyone had enjoyed two lobsters and their fill of freshly-made cake and ice cream, the crew cleaned everything up and got everybody back on the boat.

“My family likes to sail, they like to eat, they like to be with family – it was a great reunion. With the exception of hoisting sails, which we love to do, we didn’t have to lift a finger. Wonderful food, wonderful scenery, wonderful weather.” Would she do it again for her 70th? “If I’m still mobile and here, yeah sure, why not!”

With passenger capacities ranging from six to 40 guests, the 14 vessels in the Maine Windjammer Association can accommodate most reunions. For a larger group, chartering a second boat is always an option. Contact Maine Windjammer Association, 800-807-WIND; www.sailmainecoast.com.

Photos from this charter can be downloaded at: www.sailmainecoast.com/pk_pictures.html

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