Maine Weekend: Sailing on the Victory Chimes
I love Maine. If I could live anywhere it would be in Maine. In fact of all the beautiful coasts I’ve visited from Florida to the Caribbean, Hawaii — even Thailand and Bali — none of them stir my heart quite the way that a fog covered rocky coast does. I was thrilled that we were doing a weekend sail onboard a 100-year-old beauty called the Victory Chimes.
The shoot had a rocky start due to rain but it was very clear from the moment we met Captain Kip and his fun crew that we were going to have a great time regardless of weather. Captain Kip is a man rarely found these days — a true old salt with a wicked sense of humor, he gave the impression that he could single handedly man the 180-ft ship himself.
My favorite part of the day became the morning line waiting for the shower. We couldn’t begin showering until 7am since the noise would cause a disturbance to the rooms just beneath it. So those of us who were early risers (or had to begin work in an hour) would make their way to the deck with a hot mug of coffee, tousled hair and sit on the bench waiting our turn as the sun came up. The water at that time in morning was like glass and as I sipped my coffee blinking the sleep from my eyes I knew that I was experiencing heaven on earth.
Our major stopover was in a tiny pristine village called Castine that was once occupied by the French, Dutch, British and then finally America. While in Castine we had a few drinks at one of the best pubs I’ve ever been to — The Passport Pub. It’s a cozy, old world hideaway with a small oak bar. The pub was covered in vintage photos, paintings and memorabilia from travels abroad. It was a bar Ernest Hemmingway had never been to but would have loved.
Also on Castine is the Maine Maritime Academy with a training simulator that is basically a million dollar video game. Here I felt what it was like to be the pilot of a tanker. I was told from the beginning that I would no doubt experience extreme sea sickness especially since I already have some troubles in that area, but I had such a great time that my inner ear forgot that I was in 12-ft swells trying to navigate through the NY harbor. Unfortunately, my soundman Dave Gaffney did not. And he owns his own sailboat!
For some strange reason, I said yes to climbing to the top of the mast. All 80ft of it. I was told I would be locked in, but found out at the last minute that you get safety attached when you make it to the top-not while climbing. The last part was the most nerve racking as I needed to climb out a bit to get over the crow’s nest, an act made more difficult by the fact that I was hugging the mast like an old school friend, not wanting to let go. Once on top it was a great view but I was still feeling uneasy and surprised by my sudden vulnerability and total lack of confidence. But then I looked across at the other mast to see that my cameraman Rory had climbed to the top with a large camera and was standing on the crow’s nest shooting me as I spoke — with no safety hook. Later when home and recounting my adventure that I had become rather proud of, I saw my husband’s face go from a smile to steely and grave. I was in trouble. And I understood why he was so upset. I really did love that I conquered the mast but ever since I have given more thought to if a shot is really worth it.
We had such a wonderful time on the Victory Chimes and it’s something I definitely want to do with my family some day.