For Immediate Release
National Historic Landmark Tall Ship
Celebrates 100th Year
Once there were thousands of American sailing ships
with three or more masts- including one having seven
masts - plying their trade along the North American
coast line. These large sailing ships delivered the
goods of a developing nation to far way ports and
across great oceans. Today there is but a single
American built survivor, still sailing, from those
long lost days when the large sailing ships dominated
America's "Golden Age of Sail."
That vessel is the three-masted schooner, Victory
Chimes. Nautical historians refer to Victory Chimes
as a "Chesapeake Bay Ram." About 30 of
these Rams were built at yards along the Nanticoke
River from 1870 to around 1920. The Chesapeake Bay
Rams are considered to be some of America's most
successful cargo sailing vessels, earning that reputation
during an era that saw steam powered vessels taking
over the trade.
According to her owners, Victory Chimes is essentially
still doing the job she was designed for. "She
is still a working vessel, built to try and generate
income, under sail, for her owners," says Capt
Kip Files, who along with Capt Paul DeGaeta, own
and operate the historic schooner. With no auxiliary
engine, Victory Chimes is the largest American flagged,
pure sailing vessel, still in operation.
The schooner was built at Bethel, Delaware in 1900,
where she was christened the Edwin and Maud after
her first captain's two children. For the past hundred
years, she has quietly supported a succession of
owners. During the first half of the 20th Century,
she carried lumber and fertilizer along the Eastern
Seaboard. Edwin and Maud served as a merchant vessel
during both World Wars. Because she was constructed
of wood, she was assigned duty during WWII to check
the antisubmarine mine fields of the Chesapeake Bay,
to make sure magnetic mines were still on station.
After WWII, she was converted to the passenger trade,
sailing for several years out of Annapolis. In 1954,
she was sold and sailed by her new owners to Maine,
where she was re-christened Victory Chimes. She has
been sailing as a Windjammer ever since and now sails
out of the port of Rockland. In 1997, Victory Chimes
became one of only 127 vessels designated an American
National Historic Landmark.
Victory Chimes returned to the Chesapeake Bay in
September, to celebrate her centennial anniversary.
After participating in The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner
Race, to bring awareness to environmental issues
of the Bay upon which she was launched, she arrived
at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, where she
wintered. The centennial celebration will occur on
the 100th Anniversary of her launching, Saturday,
April 15, 2000 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
in St. Michaels, Maryland. Expected to be on hand,
are dozens of descendants from those with a connection
to the ships storied past. They include family members
of the ships designer, the owner of the yard where
she was built, the ships first captain and others
who sailed aboard and helped her survive to celebrate
this incredible anniversary. One of the guest speakers
for the event will be Captain Jan Miles, of Pride
of Baltimore II, dean of the Chesapeake Bay traditional
sailing Captains. He and Capt Kip Files came aboard
the traditional sail industry as youngsters together
in the early 1970's.
"We've been planning this visit to the Bay
for about five years," said Capt Paul DeGaeta. "Victory
Chimes has endeared herself to two distinct regions
of the Atlantic Coast. Kip and I both felt it was
important that we celebrate this milestone anniversary
on the waters where she was launched."
Capt Files said the vessel will have a busy summer. "After
her centennial celebration and a short sailing season
in the bay, we will then head back to Maine, with
a stop in New York. We are scheduled to host Governor
Angus King and promote Maine Windjamming during a
short stop at South Street Sea Port. From there,
we will return to our home waters in time to participate
in the Booth Bay Windjammer Days, in mid June. Then
we will enjoy the vessels 100th anniversary season
sailing with our passengers for the rest of the summer.
They are the reason this vessel has lasted so long."
Unfortunately, the Victory Chimes will not be attending
any of the Tall Ship events scheduled for the East
Coast this summer. "We are a working vessel,
and that's the time of year that we work," said
Files. "It has been that way for most of her
history-she hasn't had the luxury of blocking out
time from her passenger carrying duties to get away
for these events. Although there have been a few
ports willing to help her financially, the foreign
built class A vessels seem to get all the attention.
So if you want to visit the only American built and
owned Class A Tall Ship, you will have to come to
Maine were America's fleet of historic sailing vessels-The
Maine Windjammer's- have there own tall ship event,
for those lucky few passengers who book cruises,
every week all summer long. This is truly Maine's
best kept secret."
For further information about Victory Chimes or
her 100th Anniversary celebration call (800) 745-5651,
or visit their web site at www.victorychimes.com.