As we enter a quarter century of ownership, we want to wish each of you — those who have joined us and been part of our history with Victory Chimes — a Happy Holiday and prosperous New Year.
As most of us realize, Victory Chimes has a soul and we are all connected with her in our own particular way. We are part of her proud history in the “here and now” as her sails catch an optimistic wind and her bow cuts a wake still leaving a mark upon the turbulent waters of maritime and American history. She has proudly sailed under the American ensign for 115 years now.
Victory Chimes is the end of the line — the soul operating survivor — of the once massive fleet of three-masted or larger American schooners that grew this country’s economy during America’s Golden Age of Sail.
In 2014, Victory Chimes, launched in 1900 in the small town of Bethel, Delaware, celebrated her 60th year Down East. The waters of Penobscot Bay are where her legend grew; where she became an iconic image to artists, photographers, and millions of tourists. So much so, that a schooner launched in the Chesapeake Bay made its way onto the back of the Maine State quarter.
She was put there by an adoring Maine public who voted her image, sailing by the Pemaquid Light, onto their quarter. Voters realized Victory Chimes represented the last of the large working schooners Maine had launched in the thousands, but were now all gone. They realized she’d been a symbol of Maine for more than a half century. It didn’t deter them that she wasn’t Maine built, they felt she earned the right as a worthy representative of Maine’s maritime history by outlasting the rest.
We continue to sail her like she was sailed in 1900, and we continue sailing Penobscot Bay that provided such a great sailing season in 2014. The weather was beautiful, the breezes mostly fair and the scenery, as always, exquisite.
Even though we’ve guided Victory Chimes through the enchanted islands in and around Penobscot Bay, it still reveals new charms to us constantly. This past season we saw whales, dozens of bald eagles, seals and amazing wildlife. We saw meteor showers from a secluded anchorage, the Northern Lights once and an evening where the Milky Way looked so close you could swim in it.
Victory Chimes took Line Honors in the Great Schooner Race (first across the finish line) for the second straight year. A photo with Victory Chimes in it won the Maine Windjammer Association photo contest for the second straight year. We had a beautiful wedding aboard, some great theme cruises and some awesome sailing, hitting 9-10 knots on several occasions. We are including this summer’s sailing schedule in hopes that you’ll come back and join us in making more memories.
As caretakers, you renew us each year with your loyalty and support. You make us feel like we are still in our 30s, realizing a proud dream of owning and sailing the last of America’s large schooners still working under sail.
Thanks for your support.
Capt. Kip Files and Capt. Paul DeGaeta