Schooner Surprise changes hands
Camden — When Captain Jack and Barbara Moore sailed into Camden some 30 years ago, the town was becoming the homeport for an increasing day sailing fleet.
For the last 27 years they have been a fixture in the harbor, providing passengers a sail of a lifetime on the Schooner Surprise. The day-sailer will kick another season this summer, but something will look a little different.
This past spring the Moores made the decision to sell their labor of love to Capt. Ramiro de Acevedo Ramos and his wife Nicole. According to Moore -- better known as Captain Jack -- the couple will continue with a family-run day sailing schedule much the same as his family did.
“Nicole and Ramiro de Acevedo Ramos are a young local couple who are extremely excited about continuing the day sailing business as a family adventure,” Moore said. “Their seven-year-old daughter Delfina lights up whenever she comes on board.”
The Moores have been stewards of the 96 year-old schooner listed on the National Register of Historic Places and were highly selective in finding new owners.
Moore said he and his wife feel the de Acevedo Ramoses are the perfect fit, having been captain and mate on large, local boats which they have sailed between Maine and the Caribbean.
“In so many ways we feel that we are transferring ownership of our beloved Surprise to very capable hands,” Moore said. “Capt. Ramiro and Nicole have already engaged Rockport Marine in new projects for Surprise. An expert facility like this is necessary to maintain a vessel like Surprise to the standards she well deserves.”
He added, “This family is just a perfect fit at a time in our lives when we would like to enjoy some longer distance sailing. First, on the Maine Coast and then, well, we are not quite sure. That is the adventure of cruising. We would like to thank all the many local businesses for their enthusiastic support over the years and we feel confident that the de Acevedo Ramos family will have many years of successful day sailing adventures before them.”
The Moores sailed into Camden Harbor in the early 1980s with their crew of four children onboard Milky Way, a 38-foot ketch that was their home for seven years.
Moore noted, at that time, Camden was in the early stages of becoming a popular destination for visitors to the state of Maine seeking the experience of a schooner sail.
“We only took six passengers on that boat and sometimes we felt we had most of the tourists in town that day,” said Barbara Moore.
As larger, multi-passenger boats arrived the Moores knew they needed a bigger boat to keep up with competition.
“I remember that cold, November day in 1986 when we drove into the boatyard in Falmouth, Cape Cod and got our first view of Surprise hauled out for a Coast Guard inspection. She looked every bit like a ship model. We were hooked!” Moore said.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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