Strong southerly winds May 11 assisted the crew of the schooner Olad as it made its way from winter storage in Rockland to its summer berth on the Camden waterfront.

Capt. Aaron Lincoln said he stores the schooner at Knight’s Marine because the Rockland boatyard allows owners to do their own work.

“There aren’t a lot of boatyards in the world that will let you do that,” he said.

As the Olad left the dock and motored toward the breakwater, Lincoln shared stories of the history of the well-known landmark while his four-person crew began to raise the sails.

As the sails filled and the Olad turned toward Mark Island, the crew described the various routes that had brought them to the Penobscot Bay windjammer fleet.

Jake Schmidt of Deer Isle, the newest member of the Olad‘s crew, is 18 years old and had previously worked as a sternman on a lobsterboat. After meeting Lincoln at the Camden Snow Bowl, where they both worked this past winter, Schmidt accepted an offer of employment with the schooner’s crew. The Olad‘s May 11 excursion was Schmidt’s first time ever under sail, he said.

Chrissy Shyne was living in Washington State when she decided, at the age of 21, to buy a van and cross the country. At that point, she, too, had never sailed.

“I drove to Key West and found the sun,” Shyne said. She said she went back to the West Coast and sold most of her possessions.

“I did whatever work I could to keep sailing,” she said. That was nine years ago. After she served on a crew that brought a 34-foot ketch to Camden, Shyne spent a season on “the green boats,” the Mercantile, Grace Bailey and Mistress.

She had worked for Lincoln aboard the Liberty in Key West and joined the Olad‘s crew five years ago. In January, she was a crew member aboard a junk-rigged schooner bringing relief aid to Haiti.

By contrast, Abbie Nugent grew up aboard the 57-foot Olad, which Lincoln bought from her parents in 2004. While not a regular member of the boat’s crew, the 21-year-old Nugent often helps on the schooner, Lincoln said.

“I’m still figuring out what I want to do,” Nugent said of her life plans. “I love being on the water.”

Matt Ondra, who joined the Olad crew in April, comes from Pennsylvania and started sailing at the age of 6 or 7 when his parents took the family on a cruise aboard a 52-foot sailboat in the Virgin Islands. When they returned to Pennsylvania, his father told him he was buying a boat of his own. Ondra said he was disappointed when he discovered the new boat was a 15-foot dinghy.

When Ondra was 12 the family bought a much larger sailboat and spent weekends on Chesapeake Bay. His first blue water trip — out of sight of land — was a voyage to Panama when he was 17.

“Last summer I crossed the Atlantic on a Bruce Roberts 44, a homemade steel-hulled boat,” he said. “I was in Bermuda with my father and jumped ship in five minutes for a chance to go across the Atlantic.”

As the Olad left Rockland Harbor, Lincoln brought out a bottle of Newfoundland Screech and poured some across the bow.

“It’s the only rum made in the North Atlantic,” he said. Lincoln said he has always toasted the first sail of the season in this way, but this year’s celebration was special. He said the Olad was the first of the region’s 16 schooners to travel under sail this year.

“I think we were the first in the state,” he said May 17. “We got our sails on first, we sailed first, and took the first passengers of the season on Saturday [May 15].”

“It’s a friendly rivalry,” Lincoln said. He said in his six years owning the schooner this is the first time he hasn’t been the last one to sail to summer quarters.

“At first I didn’t know how the others did it,” he said. “Now I know they work all winter long.”

After the trip from Rockland to Camden, Lincoln planned to take the crew, who had worked with him to ready the Olad for the summer season, on a weekend trip to Stonington. Once back in their homeport, Schmidt will work on the Lazy Jack. Ondra and Shyne will share first mate’s responsibilities, joining Lincoln on the Olad’s five daily two-hour trips, and a number of private charters, he said. The season is scheduled to end Oct. 17.

The Olad rounded Mark Island on May 11, took the force of the wind on the beam, and heeled over, seawater flowing past the deck planks at a speed of 7.6 knots, or 9.5 mph

“Most people don’t realize that, once the rails are in the water, it’s as stable as the boat can be,” Lincoln said.

Lincoln talked about the history and wildlife of the islands that surround Knox County’s well-known ports and described the topography of the ocean bottom.

Lincoln said he enjoys the questions posed to him by those who visit Penobscot Bay each summer.

“I’d rather have a boat full of people who are interested and ask questions,” Shyne said of the information she and Lincoln will be likely to relate many times in the coming months. Lincoln agreed. He said he was once a passenger on a windjammer out of Eastport and found himself asking the same sorts of questions he hears every day during his summers on Penobscot Bay.

“I’m just like every other tourist,” he said.

Learn more about the Olad at or call 236-2323.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at