Maine Windjammer Cruises, North America’s first and oldest fleet of wind-powered passenger vessels, has announced that Capt. Ray Williamson will be releasing his book, Maine Windjammer Cruises “Keeping the Tradition Alive,” a pictorial history of the company’s vessels from the early cargo days to the present.

The book, written in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Maine Windjammer Cruises, will be available at a book signing party hosted by Capt. Ray and Ann Williamson on board their flagship Schooner Grace Bailey at the Public Landing in Camden. The public is welcome to board on Sunday, June 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. to raise a toast to the success of the book and the next 75 years of “Keeping the Tradition Alive”.

Guests are invited to tour the vessel and partake of light Maine fare.

Written during the winter of 2010-2011, the final product is a 172 page, 11 by 14 hard cover book filled with the history and stories of Maine Windjammer Cruises, ranging from the days of cargo to the present. More than 100 full-page images of the fleet’s ships, captains and passengers illustrate the remarkable past of these historic schooners.

“Ann and I wanted to do something special for our passengers this year in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Maine Windjammer Cruises,” said Capt. Ray Williamson in a news release. “As is our business, this book was a labor of love, and I am grateful for the many people who helped with the research and collection of information. Special thanks goes to Rod Swift, who never tired of my questions about his father’s company, and endless thanks go out to all of the “old salts,” the passengers, past and present who provide the cargo that give these vessels purpose. They are ultimately responsible for the continued existence of these windjammers, and we are so proud to be ‘keeping the tradition alive.’”

“Perhaps its most striking aspect is how little Maine Windjammer Cruises has changed in its fundamentals,” said Roderick Swift, son of Capt. Frank Swift, founder of Maine Windjammer Cruises. “Yes, the times have changed immensely, and the lives of the people who sign aboard for a cruise bear little resemblance to the lifestyles of the past—one need only look at photographs of Camden harbor from 1940 and from today to see clear evidence of both of those changes. And, yes, the amenities provided aboard the schooners are better: electric lights instead of kerosene lanterns, lifelines to protect you from falling overboard, fewer dormitory-style cabins. But the schooners and what they offer would seem entirely familiar to time-travelers from 1940. They would come aboard, perhaps even to the same vessel that they sailed on seven decades ago. There they would find similar accommodations and friendly crews to welcome them, enjoy the same relaxing atmosphere, eat well and sumptuously—the food prepared over the same wood-burning galley stoves—make new friends among their fellow passengers and, best of all, sail the beautiful coast of Maine under a spread of sail on an old-time coaster. And that can’t be beat!”