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Historic Schooner Bowdoin is Back Home in Castine 

Maine’s official sailing vessel is back in its home port after an extensive rehab in Camden.

We went aboard the Schooner Bowdoin Thursday to check out the progress.

“The joke is that the Schooner is never finished, meaning you start at the beginning and by the time you’re at the end, you start over at the beginning again,” said Emma Hathaway, Master of the Schooner Bowdoin.

For a tall ship built in 1921, the Schooner Bowdoin is in pretty good shape.

“There was quite a bit of reconstruction with the new decks, new ceiling planking and part of the hull and when we got her back here we put the masts in the sails on all the rigging up together,” said Hathaway.

Now, Maine Maritime Academy Students are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the historic tall ship.

The schooner is used as a training platform for MMA students.

“I think what’s really the most important, is that you’re getting exposed to everything,” said MMA student, Charleen Heidkamp. “I’ve never worked on tall ships before the Schooner Bowdoin, so almost everything is new to me as well as many of the crew.”

It’s an opportunity to get your feet wet, while working to preserve an important part of history.

MMA Professor and Former Captain of the Schooner Bowdoin Andy Chase says the tall ship has traveled around the world, and is one of the few remaining artic exploration vessels.

“And every single one of them has either been sunk, crashed, burned, or is out of the water on display in a museum somewhere,” said Chase. “And this is the only one that’s still operating and still doing exactly what she was built for in 1921.”

Beyond the rich history, lies an opportunity for personal growth.

MMA student Charleen Heidkamp has seen that firsthand. She conquered her fear of heights while working on the historic tall ship this summer.

“But now I love it,” said Heidkamp. “So we all grow as people through different experiences and that’s one of the ways I’ve grown through this.”

“You know it’s all about conquering fears and rising to challenges doing things you never thought you were capable of that’s a part of the experience,” said Chase.

The Schooner Bowdoin is in the final stages of its renovation, but MMA students and staff still need help.

For more information on how to donate, visit the Bowdoin Centennial Campaign’s website here.