Stomping Grounds 7: Downeast Maine

In episode 7 of Stomping Grounds, the Boat Trader crew heads up to Maine to learn about its rich boating culture and dive into the “Downeast” lifestyle. Viewers can follow along as host Ryan McVinney and boat reviewer Marilyn DeMartini explore picturesque fishing villages and make stops along the coast in Brooklin and Bar Harbor. Tune into the premiere on Thursday, September 29, and gear up for windjammers, lobsters, and wooden boats galore. 

Brooklin, Maine is the destination for all things wooden boats. Steve White, owner and operator of the Brooklin Boatyard gives us an introduction to these classic vessels at his facilities on the Eggamondon Reach. The Brooklin Boatyard specializes in wooden boat design, repair, and maintenance — a trade White is passionate about. Of course, an affinity for boats runs in White’s family. His grandfather, E.B. White, who authored classics like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, once said, “a small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble.”

Interestingly enough, this is not the only literary connection to be made at the Brooklin Boatyard. A Legend 38 Wheeler that is an exact replica of Ernest Hemingway’s vessel the Pilar sits right on the Reach. Wes and Marianne Wheeler of the Wheeler Yacht Company invite hosts Marilyn and Ryan aboard for a tour and cruise on the storied vessel. Wheeler’s great grandfather constructed the original Wheeler for Hemingway so many years ago, and one of Hemingway’s relatives worked with the Wheelers to conceptualize the replica. Later in the day, the Wheelers take the Boat Trader crew for a close-up look at the Eggamondon Reach Regatta, with its 15-mile course exclusive to wooden boat builders. 

This Legend 38 Wheeler is an exact replica of Ernest Hemingway’s historical Pilar.

Later on in the episode, we learn about another key part of Maine’s boating history: windjammer boats. In Camden, Captain Dennis Gallant tells the story of how the windjammer became synonymous with the region. From his own windjammer, the Angelique, he explains how the boats were traditionally rigged sailing vessels when they first made an appearance in 1936. The name “windjammer” actually used to be a derogatory term. Many thought if you owned one of these boats, you were merely “pretending to be a sailor.” Gallant also clues viewers into the unique conditions Maine’s geography creates for boaters with thousands of islands sheltered from big water on open bays.

For more on Maine’s boating history and culture, be sure to catch Thursday’s Youtube premiere of Stomping Grounds 7: Downeast Maine.