August 31 – September 2, 2012
Camden’s Windjammer Festival was a full weekend of activities. The big, wooden schooners began their decent on the town midday on Friday. One or two at a time, they would sail through the harbor and find their resting place at the town docks. The harbor master had become the festival’s announcer, and introduced each ship as it came in.
Once the ships were in their places, the festivities could begin. Various exhibit booths lined the waterfront. Teams were frantically building their own wooden boats, made from the two sheets of plywood, glue and duck tape that was provided for them. They would eventually launch and attempt to race their boats, and perhaps find that they might sink. A local lobsterman gave a lobster hauling talk. There were remote control boat races, a sea dog show, and a scuba diving demo. The fire department did a rescue swimmer talk and demonstration. A Navy ship, anchored outside the harbor, was open for tours, and there was even a wedding onboard one schooner.
Pirates had set up shop in the nearby park, so they could teach kids how to be pirates. They discussed the official pirate articles, demonstrated sword duals and cannon firing, and showed how to beg for your life or walk the plank. The pirates were constantly needing volunteers!
For us, the highlight of this local festival was the Lobster Crate Race. Twenty-four wooden lobster crates were placed in the water and tied together, creating a “pathway” from one dock to another. The contestants attempt to run across as many crates as they can within the allotted two minutes, a tricky feat since the crates sink or tip the moment you step foot on them.
Colin desperately wanted to have his chance at running the crates, so we signed him up. Most of the contestants were from Maine, with a few from other parts of New England, so we were quite excited to have been able to provide a southern representative for this local tradition.
The most successful crate racers were young, lightweight, and were obviously trained and experienced. These racers were most impressive with their speed and endurance. The winner achieved 264 crates. First timers ran as few as 3 crates, or as many as 60 crates. A few adults attempted the run, but went swimming almost immediately.
Colin was introduced as Lobster Pot Lang, and his cheering section not only consisted of the Full Monty crew, but of all our new cruising friends. While we never heard Colin’s official number, he managed to run about 4 1/2 lengths (109 crates) before he splashed into the frigid water. Colin was very happy with his achievement, and we were all extremely proud of him.
[Watch the Lobster Crate Race video]
After a fun-filled day, we hosted a potluck dinner onboard Full Monty. The eats were fantastic, and the music even better. Imagine “House of the Rising Sun” played by 3 guitars, a fiddle, and a penny whistle! After Colin played along with the adults, he headed up the kids’ concert, consisting of 3 guitars, a ukele, a harmonica, and a recorder. Jusitne performed a couple of solos on her keyboard. We rocked the anchorage into the night!
The final day of the festival came to a close with fireworks over the harbor. We all gathered together on the other kid catamaran to watch the performance, before making our good-bye rounds to a couple of other boats. The next morning we would be leaving Camden, temporarily separating from our cruising buddies, and beginning our southern journey to warmer waters.