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“A thrill and a tonic” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Schooner J. & E. Riggin Day Cruises

Schooner J. & E. Riggin Day Cruises
Ranked #4 of 14 Tours in Rockland
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Attraction details
Owner description: Gourmet sailing cruises, daily. Departing and returning from/to Rockland, Maine.
Ottawa, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A thrill and a tonic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2014

Whether you are a first-timer or an old-salt, sailing 3, 4, 6 or 10 days out of Rockland, Maine, on Penobscot Bay aboard a wooden schooner is a thrill and a tonic and there are none better than the J&E Riggin and her crew. Faced with a dozen choices, I picked the Riggin more from a gut feeling than from comparing vessel dimensions, features, or sail plans. I’ve been thanking my gut ever since.

I’ve sailed with Captains and co-owners Jon and Annie over a dozen times and I look forward to each trip, year after year. I avail myself of the early-bird and repeat customer (Riggin Relics) discounts but that’s like a bonus to the real prize: the sigh of contentment that ends every day aboard.

The vehicle to that contentment is a converted 1927 oyster dredging boat that has been designated a National Historical Monument: that signifies charm and warmth rather than old and staid, especially when she deploys her sails, with the help of passengers heaving at the lines, lifts her skirts and the boat gently heels, slicing through the frothing waters, picking up speed and spreading smiles all around. The sky is blue, with a dash of cloud to add texture and variety if not temperament to the moment. We sail even in the rain: nothing but very, very high winds can deprive us from our daily dose of Aaaah!

I spent from 9 to 19 September 2013 on the schooner. I had gone in June and couldn’t resist returning, especially since, as a repeat customer, I had an additional discount. The first group (Aye, matey, these were back-to back trips, the first of six days, the second of four) was of 19, me included and numbered five people I had encountered on the Riggin previously (that’s a clue to take note of). The second manifest totalled 20, all newbies (also notable), except for me.

The trip was cooler at this time of year and we had heavy fog and rain, and, one night, a spectacular lightning show with huge strikes in the distance with what I had never seen in Maine: horizontal zig-zagging bolts between clouds. Oh, we also had some sun. The sailing was light (Captain using the engine from the yawl to push us along) to great (heeling and going 8.7 knots, even 9.4 while running from another storm). I helped at every occasion while changing tack and the Captain offered me a turn at the wheel (re. thrill cited above). As usual, shipmates are always an interesting bunch. A highlight of this trip was this guy Alex who could trade jokes with me, recite poetry (one in particular he wrote about the night sky was excellent) and, using a laser pointer, taught me more about constellations and their mythology in one evening than I ever knew. The food from Annie’s wood burning stove is always appetizing and plentiful. If you don’t know, she authored two cook books. I didn’t deprive myself of all desserts as I did in June but ate the smallest serving: a supreme act of will and self-discipline!!! Everything is sooooo goooood!

The second trip was just as interesting and had varied sailing and weather conditions, including requiring putting in a reef in the mainsail while underway as we jumped from a light breeze going through water at 2.3 knots to 30 to 35 knots of wind and a ship speed of 6.4 knots.

After sunsets of gold, evenings are entertaining. After fabulous desserts served on deck, under the awning, jokes and stories are traded and there is a musical evening with the Captain playing guitar and Annie singing, often accompanied by crew and passengers. Mariners and troubadours welcome.

At anchor in a different bay every night, you can swish the water around and see a phosphorescent trail under a sky so dark, one can lose sight of the Big and Little Dippers among the billions of Milky Way stars showing up. (re. tonic cited above).

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Robert D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“The respite you didn't know you needed”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2013

Wanted a sailing experience that wouldn't be too taxing, as 1 of the 4 (2 couples) of us was still recovering from surgery. Talk about a great choice for being pampered - pow! From the minute you walk on board, there's nibbles, and languid conversations, and comfy blankets on your bunk, and even flowers in the head! There is something really therapeutic about just sitting still with the wind in your face, while with a secret smile in the corner of your mouth you know that a fantastic meal is moments away. It's always just moments away, so if you want to chop veggies and be part of the kitchen chumminess better not let the post card views distract you from getting into the galley. Bottom line - after the voyage, i've been able to call up that trip, and it calms me, restores me, and makes me happy again. The four of us joke, "think of the Riggin", as a montra. The get-a-way that keeps giving? Now who doesn't need that?

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Kate R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A Perfect Vacation”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2013

Maine has a fleet of about a dozen historic schooners sailing the waters between Rockland and Acadia National Park. We came to Maine to explore its maritime history, and a schooner cruise seemed like just the way to do it.

We chose the J & E Riggin, pretty much by chance, but it turned out to be a very happy choice. We found that we were sailing with a number of repeat customers, including one gentleman who had taken many trips with them in the past and was taking two back-to-back cruises this year. He said that he had tried sailing with two other boats, but came back to the Riggin which he liked the best.

We chose a 4 day cruise in early September, thinking that it would be less crowded than summer and we might have better wind for sailing, and that worked out quite well.

The boat is sailed by Captains Jon and Annie, who are also its owners. Both are licensed skippers, plus Annie was formally trained as a chef and has a well earned reputation for the magic she performs in the galley. We also had three young crew members, who impressed me as very competent and serious about their jobs, so we were in good hands.

The cabins are small, which is typical for these boats, but my wife and I found that we and our gear could fit into ours and be comfortable. We had two soft-sided suitcases plus an athletic bag containing shoes and rain gear, and these fitted easily into the storage spaces provided. I slept very well on our trip. I suppose the gentle motion of the boat was soothing, though I was scarcely aware of it.

Had we been on the boat a few more days, I probably would have gotten around to exploring their library, but as it was I never tired of being on deck and watching the water, the sky, the trim of the sail, and the passing scenery. We quickly fell into a comfortable routine of getting up, morning coffee on deck, a nice breakfast, and then raising anchor and getting underway. We sailed through spectacular scenery, anchoring at night for another excellent dinner. It was really peaceful…no phones ringing, no computers, no sounds of the city…I loved it.

Visited September 2013
5 Thank dg7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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