Thursday, September 15, 2016

Boy Scouts take on the high seas of Maine - By Michelle Libby

Boy Scouts from Windham’s Troop 805 spend a week aboard a 45- foot schooner sailboat off the coast of Maine. The three adults and eight Scouts left from Buck’s Harbor on the Alamar and sailed up past Mount Desert Island and explored many coves and islands between there and North Haven.

The trip was for older Scouts and they learned a lot about sailing from how to hoist and lower the sails, to raising and propping anchor and how to steer and chart a course, according to Scoutmaster Chuck Libby. 

“We’d done a trip like this once before under the direction of Captain Tedd Gifford. The boys wanted to do it again,” Libby said. Gifford has been sailing most of his life and enjoys teaching the Scouts.
“Sailing builds character. It provides an experience they may not have had otherwise. It builds confidence. It gives them an appreciation for the beauty of their state and the coast of Maine. It teaches them to fend for themselves but also to be part of a team. They learn many skills including cooking, cleaning, navigating, tying knots, and the art of sailing,” said Gifford.

The boys had the chance to swim off the boat and explore islands that very few people get to see. For one Scout Mackerel Cove on Swan’s Island was his favorite stop. They saw porpoises and a sea lion or two. 

Libby compared staying on a boat like hiking, where you sleep in a different location each night and “every day brought new challenges.” The space was tight, but they made it work often sleeping on deck for the cooler air and more space. 

“It’s all about the boys. They did everything. The adults are right there to make sure they’re safe, but that’s it,” Libby said.

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