That long look down on the left extends across an expanse of sail that would satisfy 23 times over the needs of the little "Ariel" slipping along to leeward of the schooner "Victory Chimes." The three-masted, 132-foot, 208-ton "Chimes," built as a cargo craft in 1900, is the largest schooner carrying vacationers on summer cruises in Maine waters, and, of all of them, she is the undoubted queen. Manned by a crew of college boys and girls under Captain Frederick B. Guild (rhymes with wild) and rejoicing in an incredible Filipino cook, the "Chimes" sleeps up to 42 passengers and provides enough escape in a week to tranquilize a full year's accumulation of frazzled nerves. The diversions and pleasures of windjamming are both austere and gentle. The most active of them is eating; a less vigorous undertaking is catching up, as is the lady in the picture below, on your important reading.
Days on the Victory Chimes arc taken up with examining the coastline and the sea, watching the sun rise or the fog roll in or, when the ship lies at anchor, going ashore to walk through one of Maine's lovely seaside towns, now without visible means of support but with their great white houses still somehow maintained and intact.
Among the gentlest of the pleasures is the relative silence. The Victory Chimes has no engine and, when she is under way, the noises are those of wind and water, the cries of birds, the near speech of the ship herself and her rigging and sails, and the sweet metallic clangor of the bell buoys. As for austere diversions, there is swimming over the side of the ship—few diversions are more austere than bathing in deep water off the Maine coast.
Not all of Captain Guild's passengers are up to so much tranquillity, and he realizes that not everybody will find it sufficient simply to be on the water in one of the last relics of the days of sail. It is an effort for the captain to realize this: he himself is wholly happy on the Chimes all summer, and he spends his winters dragging for scallops, rising at 4 and often staying out on the winter sea until 7 in the evening seven days a week. But, gathering that the fun of this escapes some people, he tries to make it clear in the Victory Chimes brochures what the cruises are like. The $150 that one pays for a six-day, six-night cruise guarantees no dancing girls and no visits to ports more exotic than Boothbay Harbor, where one can, as a matter of fact, buy a cocktail if one is so inclined. But Captain Guild has a way of communicating his immense contentment with the sea and, as the week proceeds, the beauty he sees everywhere becomes more and more apparent. An overtired mind will shift gears, and the scale of what excites and interests will alter. The scenery becomes visible. Seals and porpoises are recognized as events. A visit to a fish hatchery or to an old museum is anticipated with childlike delight.
August 7, 1966
"Where are we going now?" a passenger asked the captain toward the end of one cruise.
"Oh, we're going up this little bay and put over both anchors. And we'll stay for the rest of the summer and swim and eat lobsters and have popovers morning, noon and night," he answered. It sounded, at that point, like all the excitement a rational human being could bear.