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Schooner Lewis R French

Schooner Lewis R French

Schooner Lewis R French

Schooner Lewis R French - Camden Maine

Lewis R French under sail

Boat Type: Schooner

Year Built: 1871

Length Overall: 101 feet

Length on Deck: 65 feet

# of Passengers: 21

Cruise Options: 3, 4, or 6 day trips

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks

Cruise Price: $560 - $930

Accepts Kids: 16+

Season: May - October

Port: Camden Harbor

Boat Description

The Schooner Lewis R. French was launched in April 1871 in Christmas Cove, Maine. The Lewis R. French is the oldest commercial schooner in the United States, and was recently designated a National Historic Landmark. This sailing vessel was built by the French brothers, who named the ship for their father. The Lewis R. French was a sailing vessel primarily used to transport freight and cargo until 1971. Three years later, the Lewis R. French was rebuilt but this time with the Windjammer passenger trade in mind. The rebuilding process used many quantities of timber, pine, fir, and oak. Today, the Lewis R. French still sails but with passengers in tow. She has two topsails and four lower sails which are all raised and trimmed by hand, and makes use of a yawlboat when there is not enough wind. She has also won the Great Schooner Race multiple times, and has taken part in many Tall Ship gatherings. The Lewis R. French undergoes an annual inspection from the US Coast Guard and makes use of GPS and radar. The 2010 season marks the schooner's 139th summer in Maine.

Boat Photographs

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Cruise Information

You will board the Lewis R French in the beautiful homeport of Camden, Maine. The Lewis R French is docked at the head of the harbor in a cheerful town park and the boat is very easy to find. We'll spend the first night of the cruise docked in Camden Harbor and you'll be able to check out the sights, shops, and restaurants all within walking distance of our dock.


The next morning we'll set out into Penobscot Bay. The destinations of each trip are dictated by the wind, tide, and mood, for the French is pure sail and has no inboard engine. Once the sails are set and trimmed, perhaps we'll head downeast towards Acadia National Park or towards enchanting Eggemoggin Reach. Our anchorages are mostly deserted islands or small island lobster fishing towns. It is truly escaping to places few folks will ever experience.


Spend the days trimming sails, steering the schooner, learning about the Maine coast and wildlife, or just sit back, read a book, and watch the scenery drift past. We often see bald eagles, seals, porpoises and occasionally whales. The galley crew cooks up delicious meals on our wood cookstove, so those sea going appetites will be satisfied and then some. When the sun begins to set, the French will settle into a cozy harbor and swing silently at anchor.


While at anchor, you can launch one of our rowboats and explore the area. Head ashore for some beachcombing or hike around a small Maine island town, but be sure to be back aboard for a hearty dinner. After dessert, enjoy time with your new shipmates, check out the beautiful night sky, or perhaps just enjoy the quiet and serenity.


One of the afternoons of your trip we will anchor at a deserted island and row ashore for an All-You-Can-Eat Lobster Bake. We'll cook up the freshest lobster you've ever had on a beachside bonfire and you can dig right in.


During your trip we'll sail around the hundreds of islands that dot our cruising grounds. You'lll settle into the rhythm of shipboard life and leave that "other world" behind. By trip's end, your new shipmates will have become new friends and you'll understand why many of our guests come back every year for a sail on the French.

Trip & Rate Information (2010 Sailing Season)

Boarding Return Trip Rate/Person
May 27 May 31 4-Days Thursday to Monday $575
June 2 June 6 4-Days Wednesday to Sunday $575
June 6 June 12 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $815
June 13 June 17 4-Days Sunday to Thursday $610
June 20 June 26 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $875
June 26 June 29 3-Days Saturday to Tuesday $560
July 1 July 4 3-Days Thursday to Sunday $560
July 4 July 10 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $930
July 10 July 14 4-Days Saturday to Wednesday $720
July 15 July 19 4-Days Thursday to Monday $720
July 21 July 25 4-Days Wednesday to Sunday $720
July 25 July 31 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $930
Aug 1 Aug 7 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $930
Aug 8 Aug 11 3-Days Sunday to Wednesday $615
Aug 11 Aug 14 3-Days Wednesday to Saturday $615
Aug 15 Aug 19 4-Days Sunday to Thursday $720
Aug 19 Aug 23 4-Days Thursday to Monday $720
Aug 25 Aug 29 4-Days Wednesday to Sunday $720
Aug 30 Sept 4 4+ Days Monday to Saturday $735
Sept 5 Sept 11 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $850
Sept 12 Sept 18 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $850
Sept 18 Sept 22 4-Days Saturday to Wednesday $645
Sept 23 Sept 27 4-Days Thursday to Monday $645
Sept 29 Oct 3 4-Days Wednesday to Sunday $645
Oct 3 Oct 9 6-Days Sunday to Saturday $815

Ship Accommodations

Guest Cabins Aboard The Schooner Lewis R French

The Lewis R. French has 6 double bed cabins, 2 bunkbed cabins, and 5 single cabins (with NO singles supplements for singles). When the French was converted from a cargo vessel to a passenger vessel, cabins were built in the main hold. The cabins are cozy and comfortable. There is standing headroom, nooks and hooks to stow all your gear, and a comfortable bed in every one. Each cabin has running fresh water, an opening window, electric reading lights, and comes furnished with linens, blankets, and towels. All the cabins are about the same size, each is unique in its own way.


Two heads (bathrooms) are located on deck, one with a hot fresh water shower. The deck is 65 feet long, so there is plenty of room to stretch out. We have cushions, benches, and folding chairs for relaxation. We also have an awning to provide cover from hot sun or wet weather while we are at anchor.


Our galley is located up forward where our crew cooks all our meals on a wood cookstove. We can serve everyone at once in the galley, though we often serve buffet style on deck. The galley is also a great place for games or reading or just enjoying the warmth of our woodstove.


Good Eats

All day long the galley crew will cook up delicious meals, snacks and desserts on our wood cookstove. We'll have coffee and muffins on deck at 6:30 for you early risers up to enjoy the solitude of the morning light. Breakfast at 8 might include Maine blueberry pancakes, maple sausage links, real Maine maple syrup and homemade jams, cereals, juice and coffee. After a morning of sailing (and cranking up the anchor if you're feeling strong) you'll be ready for a hearty lunch of homemade soup, salad, bread and fruit. Save room for dessert. Dinner might include coriander pork tenderloin with a side of garlic mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus and hot buttered rolls. Did we mention dessert? We love to serve cakes, pies and crisps and it's a dessert tradition on board to make homemade ice cream once a week. You haven't tasted ice cream this thick and creamy in a long time! Needless to say, you won't go hungry.


We like to serve meals buffet style on deck or family style below in the galley, depending on the weather. There is sitting room for everyone below. The galley is also a great place for playing games, reading, learning a new recipe, or just enjoying the warmth of the woodstove and socializing with your shipmates.


Captains Garth Wells and Jenny Tobin take great pride in owning such a wonderful vessel as the Lewis R. French. "We see ourselves as the caretakers of her for the next 25 years, not as the owners," says Garth. "The truth is, she owns us, we don't own her. But we are lucky to be able to do something that we love, a 'job' that includes sailing a traditional schooner on the Maine coast, and getting to share the whole experience with our guests. You can't help but have fun."


Garth Wells & Jenny TobinGarth has been sailing the French since 1998, first as the mate, and now as Captain/Owner. As a youngster, he learned to sail by racing BeetleCats in the Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod. He has been messing about in boats ever since. His different jobs have taken him from the Caribbean to the Canadian Maritimes to the Great Lakes, and along the Pacific. He has sailed huge square-rigged vessels, modern day yachts, schooners, and commercial fishing vessels. Signing on to work on the French, he quickly realized that Maine was the ultimate in traditional boat sailing, combining beautiful scenery and good winds with the protection of countless islands. As crew on the French, he fell in love with the boat and the Maine coast and worked his way up the ranks to reach his dream of being an owner and captain of a windjammer. In the winters, maintenance on the French takes first priority, but he can also be found working at local shipyards and sometimes sneaks a sail or two down to the Caribbean (but not with the French!).


Jenny grew up in Skokie, Illinois, and spent her summers sailing small vessels on the Great Lakes. After college, she started working on larger traditional vessels, and those sails took her to South America, Bermuda, and up and down the East and West Coasts of the U.S. Jenny and Garth met when she took the 1st mate's position on another Camden Windjammer (the horror!) berthed next to the French. After many (many!) years of dating, they got married in 2007. Jenny sails as much as she can, but also stays ashore to man the Lewis R. French Global Headquarters, answering phones and paying the bills. In the winters she helps maintain the French, as well as doing yacht deliveries and occasionally some teaching.


Both Garth and Jenny are United States Coast Guard Licensed Masters and look forward to being your shipmates for a cruise on the Lewis R. French..

Location Map

Lewis R French Location

Contact Information

PO Box 992C
Camden, ME 04843
TF: 800-469-4635
PH: 207-236-9411
Email: click here

Lewis R French Website

Lewis R French Video

Schooner Lewis R French video


Click the image to play the video.

Launched in 1871, the Lewis R. French is the oldest commercial schooner in the United States, and was recently designated a National Historic Landmark.



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