In spite of a disappointing first year in 1936, nothing would discourage our founder Capt Frank Swift from pressing onward with what he knew would be an amazing vacation experience on authentic coasting schooners. His persistence made it possible for tens of thousands of adventurous passengers to experience windjammer sailing as it was for early working mariners. The popularity of his sailing vacations not only led to the preservation of a way of life, but in the long run, the vessels themselves. As the coasters began to disappear, the need to save these beautiful hard working schooners became critical. Today there are only five remaining authentic two masted coasting schooners left. Our National Landmarks Grace Bailey and Mercantile are two of them.
During the 1930’s there was another man who respected and appreciated the grace of the coasters and that was well known naval architect, Murray Peterson. He modeled his designs along the lines of the old Coasting Schooners. Several of Peterson’s schooners were built at the Camden Shipyard. They were all in a sense miniature versions of the Grace Bailey or Mercantile.
The newest addition to the Maine Windjammer Cruises fleet was designed by Murray Peterson in 1937 and built in East Boothbay, Maine in 1983 as a private vessel.
Capt Ray has admired this vessel from afar since the early 1990’s when this picture was taken, but the time was never right to bring her into the fleet. Last fall it came to his attention that the “Schooner Actress” needed a good home. He realized the time was now or never and moved mountains to purchase the schooner he had admired for so many years.
This beautiful brigantine/schooner carries the signature of her designer Murray Peterson in her lines and will carry the name Capt Frank Swift to honor the man whose dedication and foresight secured the place of the coaster in today’s world and provided the Williamson family the opportunity to live their passion as owners and stewards of the tradition Frank began in 1936.
The “Capt Frank” is currently undergoing a full conversion to a six passenger Luxury Windjammer for the overnight trade. It is our goal to have her ready to welcome passengers at some point this summer. Follow her progress on Schooner Capt Frank Swift Facebook.
Capt Frank Swift
Formerly Lyra, Actress, Oliver C Wyant
UCG Official Number 659114
1937 Murray Peterson design Launched 1983
Tonnage G 38 N34
LOD 56′ LWL 47′ LO 75′
Propulsion Sail & Diesel