April: Camden Harbor

The Mystery Harbor is a popular spot in midcoast Maine. I recognize Wayfarer Marine across the Harbor in beautiful Camden, Maine. The 2014 Monhegan Regatta ended in Camden Harbor shortly after a spectacular sunrise over Penobscot Bay. My sister and I were fortunate enough to crew that year on a boat in the overnight race there from Portland. It’s a picturesque harbor to visit by land and a magical harbor to enter by sea.

Paula Marshall
Scarborough, Maine

Homeport for nearly 20 years

There are several obvious clues that this is the inner harbor of Camden, Maine. The floating docks with Red Boat at her usual spot was enough, but to me the Wayfarer buildings across the harbor brought back many fond memories. While our Firstar’s hailing port read Davenport, Iowa, Camden was its homeport for nearly 20 years. In the fall we’d remove the perishables and tell the Wayfarer staff we were finished for the season. The next season we’d show up and find her in a slip with sails bent on, tanks full and ready to cruise. On our ins and outs, during the season and for hurricanes, there was always one of the few transient slips available for us. Our locker for all the junk you might need someday was in the red building on the left side of the picture. We left and returned to and from here for four of Bernie Wideman’s Fundy flotillas. We felt pampered by the Wayfarer staff (they replaced our engine in three weeks in July one year) and we miss them – as well as our wonderful Firstar. We especially miss Sandy McGaw, who made our summers in Camden most memorable.

Mike Steffenson
Davenport, lowa

Great place to watch schooners

The view is from the south, near the yacht club, looking north across the harbor toward Wayfarer Marine. I used to live in Camden, and my daughter was born there. One of the best views in the world is sitting on a park bench across the street from the library, watching the schooners come and go with the waterfall pouring down next to you.

John Kettlewell
Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Great camping and hiking location

This is Camden, looking across the harbor toward Lyman-Morse at Wayfarer. We spent many vacations camping at the state park and would always spend time in town, watching the boats going in and out of the harbor. This is a great town to visit and the state campground is a terrific place for hiking the trails to Mount Battie and Mount Megunticook. We’ve spent many enjoyable hours at the harbor watching the windjammers and all the boat traffic. Camden is one of my favorite places to visit. An interesting historical note, my family boat is a 26’ U.S.N. motor whaleboat that was carried onboard a 165’ wooden tugboat built at what is now Lyman-Morse at Wayfarer that saw service at the invasion of Normandy, 75 years ago.

Kathleen Anderson
Manchester, Mass.

Rode his bike there . . . from Mass.

In the late ’60s, at age 15, I rode my bicycle from Massachusetts to Camden to visit a friend at his family’s camp on Lake Megunticook. I returned for the next few summers when he and I were hired to be sailing instructors at the Camden Yacht Club (out of the photo, to the right). I would spend some time in the late afternoons in the boat shop of Malcom Brewer, a retired master boat builder, who had built many vessels for the boatyard in the photo. When I married, a few years later, a dory he built was a wedding present.

Dave Tew
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine

The bay outside dazzles

The mystery harbor is Camden’s inner harbor where the schooner Roseway docked when she was in the Windjammer service in the mid-’80s. I spent a glorious late summer/early fall aboard as a deckhand with the legendary Capt. Orvil Young. With his old-fashioned, quiet competence, he simply let the schooner and Penobscot Bay perform and dazzle.

Chris Callahan
West Windsor, Vermont

For him, it was a harbor of refuge

I first sailed into Camden Harbor 57 years ago when, at age 19, I foolishly attempted a night sail from Port Clyde to Camden in late September and, very quickly getting lost, spent the night tacking back and forth on Penobscot Bay, listening for sounds of surf, and trying to keep my boat upright and afloat in high winds. When the sun rose I found myself near Camden, so went into the harbor and slept the whole day. (A full account of this trip can be found in the collection of sea adventures, “Treacherous Waters,” edited by Tom Lochhaas and published by International Marine/McGraw Hill in 2003).

Following a more recent and less adventurous sail, my wife and I visited Camden Harbor and Lyman-Morse put us on a mooring close to the inner harbor on the day of Windjammer Festival, and we had the pleasure of watching the boats parade by and hearing the wonderful music being performed on some of them as they passed.

Jonathan Hall
Brooksville, Maine

Um . . . it’s so obvious

It’s Camden, of course. The giveaway is the 1939 Elco Sedan Candice III, the fourth boat behind Red Boat.

Thom Perkins
Center Conway, N.H.

Seen from favorite restaurant?

To us, this familiar view always marks a return home to Camden, as we homeport our sailboat on a slip at Harbor Head Marina run by Wayfarer Marine, now part of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding, just to the left of this photo. Upon carefully placing our sailboat, Melita, a Nonsuch 36, on her slip and securing her dock lines, we immediately depart for a meal at the Waterfront restaurant on Bay Street, from which this photo was likely taken. Our meal there never fails to satisfy, and signifies closure to another memorable sailing experience.

Richard Fried
Marblehead, Mass.

Floats are old-dog friendly

It’s the inner harbor in Camden, Maine, where the mooring floats are wonderful for getting an old yellow lab on and off the boat! It’s always fun to spend a night or two in this very well-protected harbor. It’s also lots of fun to watch the schooners, the big boats at Lyman-Morse, and the views of the mountains to the west!

Ginny Bousum
Kingfield, Maine

Reminds him of his grandfather

The view across Camden’s inner harbor at the old Wayfarer Marine (now Lyman-Morse at Wayfarer) may be one of my fondest memories as a kid. My grandfather, Lyman Smith, kept several boats there in his later years. As a teen I remember going for lovely day sails in his Luders 16, zipping through the harbor floats like we were on fire and out into the bay. He later decided on a larger cruising boat, a 29’ Vineyard Vixen named Lookfar, in which we would cross the bay to Pulpit Harbor. He passed that boat on to me when he moved up again to a more performance-oriented cruiser in his 80s. I was able to cruise in that Vineyard Vixen back to Camden from Buzzards Bay in my late teens to cruise with him again. In Camden Harbor I rafted to a harbor float before heading, in company with my grandfather, up the coast toward Machias. Buddy cruising the bays with my grandfather from Camden – a dream come true. After my grandfather moved to Portland I returned again to Camden only to be greeted by many old timers, who recognized the boat at the town dock. They were all happy to reminisce about my grandfather over cocktails. Camden is not just a cruising destination for services and onshore activities, but a community of avid sailors and mariners. A fine place to visit, meet people, and enjoy.

Matthew Smith
South Dartmouth, Mass.

LM logo gave it away

This is the inner harbor in Camden, Maine. We’ve been there many times. The large white building used to be Wayfarer Marine and is now Lyman-Morse at Wayfarer. Some of the windjammers are at the head of the harbor. Lyman-Morse runs a launch service to the moorings in the large outer harbor. The Camden Yacht Club is on the outer southern edge of the inner harbor, and has launch service. This harbor was recently in “Down East” magazine, and was easily identified by us by the LM logo on the building.

Bruce Krause
Waldoboro, Maine

Met wife there

That’s Camden Harbor looking at the old Wayfarer Marine, which is now Lyman-Morse at Wayfarer Marine. I worked at Bohndell Sails in the early ’80s, sailing/racing J/30s. Met my now-wife (on another J/30) when the regionals were held there. About 12 to 13 boats on the line, which yielded a terrific series (think her boat kicked my boat’s butt). A beautiful harbor.

Ted Gribbell
Freeport, Maine

Camden . . . and so much more

“A reprieve from the black flies, and so much more, Camden.” The back-story: Sailor marries non-sailor (wife), and the non-sailor eventually becomes a fine sailor, along with her (and my) two little ones, aboard the family cruiser. The now-fine sailor and her relatives have a family place on a lake that they’ve gone to since the ’20s. A beautiful Maine lake, not overly developed, warm, surrounded by lush green pines, a family of loons and many family memories. But, for someone tired of swatting black flies, who needs his saltwater fix, and the eye candy of those glistening yachts . . . well, there’s Camden. And, of course, Rockport, and Rockland, and Thomaston . . . .

Jim Da Silva
Marblehead, Mass.

Ties go way back

The Mystery Harbor is Camden, Maine. I first experienced Camden Harbor in the summer of 1969 as a deckhand aboard the 98’ Rhodes ketch Fandango, whose skipper, Tim Hickman, always brought his vessels to Wayfarer for refits before heading to the Caribbean for the winter. When my wife Susie and I started cruising the Maine coast from our home on Cape Cod in our own vessels, beginning in 1975, we always made Camden a must-visit. And we always tried to secure an inner-harbor mooring float, if possible. Great harbor scene there, and less rolly than in the outer harbor. Not always being successful, we spent some uncomfortable nights outside on our Cape Dory 27.

Dave Perry
Portland, Maine

A familiar stop

It’s the inner harbor in Camden, Maine. The two giveaways are the floating docks and Wayfarer’s large building. I’ve been stopping at Camden’s inner harbor on my annual Maine cruise for well over 25 years, currently in my Sabreline 36 power cruiser. We usually get a mooring on one of the floating docks from Camden Yacht Club. They’re always nice people, and you can have lunch on their lawn. The harbormaster also has slips on the public dock at the end of the harbor. Best to make reservations in Camden Harbor well in advance. Camden is a great place to shop and re-provision. Great restaurants there, as well.

Lea Pendleton
Marblehead, Mass.

Comments are closed.