Victory Chimes (official number 136784) is a three-masted, gaff-rigged Chesapeake Ram schooner, home-ported in Rockland, Maine. Originally designed for and used as a general purpose cargo hauler, she was converted to a passenger cruise vessel in 1946. Built in 1900 in Bethel, Delaware as Edwin And Maud,
The three-masted Chesapeake ram schooner Victory Chimes was launched in April 1900 from the Bethel, Delaware yard of George K. Phillips Co. as the Edwin And Maud, named for two children of her first captain, Robert Riggin.
Victory Chimes not only exemplifies the nineteenth and early twentieth century development of large American wooden schooners intended primarily, though not exclusively, for the coasting trade on both east and west coasts, but she is the only surviving example of the "Chesapeake ram" type and one of only two surviving examples of a three masted schooner in the United States.
Victory Chimes' dimensions are: length 127.5 feet, breadth 23.8 feet and depth 8.6 feet; 208 tons gross, 178 tons net. 1 She was slightly larger than the average "ram," and today she is the largest member of Maine's fleet of windjammers, which carry passengers along the coast during summer months. The schooner is home-ported in Rockland, Maine.
She is constructed with an oak keel, double sawn frames and deck timbers and Georgia pine planking. In 1988 she was extensively repaired at Sample's Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine while owned by Domino's Pizza. Traditional working methods and materials were used to replace rotten areas in-kind.2
Despite an active working life in a harsh environment and required changes for passenger safety, Victory Chimes is estimated to retain about 70 percent of her original fabric.3
The traditional "ram" rig was a standing jib, flying jib, staysail (also called a forestaysail), foresail, mainsail and spanker (or mizzen), which Victory Chimes carries today. The heads of the fore, main and mizzen sails are supported by gaffs and the feet are laced to booms. The present masts of Oregon Douglas fir are over eighty feet in height. The mizzenmast was replaced in 1976, the main in 1988, and the fore in 1989.4 "A straight tree 110 feet tall is required to get the necessary length a full twenty-one inches in diameter."5
The original wooden bowsprit was replaced by one of steel to the same dimensions in 1965. The standing rigging is steel wire. Standing rigging was minimal on rams, to enable deck cargo to be stowed on uncluttered decks. Each mast is supported by three shrouds on each side. The foremast has three stays and springstays run from its masthead to the main and mizzen masts.6
Just as when Victory Chimes was built, the schooner does not carry an engine. Maneuvering assistance is provided by a nineteen foot wooden yawlboat which pushes against the stern. When not in use it is towed astern. The current yawlboat was built in 1991 by then Captain Kip Files and George Alien to enable the vessel to compete with other vessels in the passenger schooner trade which have been modified to carry engines. The yawlboat is, said Kip, "probably a bit bigger than would have originally been used."7 It is powered by a 135 horsepower Ford diesel engine. Three other boats are carried on davits.
Victory Chimes is largely original, although a limited number of changes have been required to allow adaptive reuse of a freight carrying schooner as a passenger vessel. The deck plan is consists of a large forward deckhouse with a companionway leading into the main saloon, a low narrow deckhouse amidships (added during the schooner's conversion to passenger use) featuring multiple porthole sidelights and a second companionway, and a third large deckhouse aft, which is set on a raised quarterdeck. Three hatches gave access to the cargo hold.
Tall bulwarks and taffrail frame the deck, although the quarterdeck features an open balustrade. Belowdecks, the cargo hold has been subdivided into nineteen cabins with the main saloon and galley forward. There are nineteen cabins, fifteen fitted with two berths, two with four berths, and one each with a single and triple berth. The introduction of these facilities has been carried out in a reversible manner so that the original hull framing and planking characteristics remain.
There are no deck lights.8 A single centerboard is offset alongside the mainmast. The centerboard trunk is original, whereas the centerboard was most recently replaced in 1965. Victory Chimes draws 7 feet 6 inches with the centerboard up and 18 feet with the centerboard down.
The original anchor windlass is mounted behind the bowsprit heel forward and is powered by an ancient engine in the forward part of the deckhouse. The original four horsepower donkey engine soon proved inadequate, it was replaced with a six horsepower Sea Gear engine made in 1906 by Olds in Lansing, Michigan. This is still in use.9 Donkey engines were a prominent feature of schooners from the end of commercial sail when crews were kept to a minimum through the use of such mechanical aids.
The ships bell is mounted on the forward side of the cover for the windlass chain drive. At the break in the quarterdeck is a one to one and a half horsepower "domestic pumper." This item of original equipment is still in use and regularly inspected by the Coast Guard. 10 The hull is painted black with white bulwarks and is painted red below the waterline. The decks are natural, as are the masts up to the crosstrees, from which point they are painted white. Deckhouses are painted white with detailing in red, green and grey. Hatches and bitts are picked out in contrasting diamond patches as was common in well kept coasting vessels.