The first is always special and this group lived up to that with sailorly skill, chummy camaraderie and endearing silliness.
Chef Jeffery Miller
VICTORY CHIMES has an engine. Yes, the secret is out.
Below deck, in the galley, is what fills our trips with enjoyment as much as the wind fills our sails.
It is the cooking of our Chef, Chef Jeffery Miller.
He is always sailing or cooking and has lived on sailboats for the last 20 years. Being aboard VICTORY CHIMES allows him to be immersed in his two favorite passions: sailing and cooking.
He grew up in a home with a commercial stove; the house was literally built around it: a Garland, 8 burner commercial stove, so big that the walls couldn’t be put up until stove was installed.
His mother studied with Patricia Wells in Provence Italy and Jeff picked up the passion from his grandmother who has a widely known Appalachian culinary flair for simple brilliance, and a dramatic hospitality for things like a thanksgiving where each person was surprised with their favorite entree; each individually prepared for them.
In school, he worked in kitchens around marinas and he cooked his way through college, fully paying his tuition as he went.
He moved to Florida to up his Captain’s license by adding offshore time.
Chef proudly displays the handiwork of his birch bark Ram Schooner for the season's second Spaghetti Regatta. This is a crew sailing race of handmade "ships" built using only materials named by the winner of the previous race.
It barely makes sense, but it's taken very seriously and the first place award is found on island hikes from the week's trips.
He somehow - he has a thousand stories and so we’re only touching on the peaks of his anecdotal mountain range - ends up working shoulder to shoulder with a renowned Hungarian Chef - Lazlo Bevardi, who at 9 was chosen as the only person in the country allowed to cross to West Germany to attend a renowned culinary institute.
Under such tutelage he was taught traditional “homeland” techniques that push culinary field expedience to the McGyver extremes. Chef Miller can make anything with nothing and have you wanting seconds.
We were lucky to have him and share his creations.
Nicole Morse: Galleyhand
Nicole’s history with the ‘Chimes is more than most peoples. Her great grandfather, Fredrick Boyd Guild, owned and captained the Victory Chimes
and her aunt worked in the galley when she was in her early 20’s. This season, Nicole got to carry on the family tradition by being a galley hand with us.
She grew up sailing in Casco Bay, Maine and previously taught sailing in the Falmouth and Portland areas.
Nicole is currently studying at Maine Maritime Academy working on a dual major program in Marine Biology and Small Vessel Operations. She just finished her first year and will be heading back at the end of the summer for her sophomore year.
Her dad would come and visit his grandfather and would stay in the bunk not 6 ft from hers, all these years later.
Yoko Bowen: First Mate
When your parents start a marine science summer camp, you spend summers on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, you’re always around boats, you sail out to watch whales, and all your father’s friends are fisherman, you just might fall in love with the sea.
As straight a line as that may seem, Yoko’s path to the ‘Chimes is woven with adventure.
Those summers north, from her hometown in PA, knit that passion thread for the sea into her enough that she went to the College of the Atlantic with a focus on marine studies.
Her love of the outdoors had her not even bat an eye when the chance came up to live on one of the most remote islands of Maine, Mt. Desert. She was also stationed on Great Duck Island, researching the ecology of herring gulls that had her living intimately among them.
Ever since her first day at college though, her counselor had tried to convince Yoko to take a semester at sea versus so much time on land, collecting data. She eventually relented and took part In the Sea Education Association’s program (SEA). For her senior project she set to sea to collect data on plankton.
The crew looks adorkable in the knit caps Yoko made them. To fully appreciate the red caps, you'll have to watch the Bill Murray / Wes Anderson movie "Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."
This was the pivotal experience that set Yoko on her course to us. At the end of her stint at sea, the moment she hit the dock, she realized that as much as collecting data put her intimate to the natural world she’d loved since childhood, the lengthy follow-up time spent analyzing data, would habitually keep her from it for much longer.
She changed course and a week later she was hired as educator on a boat called Quinnipiack. Two years later she found VICTORY CHIMES.
Within three years , she went from deckhand to first mate and is the first ever female to hold that position on this ship.
As much as she’s a brainy, brawny badass, Yoko is also an endearing goof. This season, the crew is all about the movie “A Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” so, of course she knit everyone red caps to wear, just like Bill Murray wears in the movie.
She brings a wonderful mix of command and camaraderie to the position of First Mate. Any ship would be lucky to have her; we’re proud she’s ours.
Sherman Brewer: Second Mate
The Brewer family has lived on the island of Southport since the 1600s, so Sherman’s love of the sea and nearly innate seamanship is nearly hereditary and seemingly inevitable.
A sailor since he was 9, working aboard ships at 15, his official training was at the Northeast Maritime institute in Fair Haven, MA which transitioned him from deckhand positions to ship’s officer.
When the opportunity to work on the ‘Chimes came up, he gladly took it. This is his second year and we hope just the beginning.
For a bio steeped in history and devotion, Sherm’s may seem aloof in its brevity, but such quiet humility is a Sherm trademark. Just beneath his taciturn reserve though, is a dry humor, simmering wit and beaming smile.
He’s an old soul, conscious and quietly proud of his family’s long local, maritime history. Like the best sailors, he snaps to duty and awareness in an instant, doesn’t suffer fools well and is deeply knowledgeable of safety, process and teamwork.
A nod from Sherm' is as good as a cheer from most others. He wears his seamanship with reserve, but he’s a lovable, loyal and a darn fun complement to the long, proud history of our ship.
Rachel Borisko: Deckhand
Ever since she was a kid, Rachel would always rather be outside than in, even choosing hard work over easy comfort if it meant she could be in nature.
In high school she ran cross-country but switched from running to theater as a way to keep close to her friends after an injury.
The outdoors still called to her so, at school, she founded the Environmental Club; cleaning local beaches and school property, encouraging recycling and generally helping to raise awareness of caring for the environment.
Her love of the outdoors and care for the environment led her to Marine Biology. Thinking that MB’s tend to be on boats, she opted for Maine Maritime Academy’s 5 yr program with combined studies of Marine Bio and Small Vessel Operations.
While there, she volunteered on daysails aboard the arctic Schooner, Bowdoin. She’d never been sailing, but after that, she tried to get aboard whenever possible.
The next summer, she crewed on Schooner Adventure, visiting ports from Boston to Boothbay. At MMA, she also founded another club, the Adventure Club whose mission is to encourage and help people explore the outdoors through hiking, whitewater rafting, kayaking and whatever else folks are up for trying.
Her time aboard the ‘Chimes combines all of her interests into a focal point that also continues her studies. The longer trips that we go on, versus simple daysails allow her to work outside, learn the workings of a unique ship and foster in others the joy she’s found in embracing and caring for all things outdoors and nature.
Wilson McKay: Deckhand
indisputable charm is as much from his sailing competence as his constant willingness to dance at a moment’s notice.
He’s been sailing since he was 7, out of the Rockport Boat Club, which led him to share back the gold of his experience as a sailing instructor there for 5 years, teaching 8 - 16 year olds the fundamentals of sailing.
He attended ME maritime academy for a 2 yr associates degree in small vessel operation and chose the 'Chimes as first choice because of its size and unique rigging.
As for his dancing, which you know you’re curious about; he did theater in High School and never lost his flair for the theatrical or his willingness to selflessly step into the spotlight.
If there’s a festival in town, or a good band playing, he’ll be in that no man’s land between the band and the crowd, along with the always few devoted others, freely dancing and showing us all how to have a good time.
Nicole Close: Deck Apprentice
Her parents were going to sign up for a two-year world cruise aboard the Picton Castle, but when they were told the price they thought - for that price they could buy a boat and do it themselves.
“So why don’t you?” they were told.
“So why don’t we?” They thought.
And so they did; for two years they sailed north and South America, from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean.
After they had two children, Nicole and her brother Cash, they crossed such adventure off their bucket list and set to family life.
Fast forward eleven years and her parents felt the pull of the horizon and decided that before their children were too old, they wanted to experience the freedom, adventure and intimacy of living aboard again; this time as a full family.
Together, they sailed north and South America for three years. The experience effected Nicole’s confidence at that crucial adolescent time where life can either wilt and cower you, or boldly unfold your strength and stoke your swagger.
And guess which path Nicole took?
Well, she’s on the ‘Chimes with a stellar crew, so - spoiler - she went the way of the sea and she’s a solid trooper.
It’s only been three years since she returned home from her time with her family at sea, so the Siren’s song of community, teamwork, freedom and adventure rings loud in her soul.
When asked directly, “are you thinking of making this a career?” She stares out for a beat, wrinkles her forehead and says “I don’t know,” but then smiles wide and says, “but I know I’m coming back.”
For Nicole, sailing feels like home and being with this crew on the ‘Chimes is a reunion of likeminded souls.