Schooner Timberwind » History
The Timberwind was built in 1931 on Union Wharf in Portland, Maine. She was built to the highest standards to insure the comfort and safety of the men who sailed her. The Schooner was built in Maine for Maine duty, and since her launching in 1931, she has never left Maine waters. Built to carry pilots to and from ships entering or leaving Portland harbor, she was constructed ruggedly using sturdy white oak frames and planks for seaworthiness through years of storms and icy Maine winters. As launched, she was bald-headed, had no bowsprit, and had her main cabin located aft with a large hold amidships.
Timberwind's original name was the Portland Pilot and she served as the pilot boat for the harbor of Portland from 1931-1969. Portland Pilot and her crews faced countless vicious winter northeasters when green waters as well as spray coming aboard froze to the rigging and had to be chipped off in order to maintain stability. She always met the challenge although in one particular bitter storm, on February 16, 1958 she suffered her only casualty and was thought lost herself.
For thirty-eight years, twenty-four hours a day and in all weather conditions, Portland Pilot was on call. When she wasn't on station fifteen miles offshore, she was in at the dock taking on stores and readying for her next shift. She was finally replaced with a steel power boat in 1969, but to this day she is fondly remembered by the men who worked on her out of Portland.
They enjoy coming to Rockport to see her, and although they may chuckle at her fancier paint job and taller rig, they see that she is the same vessel underneath and are pleased to see how well she's cared for.
The following pictures show the progress of the "Portland Pilot" from 1933 to 1971.
WWIIDuring WWII she was part of the US Coast Guard coastal patrol fleet. She staying in Portland and the pilots were given commissions. After the war it is thought she was given new engines. The sailing rig has been reduced to only a riding sail.
Pilots were transferred by a rowed dory.
Late 1950'sReturning into port past the lighthouse. The waist is not painted white, but covered in ice. Note the helmsman standing exposed out on the deck. The radar on the foremast means this is sometime in the late 1950's. The riding sail has now been taken off the foremast and is flying from a stay between the main masthead and the foremast gooseneck iron.
1959 or 1960The new dory has an outboard in a well. No more rowing the Pilot over to the vessel.
This view shows an unusual main riding sail. It was a small triangular sail set while at sea to keep the schooner's bow pointed into the wind.
August, 1969Hauled out at the Storey Shipyard in South Portland for a buyer survey and a chance to take measurements. Hundreds of measurements were needed to start preliminary drawings for the USCG. She is 38 hard years old and yet she has not lost any of her beautiful shape.
Fall 1969The new steel pilot boat was constructed during the winter of 1968-69 by the Gladding-Hearn shipyard of Somerset, MA. She's 65 ft long and diesel powered. Further, she has a forced hot water heating system, full galley and bunks for 6 men. The handrails on the foredeck are hollow and fed with hot water in the winter so the men have ice-free hand-holds. The foredeck itself is also heated. The two vessels here are separated by only 38 years but represent two vastly different approaches to the Pilot service.
1970-71The winter of 1970-71 was the big push. The cover is tight and provides a good workspace. The interior is being put into the vessel. All of the wood consists of native oak and pine.
The crew did a good job building 11 cabins, two heads, a galley, and all the rest.