Schooner Harvey Gamage Charts a New Course Under Owner Sprague


‘Harvey Gamage’ -Launched at Portland Yacht Services, 100 West Commercial Street, Portland This Afternoon.  The Harvey Gamage was the Last Boat to be Built at the Legendary Gamage Shipyard, South Bristol, Fifty Years Ago. A Birthday Celebration for the Gamage Could be in the Works for September 2023 According to Sprague.

The Historic Schooner Harvey Gamage at the Dock at Portland Yacht Services Following Her Launching.

Alex Agnew, Exective Director of Salng Ships Maine, Watching as the Gamage is Lauanched at Portland Yacht Services and Officially Returned to the Management of Her Owner Phin Sprague, Jr..

“The third time is the charm,” chuckled Phin Sprague, Jr., who has owned the 131 ft. gaff-rigged wooden schooner Harvey Gamage for almost ten years.  Sprague was working in the cockpit of his own yacht “Lions Whelp,” this afternoon when he disclosed that effective immediately he is taking back the management of the Gamage from Alex Agnew, Executive Director of Sailing Ships Maine.  Previously, Harvey Gamage was owned by Ocean Classrooms, an educational non-profit conducting water classrooms.

Both yachts are docked at Portland Yacht Services, 100 West Commercial Street, owned by Phineas Sprague, Jr., of Cape Elizabeth.  Previously, the boat yard was located on the Munjoy Hill waterfront.  But Sprague sold the almost ten acres to Portland Foreside for the  development of the property that is on-going.

For the last few years, Agnew has been running trips between Portland and Alabama aboard the “Gamage” and leasing her from Sprague.  But, just last month, Agnew a former magazine publisher, decided to terminate his contract with Sprague early.  That decision will permit him to lease smaller boats for his educational trips for youth. Smaller boats have smaller administrative duties attached to them  Those duties are more complicated during pandemics and other factors beyond the control of a non-profit exective director.  The contract was to have expired in June of 2025.

The Gamage will be 50 years old in September. Meticulous care by Sprague and his boatyard has kept her in tip-top condition. That is no short order for a wooden boat that requires constant monitoring for dreaded dry rot and related problems..

She has been designted by the US Coast Guard for sail training. “Any country that has a merchant marine has to have sail training vessels,” explained Sprague. “This is one of the few remaining that is traveling long distances with students.”  The Gamage has been to South America, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Now with the return of management of the Gamage to owner Sprague, he is looking for a non-profit that is interested in operating her for sail training.

Prior to his contract with Agnew, Sprague tried to introduce the Gamage to Cuba,  having visited it many times before as a tourist.  He called that effort a “little disaster.”  Although Cuba was opened up by President Obama to American travel, the State Department put a “no travel warning” on the Island because of an incident at the Cuban consulate.  “All the good that Obama did was destroyed to the detriment of Cuba and the US relationship,” said Sprague this afternoon.  “I can be non-partisan.,” said Sprague a member of the Republican party, who in the past has supported Paul LePage for Governor.

Sprague is hoping this third time will be a charm. But what his third time will be – he’s not saying.  However, this blogger did overhear a conversation between Sprague and  his  attorney Peter Plumb – somethng about foreign travel maybe?  Maybe a return trip  to Cuba?  Sprague isn’t saying more and neither is this blogger!



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