One evening during spring outfitting, I was at the computer, reading some comments and questions on a Facebook group devoted to bike touring. One of the questions from a young man from Mansfield, MA was about picking and choosing routes and overall costs of a cross country trip.
Having done a number of trips in the past I gave some of my thoughts on the matter and wished him well on his future adventures. The next day the young man, Clint, thanked me for my response to his query and wanted to know if I was retired our what I did for work that would allow me months of free time for travel. I explained about my brother, Owen, and the Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch, a Maine windjammer that he and his wife Cathie own and operate out of Rockland, ME. I told him I was the ships cook and that at the end of the season I enjoyed traveling, and for the past four years have spent a portion of my winters exploring the U.S. from a touring bike.
Clint next wanted to know how he could get a job on a Schooner and I explained about our apprentice position, and that if he was interested he should contact Cathie and let her know of his interest. The apprentice position is non paying and is only for two weeks. Owen and Cathie both feel that a two week commitment for a young apprentice is long enough for them to see how things will work out and if it does not then we are not stuck with some kid for the summer, especially a kid that could drive us nuts.
In August, two of the ships crew headed off for school and that left us short handed. Jovanna, who had been working since spring outfitting was now the only crew member on deck. She could do it but it would be exausting. As if on cue Clint, our new apprentice, arrived a few days before our next trip. With little time to spare we gave him a tour of the schooner, showed him his bunk and then put him to work. After our first sail with Clint we knew we had a keeper. Owen and Cathie offered him a payed crew position and asked if he would be willing to finish out the season.
I enjoyed Clint’s company in the galley when it was his turn to be mess cook. We talked about bike touring and though I was not planning to travel this winter the more Clint talked about it the more I could hear the call of the open road. Then, one evening Jo and I were playing cards in the galley and I, just on a whim, said that the three of us should go on a bike trip together. She thought it was a great idea and when we told Clint about it he was in agreement. In our spare time we formed our plan and things began to take shape. We talked about doing it for a cause and as both Owen, Cathie, and I had lost our mothers to breast cancer it was an easy choice for us to ride for a cure. Team Bowditch now had a mission.