Victory Chimes, on sale, could leave Maine

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The Victory Chimes’ final cruise of the season this month could also be the last in Maine.

The 128-foot sailboat immortalized on the Maine state quarter in 2003 is up for sale for $385,000. Although for half a century she has been moored on the coast of Maine, there is no guarantee that her next owner will keep her there.

For the current owner of the three-masted schooner, keeping the vessel afloat is more important than where it is moored.

“My goal from day one was to keep the ship saved, to continue to tell its story, and if it happens anywhere other than Maine, so be it,” said Sam Sikkema, 35, the current owner and captain.

Victory Chimes was originally built to carry cargo, but now cruises along the coast of Maine on pleasure cruises lasting up to six nights.

The Maine State Quarter, released in 2003, depicts the Victory Chimes off the coast of Maine. (Image courtesy of the US Mint)

On Monday morning, while docked in Rockland, crew members gave safety briefings to more than a dozen tourists as they prepared for a six-day cruise. Meanwhile, Sikkema stood aft by the helm, talking about the future.

He said he loved his schooner, but sentimentality had to give way to harsh economic realities.

“Really at this point, we just haven’t been able to make ends meet financially, especially after COVID,” he said.

The vessel requires repairs to its bow to remain compliant with Coast Guard regulations. But all of Sikkema’s savings were spent on mooring fees, insurance and other expenses that still needed to be paid when the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to suspend operations in 2020.

Built in 1900 in Bethel, Delaware, as a trading vessel known as the windjammer, original owner Robert Riggin named her Edwin and Maude, after his own children. He spent nearly 50 years in the Chesapeake Bay area, working around Baltimore, Alexandria, Virginia and Seaford, Delaware. It carried a variety of goods, including lumber, gravel, coal, and even pumpkins.

“If you can imagine, she hauled it,” Sikkema said.

This changed in 1946, when her then owner gave her a new name, converted the holds to berths and her job to tourism. In 1954 he moved to Rockland, where he has remained ever since.

Fifty years later, Victory Chimes has secured a place in Maine history. From 1999 to 2008, the U.S. Mint printed quarters celebrating each of the 50 states. In 2003, the likeness of Victory Chimes was featured in the Maine neighborhood.

Daniel Carr, coin carver and president of Moonlight Mint, a coin company based in Loveland, Colorado, helped design the state quarters in Maine, New York, and Rhode Island. Carr said he was not from Maine, but in May 2001 he had a colleague, Jim Pendleton, who had family in Rockland, and suggested including the image of the Victory Chimes.

The final design features Pemaquid Point Light overlooking the rocky coastline with Victory Chimes sailing nearby.

If Victory Chimes left Maine, the state would join New Hampshire in losing a major facet of its state district. New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain, a rock formation featured on its stricken state quarter in 2000, collapsed in 2003.

Moving Victory Chimes out of Maine would not change the value of the coin.

Carr said state quarters were never meant to be collectibles. A coin’s value to collectors is tied to its rarity, and quarters of the state were mass-produced. For example, the Mint has produced nearly 500 million Maine state quarters.

“Today they don’t have much value,” Carr said.

For nearly two decades after the Mint launched the coin, the Victory Chimes continued to welcome tourists with scenic cruises along the coast of Maine and its islands. This is Sikkema’s fifth season aboard the Victory Chimes, four of those years as captain. This will be the schooner’s last season under his ownership, which will officially end on October 1.

He hopes the proceeds from the sale will prevent him from going bankrupt at the end of the year.

” It’s disgusting. You spend a lot of time and like to make it happen,” Sikkema said.

While he would like to see Victory Chimes stay in Rockland, he said, “I would rather not see him languish and die here.”

Sikkema said he does not know if he will remain captain if the schooner leaves Maine.

“It depends how it goes,” he said. “If anyone wants me to go, and make it work, I’ll think about it.”

The Victory Chimes’ final cruise is scheduled to begin September 27.

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