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Maine Maritime Academy Announces $50,000 Grant from L.L.Bean in Support of the Schooner Bowdoin’s 2024 Voyage to the Arctic

BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine, Tuesday, May 28, 2024 —Today, Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), one of the United States’ foremost maritime colleges offering degrees in engineering, science, management, and transportation, announced a $50,000 grant from L.L.Bean in support of the schooner Bowdoin’s return voyage to the Arctic for the first time since 2008. In celebration of the grant and the Bowdoin’s departure on May 29, MMA hosted an in-person event with the vessel’s crew, MMA leadership, students from Boothbay Regional Elementary School, and members of the public.

The Bowdoin, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, was built specifically for Arctic exploration and launched from Hodgdon Brothers Shipyard in East Boothbay in 1921. From 1921 to 1954, the Bowdoin made 26 voyages to the Arctic, but will be making only her third trip to the arctic since MMA purchased the vessel in 1988. More than 100 years after her first Arctic expedition, the Bowdoin will return, departing from the same harbor from which she first set sail.

Announcing the L.L.Bean grant, MMA President Jerry Paul ’89, RADM USMS said, “I would like to express my immense gratitude to L.L.Bean for their financial support, without which the Bowdoin’s return to the Arctic would not be possible.” President Paul added that, “the schooner Bowdoin is not only the pride of Maine Maritime’s sailing fleet, but also important to the state, having been designated the Official Vessel of the State of Maine, and is one of only 122 vessels with the distinction of being named a National Historic Landmark. We are honored to partner with L.L.Bean, an iconic Maine institution, in support of this exciting journey.”

L.L.Bean’s Senior Manager of Partnerships & Charitable Giving, Christina Semanyshyn, expressed pride in the opportunity to support the continued operation of the Bowdoin, adding that the “schooner Bowdoin is a national treasure representing an important part of U.S. maritime heritage and Arctic exploration and we are pleased to facilitate the voyage. L.L.Bean has been supporting the Bowdoin’s Arctic expeditions since outfitting its very first skipper, Donald MacMillan with Bean Boots in 1921.”

Captain Alexander Peacock, schooner Bowdoin Master, has charted a course of more than 5,000 nautical miles lasting six weeks. From Boothbay Harbor, the Bowdoin will sail to ports that include St. John’s, Newfoundland, traverse 1,000 nautical miles of open, cold waters to Nuuk, Greenland, and proceed up the coast to Disko Bay, across the 70th Parallel.

The Bowdoin’s crew, led by Captain Peacock, will consist of six professional mariners and 10 MMA students pursuing courses of study in vessel operations and technology, marine biology, power engineering technology, and international logistics management. President Paul commented on the “unique opportunity MMA students have to apply the maritime skills they have learned in the classroom in practice aboard the historic Arctic schooner Bowdoin on this voyage.”Captain Peacock echoed the “value the fully immersive experience on the vessel offers students as a part of their maritime education.”

In celebration of the Bowdoin’s departure and the L.L.Bean grant supporting its voyage, MMA hosted an in-person event at Carousel Marina in Boothbay Harbor where students from Boothbay Regional Elementary School joined the schooner’s crew for nautical-themed activities including knot-tying, line throwing, and make-your-own burgees. Speakers at the event included MMA Chief Operating Officer, Craig Johnson, Vice President of Advancement & College Relations, Kate Noel, and Bowdoin Master, Captain Alexander Peacock. The Bowdoin crew for the Arctic voyage, chief mate David Stolz (Ohio), Tyler Jupp (Massachusetts), Kimberly Stinson (New Hampshire), Graham McKay (Massachusetts), and Tom Klodensky (Massachusetts) will also be in attendance.

In addition to the educational opportunities for students, the voyage continues the illustrious legacy of Arctic exploration aboard the Bowdoin. During World War II, the Bowdoin was commissioned by the U.S. Navy to perform hydrographic surveys on the Greenland coast for the preparation of navigational charts for vessels attempting to reach U.S. air bases. The Bowdoin was able to evade threats from German U-boats and naval mines during her nearly three years of service during the war.

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