Book a Maine Charter and Help Flood Victims

Sail aboard the pilot schooner Timberwind and help residents of Nashville, Tennessee. Charter Breifing from our May 13, 2010, CW Reckonings

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Timberwind will be sailing through Maine this summer with a purpose.Courtesy Of The Schooner Timberwind

You've finally made good on a longstanding promise to take the family on a quintessential New England vacation, specifically, a crewed charter Down East aboard one of Maine's illustrious and salty windjammers.

As you explore the rocky coastline of Penobscot Bay and feast on lobster, the captain kicks the onboard morale up a notch, serenading the crew with a few riffs on his Martin D-18 acoustic guitar. Could anything be more perfect?

As far as Captain Robert Tassi, a musician and former recording engineer for Warner Brother Records in Nashville, Tennessee, is concerned, well, yes, conditions could be better. His friends and former colleagues, plenty of them musicians, are struggling in the aftermath of the flash flooding throughout Music City and beyond earlier this month.

** Courtesy of the schooner Timberwind| |Captain Robert Tassi gets in tune with nightfall aboard the pilot schooner Timberwind.**|

"The damage is devastating," says Captain Bob, a bassist and pianist whose work in the new country genre in the 1980s helped Warner capture Grammy awards. "A huge warehouse full of millions of dollars worth of irreplaceable instruments and equipment used by studio musicians is ruined."

As Tassi and his partner, co-owner, chef, and wife, Dawn, of the 96-foot schooner Timberwind enter peak season 2010, they've decided to ask guests to forgo longstanding advertised discounts associated with the boat and divert them into a special fund.

For the remainder of May and through the end of August, the "Donate Your Discount" promotion gives each passenger booking a cruise during this period the opportunity to allow the crew to deposit the amount into a relief account.

"The money's going directly to the people it's meant to help," he says.

Courtesy of the schooner Timberwind| |Captain Robert Tassi and chef Dawn Tassi are owner-operators of the pilot schooner Timberwind.|

Since moving from Nashville in 1999, ultimately taking over the boat in 2002, the Tassis have offered a variety of deals, from early booking discounts to repeat customer incentives. Clients, especially families with kids age 5 and older, have availed themselves of the three- and four- day charters the crew offers in addition to the 6-day trips also offered, says Captain Bob. The boat, which can take up to 20 guests, runs from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.

What led the couple from Nashville to Maine deserves some note. Bob met Dawn while he worked for Warner and she worked as a labor and delivery nurse at Nashville's Baptist Hospital.

"It was an accident," says Bob, who comes from a long line of commercial fishermen on the West Coast. "Dawn, who's from Maine, and I had a child, and we were discussing taking our first vacation. We saw a PBS documentary that featured the Windjammer fleet.

"It was fall of 1998," he recalls. "We booked a 6-day cruise. I knew when I put my foot on the toe rail that this was next in my life. It was that precise moment that I knew that if I didn't act quickly, I would miss my chance. I'd been a lifelong sailor and when I came aboard a windjammer, it was better-way better-than I thought it would be."

For details about the fund and sailing aboard Timberwind, consult the schooner website (www.schoonertimberwind.com).