Dear Windjammer Friends and Fans and all of those who have ever Harbored a Dream of Sailing on a Tall Ship
Dreams are fragile things. They attach themselves to our memories, our emotions and our very identities. Sometimes other people’s dreams align with our own and a whole new world is born; a world of shared values, camaraderie and imagination. Such was the case with Captain Mike Burke and the 60 year run of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. The world of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises consisted of rescued schooners, salt spray, bare feet, turquoise Caribbean seas, pristine anchorages and far-flung ports. In this world you could rekindle the kid in you or capture the spirit of a carefree pirate.
Then in September of 2007, that world ended. Windjammer Barefoot Cruises went bankrupt, its remaining assets were later auctioned off and all who were a part of that world mourned.
But the world of Windjammer never really died (stay with me here). Yes, the company went bankrupt and some of the ships were lost. But other ships survived and still more are out on the horizon. Many of the beloved crews and captains are still out there; the islands and the ports still beckon with warm smiles and the promise of fond reunions and tens of thousands of the passengers are still waiting for the next cruise.
Windjammer did not die because it was more than a company. It was a culture. And it was, like the dream itself, a fragile culture; one that had a rare balance of fun, adventure, informality and awe. One that would-be imitators never understood or worse, never valued.
So, we at Windjammer Sailing Adventures made some decisions. We knew that we couldn’t or even shouldn’t resurrect the actual Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. But we decided to give full honor to the achievements, dreams and legacy of Captain Mike Burke. We decided this a long time ago, buying Windjammer pictures, furniture and memorabilia at the company’s auction in September 2008. We have also committed to establishing a museum of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises at company headquarters.
We have committed to be the successor company to the original, to create an ongoing “Windjammer” history that bridges the handful of bad years over to the exciting years that are now at hand. This commitment requires a heavy dose of respect and deference to the past. Most of all, it is a commitment to make someone else’s dream our own and to return to a world that many believed was lost.
It is therefore our distinct honor to announce that on January 18th, 2012 Windjammer Sailing Adventures purchased the SV Mandalay. She is now on the Pacific coast of Panama where new equipment and an innovative new air-conditioning system are being installed. She will be returning to the Caribbean via the Panama Canal next month. Sailing schedules will be announced shortly.
In accordance with our promise to maintain the culture of “Windjammer,” we are pleased to tell you that Rum Swizzles, crab races, story time, Bloody Mary’s, peanut butter pates, PPP parties, sleeping on deck and the playing of Amazing Grace are back.
We would also like to welcome back the following Windjammer staff, crew and captains: Captain Sylvester Dzomeku – Vice President of Windjammer Sailing Adventures, Duane Southe, Captain of the Mandalay, Brian Bishop (Chief Engineer on the Mandalay), Wendy Sacks, Reservations Manager, Keithley “Strokey” Liburd, Curtis “Yellow” Jackson, Benjamin Roy, Harrod “Boston” Brown, Marlon “Grandpa George” Joseph, Ralston “Brown” Baptiste, Joseph Ennis, Stafford “Squall” Belfon, Crystal Ruby – Purser, and Dziwonu Blair – Electrician.
These Windjammer veterans will be joining new members of the family including CEO Charles J. Kropke, President Cynthia Greenway, James Hickey; Social Media, and Uwe G. Doeringer, Chairman of the Board, Harold Naurayan, Carpenter on the Mandalay.
It is with exceeding anticipation and great excitement that we will return the Queen of the Caribbean, the Mandalay to her down-island home. Fair winds are pushing Windjammer Sailing Adventures into new unchartered territory. Down here in Miami you can feel the pace, the adrenaline. Great things are being born… and reborn. For all of you who have waited faithfully and patiently on shore, your time has arrived. For all who missed the excitement the first time around, don’t worry. Windjammer is Alive.
Charles J. Kropke
Uwe G. Doeringer
James Hickey :o