Holiday in Maine

Post by - Published on 02/24/24 13:00 PM


Meet sailor Luc Milam, the proud owner of Herreshoff 28', Holiday. At 24 years old, he embarks on a journey that intertwines tradition and passion, through the storied waters of New England, to preserve the rich legacy of his classic wooden vessel. Read his story, and follow along with Holiday and Luc's adventures on Instagram by following @HolidayInMaine.

Plus, learn more about the iconic Herreshoff design and legacy by cruising to the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island this summer (opening for 2024 bookings on March 15).

By Luc Milam

"It is said that a classic wooden boat has a spirit. It’s alive whether resting on their mooring or fighting their way to weather. Up and down the New England coast, wooden boats are stalwarts of the past, evoking a sense of nostalgia, craftsmanship, and pride. While many find wooden yachts have been born in the shipyards of the northeast, few can rival the mystique of a Herreshoff design and built craft." 

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The coastal waters of Maine are steeped in nautical history and regarded as some of the best cruising grounds in the world. There is objectively no more authentic way to venture along this rugged, pine tree clad shoreline than aboard an antique wooden sailboat. Luc Milam is a 24 year old with an adventurous spirit and appreciation for tradition, living aboard a 1951 Herreshoff H28 sailboat, aptly named, Holiday. The duo spent the summer of 2023 exploring this magnificent coast they proudly call home, logging over a thousand nautical miles in their inaugural season, and creating countless memories that will last a lifetime.

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Luc grew up in a Connecticut river town, not far from Mystic, a town rich in nautical history and wooden shipbuilding traditions. Ironically enough though, this muse lay outside his field of view for most of his early life. The romance with a life afloat wouldn’t begin until his teenage years when he fixed up an old fishing skiff and learned firsthand why this labor of love enchanted so many. He went on to spend his summers working dockside but couldn’t resist the call of the sea. He stumbled his way into crewing boats of all shapes and sizes from catamarans to dolphin chasers to mega yachts, all up and down the east coast of the US. The adventures were numerable but it wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that a real line in the sand was drawn.

Upon finding himself aboard the 1927 built J&E Riggin, a historic wooden schooner along Maine's midcoast, Luc knew that he had tapped into something special. It is said that a wooden boat is alive and your first time aboard one under sail is something quite memorable for all, enchanting for some, and downright addictive for a few. Luc proudly proclaims himself as one of said few. He knew almost immediately that wood and canvas would be staples in his life for many years to come. The summer consisted of setting sails most every day, educating charter guests on the boat and state's history, and racing alongside other traditional wooden ships losing sense of the calendar year as they seemingly drifted back in time. They would spend every night in a different remote cove, sleeping out under the stars, awakening to loons, lobster boats, and lighthouse fog horns to do it all over again the following day.

A few years later, Luc seized an unexpected opportunity to acquire a wooden vessel of his own, Holiday. She was hand-built in Canada in the early 1950s following the plans of the illustrious yacht designer, L. Francis Herreshoff. Fast forward to today and she is strong as ever helmed by an overjoyed young lad exactly a third of her age! Since taking the helm, Luc has been able to connect with multiple generations of her owners and gain tons of insight into her history and past adventures. All of them couldn’t be happier to see someone this young so passionate about an old wooden beauty like Holiday. After spending the winter prior in southern Massachusetts, the duo's first adventure was sailing back to Maine. Launch day was an absolute daze as the freshly varnished spars went up and the slings released Holiday into the hallowed waters of Buzzards Bay and boy oh boy was she something to marvel at. A bluebird day in Mattapoisett Harbor, her signature Herreshoff white topsides glistened and her elegant, sleek, and simple lines absolutely floored her new steward. Still dumbfounded by the opportunity to own such a piece of nautical history, Luc has every intention of growing into the demanding role of skipper that an antique wooden boat such as Holiday requires, and frankly deserves, and yet has no intention of giving her a stagnant life. 

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The homeward journey panned out to be largely single-handed and the pair got to know one another quite well, quite promptly. Along the way, they would be welcomed ashore by keepers to explore lighthouses, aided by some new Dutch pals during a minor mechanical mishap, escorted into harbors by porpoise, and graced by some of the most magical dawns and sunsets one could imagine. Sailing her into her homeport of Portland, ME after the inaugural passage was a moment of pride, joy, awe, and gratitude. After a few weeks of introducing local friends to Holiday and allowing them to experience her majesty, the call for adventure returned and they once again casted off and set sail, bound downeast.

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The months to follow living aboard and cruising down the coast of Maine would turn into an expedition beyond the pair’s wildest dreams. Follow along on their Instagram @HolidayinMaine as they document their journey together. It is shaping up to be one for the books!

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