Amity sails under new ownership

By Ben Holbrook | Jul 11, 2012
Photo by: Ben Holbrook Captain Patrick Reilly and his sister, Meg Reilly, purchased the Friendship Sloop Amity, aboard which they have begun offering both private and shared charters for this summer.

Belfast — An avid and experienced explorer of the Atlantic Ocean has teamed up with his sister to keep the historic Friendship Sloop Amity sailing the waters of Maine.

Patrick Reilly and his sister, Meg Reilly, purchased Amity in 2011 and began offering both private and shared charters aboard the vessel this summer. Patrick, who is a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, jumped at the chance to purchase the storied vessel.

“I was looking to come back to Maine, because Maine in the summer is my favorite place to be,” Patrick said. “We figured we would do this and see where it takes us.”

Built in 1901 by Wilber Morse for use as a lobster-fishing vessel, Amity has had a few owners through the years, including former editor of the Washington Post and United States Ambassador Russell Wiggins. In addition, Patrick said the ship underwent a major refit in the 1970s, so much of the original 1901 vessel has been replaced.

“When you do refits, though, it’s not like you do it all at once. Usually it’s done in pieces, like you notice a frame that’s rotting out and needs to be replaced. It’s sort of an annual thing,” he said.

Originally hailing from Mt. Desert Island. Patrick said his love of sailing was quickly cemented at an early age because boats constantly surrounded him. As soon as he graduated from high school he earned his captain’s license and began assembling a vast knowledge of all things nautical.

“I started out working with schooners, and then I got into yachts. I also started getting into delivering boats later on in my 20s,” he said.

For a number of years, Patrick bounced back and forth between delivering boats across the Atlantic and chartering his own 23-foot vessel. He sailed the small vessel to Ireland and Iceland before finally making his way up to Normandy, a trip he recalls as being both “adventurous” and a little nerve-wracking at times.

“I think I made that trip because I read too many sailing books as a kid,” he said. “Sailing out there was interesting, but you definitely need to think ahead. When I finished that trip, I realized I needed a bigger boat.”

That new boat is a 48-foot steel expedition vessel that is moored in Panama while Patrick sails Amity. Once summer end, he intends to return to Panama, where he will begin his first-ever foray into the Pacific Ocean.

“I’ve been all over the Atlantic. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean, but now I want to get into the Pacific. I see myself sailing Amity during the summer months, and then sailing around the world in my boat in the winter,” Patrick said.

As the busier time of the summer kicks off, Patrick said he looks forward to seeing how the business can grow and what the future will offer. Purchasing the Amity is a first in terms of business ventures for Patrick and his sister. However, he readily admits her business sense is a good compliment to his sailing experience.

“I’m not really a businessman. She handles all of that stuff. I just sail the boat,” he said.

Reservations to sail on Amity can be made by calling 323-1443, by stopping in at the Belfast Bay Co. office located at 17 Main St. in Belfast or by going to www.belfastbaycompany.com.

For more information about Patrick’s nautical adventures, go to www.discoverourplanet.com.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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