Frances sails with a licensed captain, a mate, and two deckhands. Service on board is our utmost priority, and our crew will help you enjoy the time you spend with us. Megan Jones (co-builder and owner) has captained Frances for seven seasons.  She learned to sail with her family on an island off the coast of Maine.  She spends summers operating Frances out of her homeport of Portland. Winters take Megan to the West Indies and on to Europe for crewing and racing classic yachts.


Building The Frances

Built in the spirit of tradition, Frances is a replica of working coastal pilot cutters that sailed the waters of Maine and New England between 1790 and 1812. Her work-boat design heritage sets her apart from modern sailing yachts.  Used for local coastal trading in the early nineteenth century, these small sloops averaged fifty feet in length (LOD) and displaced about thirty tons.  They carried and traded salt, fish, furs, and lumber, their designs traditional to Great Britain.

In the winter of 2003 our team of three set out to build this very hull that used to ghost the commercial port of Portland nearly 200 years before.  Led by Hasket Derby Hildreth, construction of her steel hull took place at the Portland Co. on Fore Street.  Here we fashioned our own steel tools (brake presses made of I-beams, steel benders, and cranes) to lay her keel, pattern her frames, and plate her hull.  Her spars, cabin houses, and interior were later finished up the coast in Yarmouth, with oak and spruce from the Maine woods. Frances remains true to the age of sail, with no inboard propulsion, only the use of a slick yawl boat for auxiliary power.  She carries 5 sails:  main, top, stay, jib, and jib top, her mast rising 80 feet off the water.

Frances sails out of her home port of Portland during the summer season in Maine.  She is known in Portland for her tall rig and how she perfectly compliments our city’s rich maritime history, sharing 1800 with the fortifications that benchmark the entrances to our harbor.  Visions of two centuries ago found, remembered, and celebrated once again in our time.



Type:  Spirit of Tradition, Gaff Rigged Topsail Cutter

Designer: Hasket Derby Hildreth

Year: 2003


Length Over All (LOA):  74’

Length Waterline (LWL):  52’

Beam Max:  18’ 6”

Draft:  6’

Displacement:  43 tons

Construction:  Steel

Propulsion System:  Yawl Boat

Crew:  Captain, Mate, 2 Deckhands


Contact Info:

Phone: (207) 749-9169

Please send your inquiries to or fill out the form below.


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Maine State Pier, Portland, Maine


Frances sails from the Maine State Pier, located behind Casco Bay Lines at the intersection of Franklin and Commercial Streets.