October 12, 2012

Their ship has come in

The World, an enclave of the wealthy, drops anchor in Rockland before heading to Portland on Sunday.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

ROCKLAND - From the public landing, it looked as though it had been built on top of the breakwater overnight.

click image to enlarge

The World moors off Rockland on Friday, where it will remain for the weekend. Owners of the 165 studios and suites move onto the ship for months at a time.

Photos by Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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Lisa Mrzlack and her parents, Bob and Susan Mrzlack of Monticello, Ind., check out The World in Rockland Harbor on Friday. The yacht, which set sail in 2002, makes its way around the world.

Additional Photos Below

THE WORLD BY THE NUMBERS

7,000 square feet in spa

800 ports visited since setting sail

644 feet in length

260 staff members

165 residences

150 people on average aboard

31 countries it will visit this year

12 decks

6 bars

4 months per year average aboard

3 days on average in port

The World, a floating condo complex for the rich and adventurous, sailed into Rockland Harbor on Friday morning and moored for the weekend about a mile beyond the smattering of sailboats moored by the shore.

Twelve decks high and 644 feet long, it's the blue whale of white yachts, complete with a putting green, personal trainers, an art gallery and a smoking bar.

Owners of the 165 studios and suites move onto the ship for months at a time as it makes its way around the world at school-zone speed. About 90 residents and guests were aboard Friday.

The World, which has visited more than 800 ports in 140 countries since it set sail in 2002, has cruised the coast of Maine before, but never stopped in Rockland.

Shari Closter, director of operations for the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, made sure it did this time.

"We feel we have everything to offer in this region," Closter said Friday morning, taking a break from adjusting a welcome-to-Rockland sign standing amid a display of mums wrapped in burlap, lobster traps and bales of hay just off the pier.

Another chamber employee, Phelps Bristol, was aboard the ship with a table of brochures, ready to answer any questions about things to do in the area. People mostly wanted to know about bike routes and hiking trails, he said. "They really love maps."

In recent months, The World sailed the Northwest Passage from Nome, Alaska, to Nuuk, Greenland.

From there, it made several stops in Canadian ports, then docked in the tiny Washington County town of Eastport, and then Bar Harbor. It will leave Rockland Sunday night and head to Portland, then on to Boston and Bermuda.

Passengers were slow to head to shore after the ship anchored in Rockland around 10 a.m. Friday. By noon, tenders had shuttled in only a handful. If passengers were shopping on Main Street, store owners hadn't noticed.

"It's hard to know because we're not polling our customers," said Sierra Dietz, owner of The Grasshopper Shop. But, she said, it did seem a little busier than usual.

Aside from some passengers who wore jackets embroidered with the name of the ship, it was difficult to pick out residents of The World from other tourists and townies.

They mostly came to shore a couple at a time, were quiet and dressed casually. Some went for jogs. Others rented cars.

The largest group walked up to Main Street around 3 p.m. for a tour of the Farnsworth Art Museum followed by a private reception. Other events over the weekend include a lobster cooking class at the Celladoor Winery in Lincolnville and floatplane ride over Mount Katahdin and Moosehead Lake.

Devon and William Logan, real estate investors from San Diego, said it was nice to be able to stay in one place for a couple of days and not have to rush around to see everything.

They bought yarn at Quilt Divas on Main Street before heading to Archer's on the Pier for a late lunch.

The Logans bought a place on The World five years ago after seeing a Travel Channel special about the ship. They come onboard about three times a year and stay for two or three months at a time. They've been golfing in Canada and scuba diving in the Indian Ocean. Antarctica was probably Devon Logan's favorite, she said. Before this week, they'd never been to Maine.

"This is just as foreign to us," she said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at:

lbridgers@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Two hikers walk along the causeway to Rockland Breakwater Light to get a closer look at the 644-foot, privately owned condominium ship The World.

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The World prepares to transport passengers to the Rockland waterfront.

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Condominium owners of The World disembark from a tender that carries owners to port from the moored ship just off Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. They plan a couple of days in Rockland, then Portland and then off to Bermuda, according to a couple of owners who asked not to be identified for personal reasons.



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