On Sunday, the last of Shenandoah’s crew arrived for the summer. Instead of being met by another member of the crew, in a skiff behind the Black Dog restaurant in Vineyard Haven, Victoria Carpenter got to step on board from the end of the dock at the Edgartown Yacht Club.

It’s been 40 years since the topsail schooner has been inside Edgartown Harbor. For the Island’s Juneteenth Jubilee last weekend, Skip Finley invited Shenandoah to town to help celebrate our collective freedom. With assistance from Ralph Packer and the crew at Tisbury Towing, at five forty-five on Saturday morning, behind Randy Jardin in the tug Thuban, Shenandoah went for her first trip of the season.

At seven forty-five the same morning, Captain Jardin was able to maneuver the 108-foot engine-less vessel through the narrow, running channel and onto the waiting dock. The next day, once the initial crowd of visitors had dispersed from touring the ship after a gospel brunch at the yacht club, Shenandoah’s resident dog, Charlotte, was the first to give Ms. Carpenter a hug when she climbed over the rail.

“She’s so happy! She probably smells all my dogs at home,” Ms. Carpenter said, dropping her gear, two moderate-sized bags to get her through the entire summer.

“She remembers you,” said Ian Ridgeway, Shenandoah’s captain.

Topsail schooner always makes a grand entrance. — Jeanna Shepard

Mr. Finley could not have chosen a local icon that more grandly exemplifies the thrill of freedom than the Foundation For Underway Experiential Learning’s 58-year-old topsail schooner, with her immense, raking black masts and colorfully painted rails.

Under the leadership of Capt. Bob Douglas thousands of Island school kids over the past four decades have had the privilege of exploring the Island’s waters from her black oiled decks and sturdy tarred rigging. Without an engine, the ship’s itinerary is always left open. When the wind is in charge, each day’s spontaneous adventures can lead anywhere and nowhere.

Because it was Father’s Day I brought my dad along to meet the crew and see the ship. We crawled through the eight-by-eight galley where a brave cook on a new coal stove will feed 40 passengers three meals a day. In the saloon, my Dad in turn pushed on each of the varnished mahogany tables where they rocked in their gimbals. He touched a key on the organ in the corner. No sound came out. The grin did not leave his face as he gazed around.

“I can’t believe how beautiful it is,” he said.

On deck, Captain Ridgeway, who has sailed on Shenandoah, on and off but mostly on, for 22 years, said of the organ: “I remember it making sounds as a kid, but nobody ever really tuned it. Captain Bob says he has another that’s ready to go. We’re going to try and get it on board this summer.”

The freshly painted cabin-houses looked cozy and inviting in the spitting rain but the crew was sitting around the rail laughing.

When my dad and I admired the freshness and neatness of the rigging, Sam Shields told us, after some lessons with Billy Mabie, he had made all new topmast back-stays this winter.

“Each one takes about eight hours, with coffee breaks. There are sixteen,” Mr. Shields said.

Once you put a splice in any piece of rigging the length becomes fixed. In a heavy piece of wire the labor required to make the splice and serve it in marlin makes amateurs wary.

“The lengths all turned out really well,” Mr. Shields said.

As well as being responsible for rigging the schooner for the sixth time, Sam has been training to help Captain Ridgeway share some of the responsibilities of driving Shenandoah.

“I want to go to Mystic,” he said.

“It would be great to get to Block Island,” said Emma Aspinall, the current chief mate.

Freedom is sitting around with people you love and picking out places on a chart for adventures.