Sailors of all ages gathered at Arrowhead Farm in West Tisbury Saturday to celebrate the 90th birthday of Capt. Robert S. Douglas, the legendary captain of the schooner Shenandoah.

“Captain Doulgas’s impact on this community has been just so profound for so many decades,” said Casey Blum, co-founder of FUEL (Foundation for Underway Experiential Learning), the educational nonprofit that now owns Shenandoah.

Celebration at Arrowhead Farm Saturday included many friends and well wishers. — Gary McGivney

Mr. Douglas donated Shenandoah to FUEL in 2020, launching a new era for the 62-year-old topsail schooner. Since then FUEL has continued Shenandoah’s legacy as a vessel for learning.

Many who spoke at the party tied their love of sailing directly back to Shenandoah and her iconic captain.

“There were no lessons, no projects, no instructions, no praise,” said Gary Maynard, recalling his first voyage. “Only the highest of expectations.”

FUEL co-founder Ian Ridgeway said his first voyage on the ship immediately reset his life’s course.

“I don’t remember many details about that experience,” he said. “What I do remember is how it felt to embark on a grand adventure.”

But in his own scant remarks, Mr. Douglas looked to the future instead of the past. He previewed plans for FUEL’s upcoming, still unnamed vessel, intended to continue Shenandoah’s legacy on the Vineyard. The ship, designed by Mr. Douglas, will be made from steel and equipped to sail across oceans.

“If Shenandoah has been a great boat, the new vessel is going to be better,” Captain Douglas said.

Donations were encouraged, in lieu of gifts.

“The vessel herself, to me, is what sells the project,” Mr. Douglas said.

After all, the captain said he was never one for the pageantry of a birthday party.

“I haven’t had one since my 80th,” he said.