Dreams usually start somewhere. For me the dream of sailing started with a 17′ Grumman canoe, onto which my mom and dad built a sailing rig like this.
We only ever tried it once, during a family camping trip to northern Wisconsin, with disastrous results. The happy upshot is my mom broke down and rented us a Sunfish from the campground and bought me a sailing manual. We had a blast cruising around the small lake.
Sometime thereafter I discovered dirt bikes and later girls, both distractions from sailing. The next boat came to us when Peg and I were married and in our first house on north 2nd street in Stillwater. A neighbor sold us his Snark and we had the start of a fleet.
A fairly awful boat, it still provided a lot of fun. Later the Snark went to my mom and then on to my older sister.
Next we got into the personal watercraft craze. Peg bought a Yamaha Waverunner: under powered and skidded around like it was on ice.
I picked up a Sea Doo SPX.
Then Peg upgraded to a Sea Doo GTX.
The Sea Doos opened up a new range of exploring. With our kids, Nikki and Chris, we explored the St. Croix and up the Mississippi from South St. Paul to the Ford Dam. Kyle McGlade and I went as far south as the top of Lake Pepin. But the most extensive exploring happened with Brian Lorentzen and his SPX:
- South St. Paul to the Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi
- South St. Paul to Shakopee on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers
- Shakopee to Mankato on the Minnesota rivers
- Starting at Bayfield, WI and touring the entire Apostle Islands.
- Duluth to Two Harbors and up the Columbus river
Around then we inherited my dad’s fishing boat. Powerboating did not fit our way of thinking and it was soon history.
Our first catamaran came as a birthday gift from Peg. A 17′ Nacra, it was fast and fun. Peg, Chris, Brian, Aketoshi Sohno, Rob and Kyle sailed on her. Kyle and Rob managed to pitch pole her, cartwheeling her end for end.
Our first cruising sailboat was also tied to a birthday. In 2001, on my birthday, Peg diverted us from a planned lunch and surprised me by agreeing to buy a Hunter 260 I had been eyeing.
In her we sailed the St. Croix from above Stillwater to Prescott and the Mississippi as far as Lake Pepin and St. Paul. On her trailer she went to the Apostles for a one-week tour.
The next cruiser was a Hunter 340. Peg decided it was time to move up after we charted a Hunter 36 in the Florida Keys with sister Margaret and her husband Doug.
In the 340 we ranged a bit farther, making a 9-day trip to LaCrosse, WI. The 340 also participated in the St. Croix Sailing Club racing series. We hosted groups from work, offered several days of sailing in the United Way auction, and generally sailed the hell out of her. Many nights were spent at peaceful anchor out on the Croix.
During this time I discovered a love for buying, restoring and selling trailer-able sailboats. The first I bought from Gerry Speiss, of “Alone Across the Atlantic” fame. It was an Ericson 23 and I learned a lot. I only sailed her once but made a tidy profit.
The second trailer sailer was a Catalina Capri 22. We raced her a couple of times but the main voyage was a one-week trip with Rob “Bullwinkle” McGlade from Grand Portage around Isle Royale. We had great weather and stunning scenery. At times we did look like the Clampetts with all sorts of stuff hanging of the rails.
The following season I bought a Schock 23 and Peg duplicated the Isle Royale trip with me. Again we had great weather. This boat also travelled up through the cities to see the new 35 bridge being assembled in Minneapolis.
At this point we were pretty settled on having the Hunter 340 on the St. Croix but wanted something a little bigger than the Schock 23 for going to Lake Superior. With this in mind I bought an S2 6.9.
A spacious and solid boat, it would have served well… if Peg hadn’t seen an ad for a Gemini catamaran available in Bayfied. The result was we sold the 340 and the S2 and bought the Gemini 105M “Endeavor”. More on the Gemini here.
While the Gemini was out Lake Superior boat, we still had a slip available at Bayport, so I bought another Schock 23 to sail on the St. Croix.
After a couple of seasons Frostbight also went for sale and we concentrated on bringing the Gemini to Hudson in preparation for doing America’s Great Loop. Once the Gemini was home and being worked on we suddenly had no sailable boats: not a good situation. Thus I bought a couple of “temporary” boats for diversion while we worked on the Gemini.
The first, a Catalina C25 saw much of the St. Croix and went to Pepin on Rob’s first trip there.
The second was an MC Scow, a fast and twitchy racer. The scow hull planes in moderate breezes and can hit the mid teens speed-wise. Not a relaxing boat to sail, as she darts off in a new direction the moment your concentration lapses.
As we set off on the Great Loop we sold off most of the fleet, leaving Endeavor as our sole flagship. Now, post-Loop, Endeavor is for sale.
The newest addition to our fleet is this 2001 Bayliner 2452 Express Cruiser. She has been extremely well maintained and is completely turn-key. We will be customizing her for extended travel. On her we plan to explore many of the waterways in the U.S. and Canada.
Yes, the name has got to go.
More horsepower than all of our sailboats combined. We will be adding a “kicker” outboard for backup and fuel efficiency when motoring slowly.
An enclosed cockpit (with snap-on rear screen) and a windshield wiper! Bring on the rain!
Very open and airy feeling inside. Includes snap-on shades for all windows. V-berth is comfortable for two.
Dinette lowers to become another berth.
Full galley with pressurized water, microwave, fridge and alcohol/electric range.
Pump head, soon to be replaced with an Airhead.
Snap-in cockpit seats for guests.