Marlin BreeBy Katherine Stone

There are places and things that we read, hear and dream about, that are on our “bucket list” to cruise. Lake Superior was not one of those places for me and I’m not sure it ever will be, as I remember all too well chipping ice out of the bottom of a Lightning there in early August before we went sailing in a championship regatta. However, I feel that I have truly been there when I read of the many stories that Marlin Bree artfully describes in his book Bold Sea Stories. Hitting the bookshelves for the first time during the Covid-19 outbreak getting Bold Sea Stories might not be a bad idea, as you can easily acquire it on-line now from Indigo or Amazon for under $20.

With 21 inspiring adventures (all can be read in under 25 minutes), Marlin Bree has you in his grasp as he tells of lore and legends from the world’s “wickedest waters” both above and under the North Atlantic, South Pacific and the world’s largest freshwater sea. “Along the bluffs on shore, watchers with binoculars scanned the broken seas. The heavy rollers of Superior were high and mean, with waves rearing to become the lake’s notorious ‘square rollers.’ … Word has spread. The village knew that the Old Man had gone out to bring in The Kid.”

Bold Sea Stories CoverBold Sea Stories Cover (Right)

It is a fascinating read, well-researched and written with gripping true stories of men in their fishing boats up to captains aboard gigantic freighters several football fields long. Reading along you think you have read about the worst storm, until you come to the next story. There are tales of the United States Life-Saving Service (founded in 1876, they became the forerunners of today’s Coast Guard) on Lake Superior who put in 24-hour days under spartan conditions. “They had to be expert sailors and boatmen, couldn’t be younger than 18 years of age, nor older than 45; couldn’t weigh less than 135 pounds or over 205 and had to be expert swimmers. Their pay was $65 a month. Those who survived deserved the title of ‘heroes of the surf.’”

Trusty Motor

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Left) A trusty motor is a good friend

The storms of November always rang a bell with me, as I remember well the waves crashing over the break walls where I lived near Lake Erie. That didn’t come close to the fury of Lake Superior – where in 1905, 30 ships went down. It reminds me of that hauntingly beautiful ballad by Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. She was the “Queen of the Lakes” – later known as the “Titanic” of the Great Lakes. The story of her tragic end on November 10, 1975 is still disputed. Bree has done his homework and he brings up the data from new electronic surveying of the area around the sinking that confirms a “new reef” that was not on the old charts. “The ‘Fitz’ probably slammed into the new reef in the Six Fathom Shoals. She likely struck near her starboard bottom section, just aft of the pilot house.”

 
Marlin Bree on a SailboatMarlin Bree on a sailboat

These true tales end with a story about Madeline Island that has lived under three flags: French, English and American. It is the only island on Superior that is inhabited year-round by 100 or so hearty soles who live a rugged life, becoming completely isolated by the vast frozen ice fields of Superior in the winter. Their entire life is dictated by the lake – challenge it, take chances, don’t respect it, and you will die. The native Canadians say the island is haunted.

Superior’s notorious reefs are a diver’s paradise – with many wreaks still untouched. Her rugged wilderness is untamed, stunningly beautiful and teeming with wildlife. Many of the waters that Bree sailed in his wooden boat “Persistence”, are now protected in the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. All one has to do when you’re thirsty, is reach over the side of the boat and scoop up a handful of water to drink – it’s that clean. “I had been warned that others had entered this wild area and had disappeared. Neither they, nor their boats were ever found. They told me I could get lost – and if I got into trouble, I would be on my own. It might be days before I’d see another boat or human being. The common wisdom was, if you listened to everything the weather bureau told you, you’d go nowhere.”

Map of Lake Superior
Map of Lake Superior

Related Articles

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 15:44

The formation of Glacial Lake Iroquois, at the end of the last ice age, was to have a lasting effect on the boating activity on Lake Ontario. Many years ago, as the lake eroded, it left geological...

Friday, 11 July 2014 11:10

Bernie Luttmer of Swan’s Yacht Sales, has finally had his brainchild come to life, and he tells me that he was just about ready to retire when the boat of his dreams came into production – the...

Monday, 04 November 2013 11:11

The power of one is a dominant proclamation that resonates within many small, casual, easy-going boating clubs throughout Canada. These boating fraternities were often started with the vision of one...

Thursday, 10 October 2013 11:41

Ever thought about joining a year-round boating club where you didn’t have to own a boat to be able to cruise or race with friends? How about placing yourself in an environment where learning is the...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:37

Third Oldest in North America, Located in Both Canada and the United States.  Every boat needs a port to call home and her owner benefits from a sense of camaraderie by sharing interests and his or...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 10:28

Who doesn’t love the folklore and myth of sea monsters? Some say it’s the fodder for ancient sailing logs and others fill story books with these mysterious creatures. Ogopogo, also...

Boat Reviews

Video Gallery

 

 

Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 54By Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau saw an opportunity to add a little thrill to any cruising adventure, so they took the hull of the First 53 racer (introduced just last year), and with a few fashionable changes, created the Oceanis Yacht 54, the new entry-level of Beneteau’s swanky Oceanis Yacht line. The result is a performance cruiser that sails like a witch and looks like a grande dame.

Design

Roberto Biscontini is the naval architect and Lorenzo Argento created the details of the exterior and interior design. 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Over the course of four days in September 1864, representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova ...
The new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming ...
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...

Riverest MarinaThe new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming francophone village in Eastern Ontario, this joined marina and restaurant venue is the ambitious initiative of long-time entrepreneur André Chabot and biologist Alexandra Quester, both residents of L’Orignal.

The purchase of the L’Orignal Marina was made official in November 2020. The new year was barely underway when all 50 available slips were already reserved. No wonder the addition of member and visitor slips is already planned for the 2022 season – the 2021 count is up to 62 power and sail already. At the moment, the Riverest Marina offers boaters a stop where they can launch their boat...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Last issue we featured a story about the engagement proposal aboard Via-Mara, a 1969 Trojan 42 Aft ...
With thanks to Sail Canada, here’s a collection of photos that are Olympic quality. Clearly our ...
Wow. That was a lot of fun reading the collection of boat names that came in from all over the ...
No individual had a greater impact on the modern sport of sailing than Bruce Kirby. Known and ...
Just off The Ocean Race European Tour, Daniel is setting his sights on competing in The Ocean Race ...
After being our fearless leader and publisher since CYOB kicked off, Greg Nicoll, handed over the ...
Swim Drink Fish is spearheading the Vancouver Plastic Cleanup by installing, maintaining, and ...
With but four weeks to go, Sarah is in Japan, staying safe while acclimatizing to the heat at ...
MJM is a different kind of boat builder, second generation family owned and operated, we design and ...
Stuart Hendrie, a pro photographer sent along this photo of the pirate ship in Jordan Ontario. Many ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
It’s a scary thought - whether your boat is made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or composite – it’s ...
It’s a scary thought – but whether your boat is made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or composite – ...
Last summer there was tremendous interest in buying a boat to have fun in the restricted world ...
The boat buying or selling market is hot now and has been since the late spring of 2020. Sean ...
Last issue we got up with Montreal sailor Marc Robic who has accumulated a lot of tips and tricks ...
While some parts of the country are lucky enough to have year-round boating, there are plenty of ...
A Transducer is a device that is installed below the waterline that provides underwater data to a ...
Spring has finally sprung! At least it has weather wise here in Montreal, so it is with great ...
For most of us, the thrill of being aboard is associated with the motion of the water, wind in our ...
An important, but often overlooked maintenance item on any type of boat is it’s steering system. ...

Galvanic CorrosionIt’s a scary thought – but whether your boat is made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or composite – it’s slowly deteriorating under you. Part of this is the nature of the marine environment: Sun, moisture, waves, wind, movement and vibration all contribute to components breaking down.

But there are other factors that are much more concerning and act at a significantly faster rate that the environment can take credit for. One of these is commonly spoken of, but not terribly well understood: Corrosion. As boaters, we’re concerned with two main types of corrosion: Galvanic and Stray-Current. This edition will focus on galvanic corrosion – in two weeks, stay tuned for info on stray-current.

Read More

 

  

News

  • Prev
Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s Defiant completed a six-race sweep of the Cup for Canada over Zing, the ...
On September 6, Groupe Beneteau laid out its course to develop new boating experiences, new ...
Last Friday, the first ever Canada’s Celebration of Sailing honoured the season for Sailing in ...
Boating Ontario is very proud to have Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety jump on ...
Montreal-based Vision Marine Technologies, Inc. is headed to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout to ...
Summer is in full swing with Canadians enjoying time outside and on the water. So, while enjoying ...
On July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor ...
HanseYachts AG presents RYCK, its third motorboat brand carrying the "Made in Germany" label. The ...
“We are all proud of our athletes and coaches who have dedicated themselves to push Canadian ...
Collingwood, ON hq’d Limestone Boat Company – owner and builder of Aquasport Boats, Limestone Boats ...

Mia and Caleb's EngagementOn July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor Yacht in Oromocto NB. (That piece was also expanded in CY magazine later in the year.)

One of our Canadian Yachting contributors, Denise Miller, had shared the article on my social media and a young man reached out and asked if she could connect him with the owners of the boat, Dave and Barb. Denise leapt into action and Dave and Barb were thrilled. They concocted a plan that the young lady, Mia, thought she was coming to model for a sales brochure for Dave to do charter tours.

Read More