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The s/v ALPHA
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We purchased a Pearson 33-2 in 2005 and have moved to Lake Superior. Click here to see our new boat.




Sailing Big Traverse Bay on Lake of the Woods.


There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
        - Kenneth Grahame 

Morning call at Northern Harbour on Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada.

In 2005 we bought a Pearson 33 and moved to the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior.  Here is our new web site.

The s/v Alpha
The Alpha is a Chrysler 26 and was purchased in 1977. The boat is shared and cared for by Jerry, David, John, and Steve.  It is a large trailerable sailboat that can sleep seven and store the large amount of supplies needed to take a family out for a week long cruise. The boat has spent most of its sailing life on Lake of the Woods but is now kept on Lake Mille Lacs in central Minnesota.  The boat is durable, safe, and able to sail in a wide range of conditions. The Chrysler 26 had three unique features that made the boat especially adaptable to Lake of the Woods sailing conditions. First, it had a swing keel, which allowed the boat to negotiate the shallow waters and channels occasionally found on the lake.  Second, the boats had a swing rudder which gave the boat even more flexibility in shallow waters. Third, the boats had an outboard motor well which allowed for a very large rear berth (sleeps three!). This also allowed the skipper to develop a unique stern-to-shore anchoring system that made boat to land transfers very simple.

The boat is fun to sail. It is slow in light air compared to other 26 footers and it is quick to heal when the wind initially picks up. But, once the wind blows the boat is at its best. In strong winds the boat is stiff and responsive and if one reefs early it is a lot of fun to sail. The swing rudder and motor mount were under built but if braced worked quite well.  For specifications follow this link.

Web Site Introduction
The Summer of 2002 was a big summer for the Alpha as she completed a seven week cruise of Lake of the Woods.  The adventure was very successful and can be relived at the Summer 2002 web page.  Now we turn our attention to the future and the summer of 2004.  For the summer of 2004 the Alpha will remain at Mac's Twin Bay on Lake Mille Lacs but spend a portion of its summer on lake of the Woods.  

We use this web site to keep family members and friends updated on the adventures of the Alpha.  We have found that having a web site helps us communicate with those who are planning to join us in our adventures, to motivate us to keep the boat in good shape, and to keep us thinking about sailing during another Minnesota winter.  Our previous web site was helpful in planning our seven week sailing adventure during the summer of 2002.  It was fun place to share our thoughts, record our projects, and post summaries of the various cruises.  We hope this site evolves into something interesting and fun as well.  

For the summer of 2004 we have bigger plans involving the return to Lake of the Woods of the Alpha.  Our plan is to charter a 44' houseboat and haul up the Alpha and Mai Tai to Lake of the Woods.  The boats will set out on a cruise to Whitefish Bay and Loon Island.  Loon Island is our favorite spot on the lake and none of us were able to make it there last summer.  This trip would be designed to sail to Loon Island which is located at the southern tip of Whitefish Bay and spend a full rest day on the island enjoying the clear water and beautiful scenery before having to return to Kenora.

Summer Trip 2004 Itinerary (cancelled!)
I have left the site up because I hope do this in a future summer and i just like how the web pages turned out.  Visit the proposed Summer 2004 Trip Itinerary and read the all about our plans.  This trip would be more structured then previous adventures and has a "learn to cruise" course feel to the itinerary.  This is on purpose in order to give the adventure a little more structure and to help some of our family members improve their sailing/cruising skills.  Our sailing group would consist of twelve people spread out on three boats and a mixture of adults and kids. Our itinerary will provide a little bit more structure and will keep the flotilla moving and ensure that we reach our destination and return in our allotted time.  It was also just fun to type the itinerary.

"Web Sites of the ..."
Periodically we update our "Web Site of the..." selection with a new boating web page.  Our current selection is the Pacific Yachting Magazine web site.  This is a Canadian magazine based out of Vancouver British Colombia and is a very good resource for sailing those Canadian waters.  If your interested in a new a different sailing magazine I strongly recommend this periodical.

Various Boat Sightings
This year we have seen some unique boats.  Boats that are slightly different then our usual Minnesota land locked s/v Alpha.

1. USS Navy Turner Joy  DD-951 a 418' Sherman class Destroyer.  This Ship is on permanent public display on the Bremerton Washington water front.  Tours are available daily and visitors are able to explore all of the ship on a self guided tour.  Very fun!  Click on the picture for a bigger view.



2. A USS Navy Nuclear Submarine.  We saw this submarine as it entered Hood Canal on its was to the Bangor Subuse.  It was very impressive to watch it pas by.  Click on the picture for a bigger view.


3.  Thanks to Gordon S for taking our family out on a wonderful sail aboard his Beneteau 36'




Web Updates
August 2004

A Fish Tale
My father-in-law had an interesting experience with a bald eagle.  He described the adventure in a recent email so I am included it as a journal entry.  Hope you enjoy.

Leech Lake Regatta
Click here for a Leech Lake Regatta summary and to view some pictures.

Summer 2004
Summer has come and gone.  It is hard to believe that school has started again and winter is here.  Time flies!

This summer we did not sail the Alpha as much as we would have liked.  The summer was cool and rainy and we were all very busy.  My kids were in so many summer activities that it was hard to make the drive to the boat... next year.

The biggest disappointment was our summer 2004 trip was canceled.  The flotilla cruise did not work out for our greater family.  It was hard to coordinate four families and one cruise.  I don't know if we will try again.  I am planning to take my family back to Lake of the Woods next summer.  Something  to dream about.

My brother and I did some fun racing this summer on a friends boat.  I will post some pictures soon.


The Skippers
Short bios of the s/v Alpha's skippers.

Book Review
Wake of the Green Storm by Marlin Bree is a very interesting sailing book. Mr. Bree was caught on Lake Superior in the incredible windstorm of 1999 that did so much damage to the Minnesota Boundary Waters area. These winds ripped through the region at over 100 mph damaging great areas of Minnesota wilderness. They then swept out onto Lake Superior. At the time Marlin was sailing his homebuilt 20' sailboat on the lake on day one of his month long Superior cruise.

The book shares his survival of the storm and his continued cruise. The book is as much about the lake and his journey from Grand Portage to the Slate Islands as it is about the storm. Along the way he meets many interesting people, shares his cruising experiences, and reflects on his relationship with the lake and its history.

He captures the small boat cruising experience from sleepless nights at anchor to tense moments navigating unfamiliar waters. This book should be interesting to all sailors particularly those who have set out on cruises on Minnesota's and Canada's inland waters. Also a good read for those who enjoy adventure and Lake Superior history.  The book can be found on Amazon.com.


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|| Last updated 8/29/04 ||


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