Christian Sailing Inc.
A Sailing youth camp from 1978 to 1989.
Christian Sailing Inc. was a
Christian sailing youth camp located on Lake of the Woods. The camp began
operation in June of 1978 and continued for twelve summers before ending in
1989. The camp was founded by Rev. Jerry Larson and his brother Steve Larson.
Jerry was a pastor at Woodlake Lutheran Church in Richfield Minnesota and was
looking for an alternative wilderness experience for his high school church
youth. Being a sailor he investigated chartering sailboats on Lake of the Woods
in order to sail and explore the 15,000 islands with his church
youth group but found the cost was to high. The following year Jerry and Steve
decided to start a sailing camp for church youth groups on Lake of
The Boat... A Chrysler 26The first step was to find an affordable sailboat that was large enough to sleep seven, safe enough to sail the big waters of Lake of the Woods, and affordable. After a quick search the perfect boat was found, the Chrysler 26. The Chrysler 26 was a unique boat in 1977. It was a large trailerable sailboat that could sleep seven and store the large amount of supplies needed to take kids out for a week long cruise. After arranging financing, two white hulled Chrysler 26 sailboats were purchased in 1978 and two more were added in 1980. The boats proved to be very successful charter boats. They were 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. This also allowed the skippers to develop a unique anchoring system that made shore to land transfers very simple. Second, the boats had swing rudders 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 (slept three!).
The boat was fun to sail. It was slow in light air compared to other 26 footers and it was quick to heal when the wind initially picked up. But, once the wind blew the boat was at its best. In strong winds the boat was stiff and responsive and if one reefed early it was a lot of fun to sail. The swing rudder and motor mount were under built but if braced worked quite well.
The Youth Camp
Christian Sailing was originally located at Bay
View Marina near Morrison Ontario. After Three years at Bay View,
Canadian laws forced the company to relocate to Penasse Island in the
Northwest Angle of Minnesota. The final eight years were spent on the
very beautiful Penasse Island as guests of Harley Jenson. The youth
groups would arrive at Young's Bay on the Northwest Angle on Sunday
and would be ferried to Penasse where they would board the waiting
sailboats. Each boat had a CSI trained skipper that worked on the boat
for the summer and this skipper would orient the new crew to the boat
and the Island. Monday morning the boats would leave Penasse and venture
out into the 15,000 islands of Lake of the Woods. During the day the
kids would learn how to sail and how to live aboard a sailboat. Each
night the boats would anchor in a different secluded bay. After folding
sails, scrubbing the decks, and cleaning the boats the kids would
explore the island, swim, fish, paddle the dingy, etc... Due to the many
protected bays, the unique design of the boat, and the rocky ledges
along the shore the boats would anchor with the stern just a foot from
shore. This made exiting the boat simple and allowed the kids easy
access to shore from the boat. At night the boats would pull out a few
yards from shore but stay connected to land with two stern spring-lines.
The groups returned to Penasse Island at the end of the week and depart
for home early Saturday morning meanwhile the skippers would clean and
prepare the boats for another week of sailing.
The AlphaThe Alpha is retired from the charter business but is still sailed regularly on Mille Lacs Lake and Lake of the Woods. The other three Chrysler 26's have been sold. For more information on the Alpha visit the Alpha's web page.
launch used to get the groups out to the island was a Bayliner 21. The
boat was fun to drive and worked well in bringing the supplies and groups out to
|| Alpha ||
(Last updated 12/16/02)
Owners: Jerry Larson and Steve Larson