The author sits in the starboard berth, next to the galley (left) and open hatch (right).

Marlin Bree is profiled in Who's Who in America in 2016.

Author's Persistence:
Little boat,
big heart

Persistence is the 20-foot centerboard sloop author Marlin Bree built beside his home in Shoreview, MN, and sailed extensively on Lake Superior.

She is an ultra-lightweight vessel constructed with a hull of three layers of 1/​8-inch thick Western Red Cedar veneers set in epoxy. The outer hull is sheathed in six-ounce fiberglass, set in epoxy, with additional fiberglass below the waterline. The bottom is finished with layers of epoxy/​carbon.

The keelson, stem, and keel are white oak, with Sitka Spruce stringers. Ribs are mahogany composite. The cabin top is Canadian birch plywood, with Honduras Mahogany veneers set on top, and Sitka Spruce veneers on the bottom. The foredeck area is ply faced with teak veneers, set in epoxy, as is the cockpit well.

The boat is bright finished -- all varnished.

People ask how long it takes to build a little trailerable cruiser like Persistence, and the author tells them: "seven years, and, she isn't finished yet." Each year for more than 20 years, the author has worked on his beloved wooden boat, rebuilding, adding revarnishing and innovating.

The little boat has tiny accommodations. "Imagine taking all your sail bags, your food and water, all your clothing and heavy weather gear, plus your books and maps, sleeping bags, blankets and pillows and stuffing them under your dining room table -- and living there for three months."

A solo voyage resulted in the author's first Lake Superior book, Wake of the Green Storm. "It was by accident," Bree related. "After I spent 7 years building my boat, I figured I'd just spend a little time off doing some cruising." However, the author found that as soon as he tied up on an island, Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands group in the southern shore of Lake Superior, he came to have a new insight on Superior.

"As the magazine editor for the Minneapolis Tribune," he said, " I had looked for stories about island life and, in particular, adventures on the world's largest freshwater lake. But these stories eluded me until I spent time on the island, living aboard my boat."

"A whole new world of Superior opened up for me. I began writing stories down, and, taking some pictures." The result was the first of three Lake Superior books in which the author both sails the Big Lake from port to port (and storm to storm) and meets some waterfront characters.

"And shipwrecks," Bree said. "The lake is loaded with shipwrecks, and, these make fascinating stories. As I sail over a shipwreck, I look below my hull into the deep waters, and, try to imagine what it was like during the final moments."

An acclaimed boating historian, Bree does extensive research into the shipwrecks and adventrues after he returns from his cruises.

The tough little boat --- a centerboarder that Bree trailers up to the lake --- has been through some terrible storms, but the worst one was Superior's version of the Perfect Storm. This was a derecho that swept through July 4, 1999, with reported winds and downdrafts that topped 110 mph.

"I was not certain that I was going to survive that one," the author relates. This killer storm was reported in Wake of the Green Storm. Bree also interviewed other boaters who were out in the storm, and, recorded some of their exciting experiences.

Bree sails the little centerboarder each sailing season in Minnesota and in the winter, stores the boat on its trailer in one of the enclosed buildings in the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Though it is more than 20 years old, including building time, the boat is solid and strong, Bree says. "Every year I go over my boat, from keelson to topmast, and check everything. She's still got a heart of oak."


Fall layup or storage? Use the downloadable and free fall layup checklist in this updated version of the Boat Log & Record This all - in - one boat record and logbook with engine maintenance record helps a boater to maintain in one place a season -to - season working record of a boat and its needs. It's the largest and most complete boat log and record for amateur boaters ever published. Includes special Emergency section dealing with transmitting a Mayday Message and how to deal with Man overboard. Plus other ways to boat safely and have more fun on the water. Free checklist here for fall layups or storage.
Fiction: A boater gets caught up in a daring around-the-world sailboat race ---and finds murder! "Full of remarkable characters and daring feats."--Cruising World.
Here are masterful tales of seafaring on the world's largest freshwater lake, including the last hours of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Join Marlin Bree in his solo voyages -- including a storm that gives Superior the reputation as being one of the world's most dangerous bodies of water.
A catamaran sails at midnight and is hit by a surprise storm along the Shipwreck coast. At the helm, the author fights for control and he and the crew search for the entryway off the lake. Exciting adventure. In a special chapter, as he sails near the sunken vessel, he takes a new look at the last hours of the Edmund Fitzgerald. If you like rugged adventures and are intrigued by Lake Superior's legends, history and folklore, here's a special book that will fascinate and sometimes surprise you.
Boating, great maritime adventures, storms at sea, maritime tales and survivals
Why did the Edmund Fitzgerald sink? Find yourself in the big freighter's wheelhouse as the Superior storm is at its worst. Or, find yourself aboard a leaky old wooden boat heading out into Lake Superior as an ice storm descends in a race to find a missing friend. Or, dive into murky waters to discover a mysterious old schooner sitting on the bottom still intact. A storm hits! Now come aboard a 10-foot home-built plywood sailboat trying to make it across the stormy South Pacific. Join the author aboard his sailboat trying to survive the storm of the century, with 134 mph. downbursts. Here are seven true tales of maritime adventure and survival from the waters of the world to stir the blood and fire the imagination--all told with a mariner's insight! And more. With illustrations, charts. Now the winner of seven writing awards!
Nonfiction: Excerpts & pix!
Roaring out of nowhere, a huge storm tore onto Lake Superior and catches a lone sailor and his small wooden boat in a wall of wind. Join Marlin Bree in the cockpit of his small sailboat as he fights to save his boat. The author goes on to complete a special voyage along the picturesque north shore of Lake Superior. A classic boating tale. "Equals any oceanic adventure." -- San Diego Log
Fiction: Lots of cartoons & laughs!
Okay, gang: let's face it: our boating world is funny sometimes. It's filled with good hearted people and a lot of other folks ranging from full-of-it skippers and too-party-hardy crew members. Here's a handy book you can keep on the old chart table to let you have a laugh at everything from the marine head to nautical terminology. Not for everyone, but you know who you are. Ho. Ho.
On June 1, 1979, Gerry pointed the bow of his tiny boat east and set sail out of Chesapeake Bay to cross the treacherous North Atlantic. He had hoped he had designed and built the smallest practical-sized sailboat capable of surviving on the open seas -- 10 feet long. Fifty four days later, after battling raging storms, physical pain, loneliness and islolation, sleeplessness and the never-ending racking of the ocean, Gerry pulled into the English port of Falmouth--the smallest craft to make that astonishing ocean crossing.

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All you wanted to know and maybe then some about the newsman who built a little boat beside his home and went boating -- and entered the Golden Age of Sailing.

Under a blazing setting sun, a lone voyageur ties up at a weather-beaten dock in the northern reaches of Lake Superior. He thinks he is alone in this tiny harbor, but then he hears the flap of wings and his friends, the gulls, descend to keep him company and maybe share a little advice with him. Tonight he knows that even in the wilderness he is not alone.

Check out this new Marlin Bree profile from the White Bear News with this handy link. Just click on: http:/​/​​shoreview/​news/​article_9a72f650-1180-11e6-b83a-8bcbab5743ed.html

The Who's Who in America organization has presented Marlin Bree with this plaque in commemoration of his ten years of being profiled in Who's Who.

Two Top Awards. The author has won two prestigious West Marine Writing Awards from Boating Writers International. Pictured are the 2004 award for the author's story, The Day All Hell Broke Loose (excerpted from Wake of the Green Storm) and the 2008 award for The Old Man and The Inland sea (excerpted from Broken Seas).

News: At the prestigious Miami International Boat Show February 16, 2017, Marlin Bree won a Certificate of Merit in the annual Boating Writers International writing contest to recognize and to honor top boating journalism. Bree's winning article Curse of the Island of Doom, appeared in the November issue of Small Craft Advisor Magazine and was in the Boating Adventures category.

About the author:
Boater, boat-builder
and best-selling author

Marlin Bree is a best-selling author, an award-winning marine journalist and a veteran boater.

He is the only marine writer ever to have twice won the prestigious Grand Prize of Boating Writers International -- the 2004 and the 2008 West Marine Writers Award.

His first novel, Dead on the Wind, came out in April, 2015 and tells the story of a boating journalist who sets out to investigate a string of missing boats and uncovers an international conspiracy.

His nonfiction book, Wake of the Green Storm: A survivor's tale, tells of the author's survival experiences in his 20-foot homemade sailboat during a 130-mph. killer windstorm. The book became a best-seller on and was the internet bookseller's regional best-selling books for more than a year. When it debuted in 2010 as an e-book on the Kindle, it shot to #7 best-sellerdom in Canada.

Broken Seas: True Tales of Extraordinary Seafaring Adventures, has the author's boating tales from the South Pacific, the North Atlantic, and Lake Superior. Two of the stirring tales have been the basis of magazine articles that went on to win the Boating Writers International's Grand Prize Award.

Bree's previous boating books on sailing Lake Superior include: In the Teeth of the Northeaster and Call of the North Wind.

Bree is the professional writer behind the national best-seller, Alone Against the Atlantic, which he wrote with sailor Gerry Spiess after the sailer in 1979 crossed the North Atlantic Ocean in a 10-foot sailboat -- a world record. Alone Against the Atlantic was a selection of the Book of the Month Club and Reader's Digest Condensed Books. The hard cover book also was published in a mass market edition and translated into several languages around the world.

Bree was the Information Officer for the Pacific Voyage of Yankee Girl, which resulted in a world record for the crossing of the Pacific Ocean in the smallest boat.

Bree's Boat Log & Record (revised 4th edition 2013) began in 1989 after the author realized the need for a comprehensive log book and record-keeping book for an average boater to keep track of a small boat and its voyages -- instead of a navigator's ocean-crossing log for large vessel. It's been on the natical best-seller lists for years and in its latest edition has been revised and enlarged.

Bree edited and published the book, The Stormy Voyage of Father's Day, the nonfiction account of Hugo Vihlen's record breaking crossing of the North Atlantic in a 5 foot, 4-inch sailboat. Vihlen's record broke that set by Yankee Girl as the smallest boat to cross the North Atlantic.

He has his own Marlin Bree imprint at Marlor Press. This imprint includes, Heavy Weather Boating Emergencies, by Chuck Luttrell with Jean Luttrell. The book is subtitled, "The survival guide for freshwater powerboat operators."

As a sailing journalist, Bree has written articles for Cruising World, Ensign, Sailing, Small Craft Advisor, Wooden Boat, Lakeland Boating and Northern Breezes sailing magazines.

Bree is a former newsman, serving in a variety of journalistic posts from the editor's reporter for the Stars and Stripes newspaper (European edition) to that of the magazine editor of the Star-Tribune, Minneapolis.

He is a past president of the Minnesota Press Club and he served as the first president of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. He was the chair of the 1992 Minnesota Book Awards.

He is the recipient of more than 50 writing and editing awards. In 2004, at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, he received the top award Boating Writers International gives to a boating writer -- The West Marine Writer's Award. He is the first Great Lakes author to receive the highest honor that BWI can bestow upon a writer. In an unprecedented move, in 2008, at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, he again won the West Marine Writer's Award. This was for his Ensign magazine article, The Old Man and the Inland Sea. Bree is the only BWI writer to twice win the hotly contested grand prize award to honor the best in nautical journalism.

He is profiled in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the Midwest and The International Authors and Writer's Who's Who.

He has been interviewed widely by the media throughout the Midwest. As a platform speaker, he is a member of the Boat U.S. Speaker's Bureau as well as the Boating Writers International Speaker's Bureau. He has appeared as a speaker at Strictly Sail, Chicago, and many times at the Minneapolis Boat Show. Bree also has spoken at various sailing groups, including the Southwestern Yacht Club, San Diego, and the Saint Paul Sail and Yacht Club, as well as the Duluth Power Squadron.

He built his own high-tech wooden sailboat, Persistence, beside his home. Construction time took seven years, and, Bree says, "it's not finished yet." An inveterate boat tinkerer and innovator, Bree says, "Old boats are like spouses and good friends. They don't get older -- only better."

Bree is a member of the Author's Guild and Boating Writers International. For many years, he served as a judge for the annual writing contest of BWI in areas in which he did not compete as a writer and as a boat design judge for the 2005 contest of Small Craft Advisor.

He lives in Shoreview, Minnesota.

Additional Biographical Information:

Marlin Bree was born in 1933 in Norfolk, Nebraska, and was largely reared there. During WWII, he moved with his family to Bremerton, Washington, and lived on a nearby island close to where his father worked at the Bremerton Shipyards, home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. As a schoolboy, Bree fell in love with Puget Sound and its islands. Often in the bay, he saw the warships of the U.S. Navy -- an impressive sight. He also was able to visit the Bremerton Shipyards during Family Days with his father and view the various repairs of the nation's fighting ships. His father sometimes would smuggle unusable balsa wood -- a rare commodity during the war years -- from the shipyard to the boy, who spent many happy hours carving model ships and aircraft.

He graduated from Norfolk Senior High School in 1951 and was accepted at the University of Nebraska's School of Journalism. During his college years, he worked at the college newspaper, the Daily Nebraskan, holding down reporting jobs as well as doing a humor column. He graduated from the University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Certificate in Journalism.

The summer of 1955 after graduation, he spent as a truck driver in Western Nebraska for a gypsy grain harvesting crew. In the fall, he received his anticipated draft notice and was inducted into the United States Army in Omaha, Nebraska. He was shipped to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he was assigned to the Third Armored ("Spearhead") Division's 29th Armored Infantry battalion. He trained for a year in the army training grounds at Ft. Knox, moving to the heavily wooded fields in an armored personnel carrier with the tanks and living in a pup tent for months in both summer and winter's snow. (Historic note: the Third Armored is the famed Spearhead division which gained fame during World II because it "spearheaded" so many aggressive tank attacks in Europe against Nazi Germany.)

Sent to Europe in the U.S. Army troopship, U.S.S. Bremer, Bree underwent a memorable several days of North Atlantic storm. He spent a year in Europe, first in the Armored Infantry Battalion, and then, called back to newspaper work, he joined the Military News Desk of the Stars and Stripes Newspaper (European Edition). Competing his TDY, he then was assigned to Seventh U.S. Army Headquarters' Public Informaton Office, where he worked as a photo-journalist specializing in writing and photographing U.S. troop movements and simulated combat engagements. When he was in Europe during the "Cold War," Bree twice was on Full Alert, and in the field, during two crises in which the U.S. armed forces awaited the go-ahead for full battle: the Russian Invasion of Poland, and, the British Bombing of Egypt. Both Alerts were called off when the crises was averted. He returned to the U.S. again by troopship, the U.S.S. Buckner to New York and was discharged in Chicago, Ill.
Bree reached the rank of Specialist Third Class when he was transfered in 1957 out of Active Duty Status to the Active Reserves. Here he trained as an Intelligence Specialist in the Duluth Active Reserves, with additional training at Ft. Riley, Kansas. (Historic note: Ft. Riley was once under the command of General George Armstrong Custer.) Bree moved to Minneapolis to become a staff executive with the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Editor of Greater Minneapolis magazine, missing the final months of service as an Active Reservist. However, a short time later during the Cuban Missle Crises, Bree's fomer unit was placed on full alert and the unit was recalled for active duty and stationed for nearly a year at Ft. Hood, Washington. In 1959, Bree was transferred into the Inactive Reserves for an additional two years, and, in 1961 he received his Honorable Discharge.

Marlin Bree Profiles in
Who's Who in America

Marlin Bree is currently profiled in Who's Who in America. Some historic profiles are as follows:

Who's Who in America - 2008, 62nd Edition (pub. 2007)
Who's Who in America - 2007, 61st Edition (pub. 2006)
Who's Who in America - 2006, 60th Edition (pub. 2005)
Who's Who in America - 2005, 59th Edition (pub. 2004)
Who's Who in America - 2004, 58th Edition (pub. 2003)
Who's Who in America - 2003, 57th Edition (pub. 2002)
Who's Who in America - 2002, 56th Edition (pub. 2001)
Who's Who in America - 2001, 55th Edition (pub. 2000)
Who's Who in America - 2000, 54th Edition (pub. 1999)
Who's Who in America - 1999, 53rd Edition (pub. 1998)
Who's Who in Entertainment

Who's Who in Entertainment - 1998-1999, 3rd Edition (pub. 1997)

Who's Who in the Midwest

Who's Who in the Midwest - 2014, 40th Edition (pub. 2013)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2013, 39th Edition (pub. 2012)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2012, 38th Edition (pub. 2011)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2011, 37th Edition (pub. 2010)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2010, 36th Edition (pub. 2009)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2009, 35th Edition (pub. 2008)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2008, 34th Edition (pub. 2007)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2007, 33rd Edition (pub. 2006)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2006, 32nd Edition (pub. 2005)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2004, 30th Edition (pub. 2003)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2003, 29th Edition (pub. 2002)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 2002, 28th Edition (pub. 2001)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 1999-2000, 26th Edition (pub. 1998)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 1996-1997, 25th Edition (pub. 1996)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 1994-1995, 24th Edition (pub. 1994)
Who's Who in the Midwest - 1994-1995, 24th Edition (pub. 1994)

To reach Author Marlin Bree
or to get his sailing books

To contact the author:

Author Marlin Bree can be reached via email at:


He is happy to hear from readers and fellow sailors. In particular, he welcomes comments on boating, sailing, personal observations on Superior, or thoughts on the author's books, particularly if you are a fellow boater who has sailed the same watery trail that he has.

To get the author's books

Marlin Bree's book are widely available in trade bookstores in the U.S. and Canada, nautical book stores, and on the Internet. Sample chapters from some books are displayed in these web pages as well as onIinternet booksellers pages. Some of his books are also published as e-books and also as audiobooks.