On the northern track, the Big Fitz fights her way up the north shore and past Isle Royale.

The Fitzgerald hurries to her doom as she finds an unchartered reef.


At anchor, Persistence rocks gently as author Marlin Bree emerges from a boat cover he built himself. The opening is velcroed shut when needed but opens up for fresh air below.


At the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Marlin Bree takes a rest beside some of the big boats featured at the world's biggest boat show. He was at this international boating event to pick up a Boating Writer's International Grand Prize -- for writing about small boat adventures.

Persistence is towed behind the 1992 Suzuki Sidekick. Here Loris and I are on are way to Grand Portage, MN, along Superior's north shore.I'll be sailing Superior's northernmost arc, where I encountered the near fatal "storm of the century." This adventure became Wake of the Green Storm.

Boating, survival on water, 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, 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!
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.
A new and updated version of the Boat Log & Record is now available for amateur boaters to keep track of voyages and to maintain a permanent record of their vessel. It's the largest and most complete boat log and record for amateur boaters ever published. Includes special Emergency section dealing with transmittng a Mayday Message and how to deal with Man overboard.
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.
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
Nonfiction
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.
adventure
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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BREE'S BLOG: In The Wake of the Fitzgerald


The old steam-powered tugboat

September 21, 2017

Tags: Edna G., last of the steam powered tugboats on Lake Superior, steam powered tug stats, historic tugboats, Lake Superior, ore boats, boats on national registry of historic places, storms, rescue on Lake Superior, Capt. Adolph Ojard the last captain of the Edna G.

I started to introduce myself to Capt. Adolph Ojard, the retired captain of the steam-powered tugboat built in 1896, but he said, "I saw you coming in. Nice looking boat." That was enough for introductions. He saw my boat, he knew me. We settled down to talk in the Edna G.'s wheelhouse and he told me some of the stories of the big lake. "And can she burn coal," the old silver haired captain told me, "We had to go out after the Joe Thompson, a freighter that had lost power about 18 miles from here.. We towed her back with her rudder cocked. By the time we got back to Two Harbors, my fireman had lost 19 pounds."Fired by hand? "Sure," he said. "She's the only hand-fired coal burner around. We always kept a hundred ton in her with her bunkers full." I looked out the wheelhouse window, trying to imagine how a sturdy, but small tugboat could handle storms and huge waves and still tow huge Superior ore boats. I wondered what speed she operated at. "She's a 110 feet long with a beam of 23 feet and a draft of 15 feet 6 inches and her propeller is 9 feet in diameter with a 12-foot pitch. That works out to 1 revolution every 12 feet. At a full 125 r.p.m., which is not too slow for steam, she'll cruise at 12 1/2 knots. " He paused for a moment: "Trouble is, at full speed (at 14 knots), the fireman can't keep up." The tug burned roughly a ton of coal an hour. "One time in the winter, we had to take her out." he said, "A big ore boat, the James Farrell, had caught a northeaster and tried to get in but couldn't and was was being carried to the rocks. Despite the storm, Capt. Ojard had maneuvered his tug alongside the ore boat and tossed up a line. "But by the time we got her stopped, her stern was so near rocks the propeller was kicking up sticks." That had been another close one. He glanced out over the water. It was growing dark."We didn't begrudge her anything. She got us there and back again." It was growing dark. I asked, "Do you still sail the lake these days, for yourself?" "I don't own a boat. I spent all the time on one that I want to. Now if I want to do some rocking, I'll get me a rocking chair."