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.


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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BREE'S BLOG: In The Wake of the Fitzgerald

"We sure as hell have got no business out here"

February 25, 2018

Tags: Lake Superior, Swedish Saltie Avafors, Capt. Cedric Woodward, pilot, Avafors enters Lake Superior, is warned by Duluth pilot.

The pilot Ced Woodward had warned the Avafors' captain not to leave the shelter of the Soo and enter the big lake, but now it was too late. The big steel ship began (more…)

An ocean going boat decides to brave Superior

November 9, 2017

Tags: Lake Superior, the Avafors, Capt. Cedric Woodward, salties, ocean going boats on Lake Superior, the sinking of the Fitzgerald, ten november 1975 sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Capt. Cedric Woodward, the pilot for the oceangoing Swedish saltie, Avafors, was growing concerned. The Avafors was just entering Superior from the locks at the "Soo" at the easternmost part of the big lake. Capt. Woodward advised the Swedish captain beside him on the bridge: "We sure as hell have got no business out here." But a veteran skipper who had braved (more…)

Ever northward the Big Fitz --- and the storm grows worse

November 2, 2017

Tags: Edmund Fitzgerald, Arthur M. Anderson, Fitzgerald shipwreck, Lake Superior, November 10, 1975, the Northern Trek on Lake Superior. Gales on Superior. Capt. Jessie B. Cooper

In the wheelhouse, sitting 40-some feet above the water, Capt. McSorley felt secure as he headed his 729-foot oreboat northward. It was warm here, with only occasional bits of Superior spray on the forward windows, and the boat -- despite its "wiggling thing" that they had been living with for years -- was humming (more…)

Storm over Superior

October 29, 2017

Tags: Edmund Fitzgerald, Lake Superior, storms, freshwater boating, northeaster, Persistence

I felt a cold breeze on my right cheek. As I turned my face to determine its direction, the wind seemed to grow into intensity. "Damn," I swore. Out of the mist a howling gale sprang up and aboard Persistence, I was caught again, this time close to a lee shore. The savage winds (more…)

Superior's chill waters

October 24, 2017

Tags: Lake Superior, shipwrecks on Superior, Edmund Fitzgerald, Persistence, sailing Lake Superior, the Ely, three masted schooner sthat went down on Superior in 1896

The harbor fog misted about as I entered Persistence's cockpit. It was cold and dark where I lay berthed in Two Harbors, but I still remember one story of the diver Bill Burke. I had asked, "Isn't there a ship lying out near where I'm berthed?" Bill nodded and said told me it was (more…)

There are bodies down there

October 12, 2017

Tags: shipwrecks, Lake Superior, the Emperor, Edmund Fitzgerald, track of the Fitzgerald, Two Harbors, Minn., waterfront, Scuba diving on Superior.

Night came. Down on the waterfront, where I was tied up with my boat Persistence, lights on the ore docks blurred in fog. It was chill and eerie as I made my way up the hill away from the misty dock. "Glad to see you tonight," the security guard Bill Burke said. "I heard (more…)

In an ice storm, a tugboat to the rescue!

October 5, 2017

Tags: Edna G., steam powered tugboat, Lake Superior, Storms and Ice, rescues in northeaster, Two Harbors, Minnesota, Persistence the sloop

The high winds and waves continued outside the harbor. As I hunkered down in my own 20-foot sloop, Persistence, waiting out the storm. I was haunted by memories of the steam-powered Edna G. out there. A fisherman had gone out one January morning and had not returned by evening. Darkness had fallen. His family (more…)

The Fitz went this way as storm grew

October 2, 2017

Tags: Edmund Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald shipwreck, Lake Superior, the "Wriggling Thing, " structural problems in Fitzgerald, Two Harbors, cause of sinking in lake Superior

It was foggy and stormy out on the Big Lake as I sat in the tiny cockpit of Persistence. We were securely tied up to a barge in Two Harbors, Minnesota, near the old steam tugboat, the Edna G. Out there, just past the breakwaters not far away, Superior was kicking up big waves (more…)

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 (more…)

Safe at last -- or not?

September 19, 2017

Tags: Lake Superior, Edmund Fitzgerald, Track of the Big Fitz, Two Harbors, Lake Superior storms, Edna G steam tugboat

Now under power of my 5 horsepower outboard engine, I circled the pier which was festooned with colored flags. Banners proclaimed that the small Minnesota town was celebrating its hundredth anniversary. I was now in Two Harbors and tall ore loading docks loomed dark and rusty red. At least I was off the storm-tossed lake. (more…)

Dancing with Waves

September 17, 2017

Tags: Small craft storm handling, scalloping the waves, storms, Lake Superior, Edmund Fitzgerald, Track of the Big Fitz, Two Harbors, Storms, Northern Trek

The waves were growing ominously. I was following the track of the Edmund Fitzgerald, but in reverse. The big ore carrier had headed on the Northern Trek past Two Harbors, MN., (see locator map below) and shoving 10-foot waves away with aplomb. I was taking a walloping heading south. I could not steer a (more…)

Trouble at Two Harbors: The Storm Begins

September 15, 2017

Tags: Edmund Fitzgerald, Arthur M. Anderson, Fitzgerald shipwreck, Lake Superior, November 10, 1975, the Northern Trek on Lake Superior. Gales on Superior. Capt. Jessie B. Cooper

When the Fitzgerald was well out to sea, about an hour and a half after leaving the Superior entryway of the Duluth - Superior Harbor, the Weather Service broadcast gale warnings. The weather was worsening, with winds gusting from 34 to 38 knots. Capt. McSorley heard the crackle of a radio message. It was the 767-foot (more…)

Danger in fogs and storms

September 6, 2017

Tags: Lake Superior, Edmund Fitzgerald, Wreck of Fitzgerald, heavy weather boating, maneuvering in fog.

The weather kept changing. I hoped to sail to Canada in a few days, but I quickly learned that I had to be patient because that the lake was in charge of my schedule -- not me. I had sailed up the shore to past (more…)

On my way up Superior

September 1, 2017

Tags: Lake Superior, Edmund Fitzgerald, Track of the Big Fitz, Madeline Island, Barker's Island, Red Sky at Morning saying.

In the misty, gray pre-dawn hours, I readied my boat for a long voyage across the tip of Lake Superior and began my trek to follow the Fitzgerald. Red sky at morning, sailor take warning, I remembered my sailors mantra and looked to the north. Yup. Peering down from beneath the cloud cover (more…)

The Edmund Fitzgerald: A blog on the final voyage

August 29, 2017

Tags: Edmund Fitzgerald, Capt. McSorley, November 10, 1975, shipwrecks, Lake Superior, storms, high waves, loss of life, Six Fathom Shoals

Up north, the big lake is freshening with a sense of urgency that fall is approaching. Go out beyond the breakwaters and you know you have a force of nature beneath you. Careful, mariner! The countdown is beginning now for the annual observance of the last voyage of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I know something (more…)