First Prize Winner: The cover story The Last Battle of the Grampa Woo won a First Place Award in the 2009 Writing Contest of Boating Writer's International. You can see it in the downloadable PDF at left.
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.
Congratulations! Capt. Gerry Dawson, of the heroic tugboat Glendada out of Thunder Bay, who with his crew rescued the stricken vessel Grampa Woo one dark, icy and especially stormy night on Lake Superior, writes to the author: "The article (see The Last Battle of the Grampa Woo was an excellent read and I'm very proud to have been a part of the story. It could have turned out a lot worse for everyone involved. It's great to see Lake Superior adventures and rescues chronicaled in a national and international magazine. ..Your article and true-to-life writing captured one of my most harrowing days and NIGHTS on Lake Superior. Thank you for writing it as only a true SAILOR of the Big Lake Could. All Best."
First Place Award: The survival tale of sailors onboard a stricken vessel, the Grampa Woo, in an icy Lake Superior storm has won a first-place award for Marlin Bree in the 2009 Writing Contest of Boating Writers International. The announcement was made at BWI's meeting at the Miami Boat Show.
Bree's article, The Last Battle of the Grampa Woo, appeared in the May-June issue of The Ensign, the magazine of the United States Power Squadron.
In presenting the award, Judge Jennifer Chesak said the article "was written with true zeal and captured the intense passion a man has for his ship as well as the incredible bravery and heroism abundant on this rescue mission at sea."
Cover girl To its many honors, the author's noble boat Persistence became a cover girl when the Ensign published its cover story in the March/April 2008 issue. Readers can read the Ensign article by going to www.theensign.org. There, type in Stern makeover. You should be rewarded by article with additional pix. The magazine article tells how the author turned to the latest gels and penetrating epoxies for a fix on Persistence's 25-year-old transom. Enjoy
Let the light shine in! A feature article on Persistence's deck prism was published in the April issue of Lakeland Boating. You'll see why a little deck prism can make a big difference in light quality belowdecks.
Motor Mount Makeover Here the author takes a gander at outboard motor mounts, like he has on his 20-foot sloop, and figures out a way to fix up the delaminated ply ones, streamline them and make them better. Obviously, this is a piece for dedicated boaters who have outboards. December - January issue of Good Old Boat magazine.
Magazine articles 2009
Old Man & The Inland Sea Take a gander at the revised, streamlined "old man" magazine piece in the October /November Lake Superior magazine. There's a terrific piece of art presenting the story of Helmer Aakvik, the Superior north shore fisherman who went out into the big lake as an ice storm descended to try to rescue a fellow boater. This is the author's first Lake Superior magazine article.
Legacy of the old Fishing Guide The September / October issue of the Ensign, the magazine of the United States Power Squadrons, features a five-page full color article on the author's meeting in Rossport, Ontario, with Capt. Ray Kenney, a grand old man of the lake. Capt. Kenney was a Canadian school teacher who became a professional fishing guide out of Rossport and who aided in the passage of Canada's Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, the first of its kind.
Hard Times on Bree's Reef This is a four-page feature on the author's sailing adventures printed in the Small Craft Advisor magazine for July/August 2009. Yes, I really did get into trouble running aground on a remote island and as the headline points out, "When you're sailing solo on Superior, discovering a new reef isn't all it's cracked up to be." Ho. Ho. I can laugh now. The SCA feature is complete with chart, color photo and a Self Analysis of What I did wrong (too much reliance upon the GPS, among other faults) and What I did right (I kept trying different options until something finally worked).
Across the top of the world. Take a gander at the humongous Bering Sea waves in Marlin Bree's story in Cruising World about how a Minnesota sailor pushed his boat and crew across the top of the world -- to become the first American sailboat to cross the infamous Northwest Passage. Yes, that Passage, whose fame has spread over the centuries for its storms, shipwrecks, high seas, fog -- and an ever-present danger of ice packs. Read Marlin's article about Cloud Nine and its magnificent crew in the March 2008 Cruising World's upfront Shoreline section. Don't miss the waves.
Classic Craft gets a face-lift: Marlin's article with color photography about building and fitting his own Persistence's new stern is in the March/April 2008 issue of The Ensign magazine. (Go to magazines above to get a link to the article). Gorgeous photography!
Cockpit comfort ahead! In the March/April 2008 issue of DIY Boat Owners Magazine, there's a Marlin Bree article with illustration on Armchair Comfort for your Cockpit. The do-it-yourself article came about as a result of the author's own heart-felt search for a better way to spend long hours sitting in the cockpit, soloing in Persistence. Now his tail is told!
Small Craft Advisor features The Way of the Tiller in February 2008. In the article, the author argues the best sailing is done with tiller, not wheel steering -- and why. Featured are the author's innovations in fitting out a tiller on Persistence.
Look for more Marlin Bree articles in DIY throughout 2008. For other Marlin Bree magazine articles, check out Marlin's Magazines (top shelf, above) such as the PDF downloadable on The Old Man & the Inland Sea that won the 2007 First Place writing award; Keeping Outboards Running, Maybe Forever, with weblink,Northern Breezes magazine) and, Small Craft: Big Challenges: Lessons and Statistic Crunches from Successful Minicruisers at Small Craft Advisor. You'll find some downloadable PDF's and other good reading matter.All free.
Author scores another Grand Prize in writing awards
Marlin Bree won Boating Writers International's 2008 West Marine Writers Award -- the highest honor the professional writing association can bestow upon a writer -- for his magazine article on The Old Man and the Inland Sea. He was honored in special ceremonies during the BWI's meeting at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show and presented with a crystal trophy as well as a $5,000 check. Bree is the only writer to ever have won the Grand Prize twice.
He previously had won two awards in the 15th annual BWI Annual Writing Contest to recognize excelence in boating journalism. Awards were announced at the 2008 Miami Boat show. For his story, The Old Man & The Inland Sea (Ensign magazine), the author won a First Place award. Judging chair Jim Rhodes wrote: "The visual image of the old man frozen to his seat in the skiff, his head bowed, covered with frost, will stick with me a long time. After reading this storyk, I had to sit in front of a roaring fire at least an hour to get the chill out of my bones." The author's Second Place award came in the Boat/Engine Care and Maintenance category for his The Artful Dodger, which ran in Small Craft Advisor magazine.
Look for these outstanding Marlin Bree magazine articles:
The Ensign: For a rollicking armchair sailing adventure, try the author's Escape from the Island of Doom. Sailing alone on Lake Superior's wild Canadian north shore, the author encounters fog, a spooky island and things that go bump on the lake. The 5-page story includes Captain's Hindsight, in which the author tells about What I did right and fesses up on What I did wrong. The latter includes the observation, "Maybe I should have paid more attention to the legend of the Island of Doom." Boo!
Good Old Boat: Hey, if you're the owner of an older saiboat and you've wondered how to update your wooden ouboard bracket, take a look at the December issue of GOB. The article and pix by Marlin show how the author rebuilt and redesigned his outboard bracket aboard Persistence.
New 'Old Man': A new 4-color version of the author's Old Man and the Inland Sea is in the October - November 2009 issue of Lake Superior Magazine. Great artwork.
The Legacy of the Old Fishing Guide: Ensign magazine does itself proud with a five-page feature with color photographs on the story of a former schoolteacher who liked northern Lake Superior so much that he retired there to become a fishing guide. Also told is story of his noble old boat, the Yennek, out of Rossport, Ontario. That's in the September/October issue.
Marlin Bree on the Rocks: That's the cover title of my article on how I went aground on Lake Superior looking for CPR harbor. It's in the July / August Small Craft Advisor.
The Last Battle of the Grampa Woo is a stirring tale of how a passenger boat was swept out of Grand Portage, MN, harbor and out into the open waters of Lake Superior during a late-season ice storm. Rescuers from Thunder Bay, Ontario, braved high winds and icy seas to finally rescue the captain and crew of the Grampa Woo.
The Mack Is Back a 5,000 word, five page, full color article on the author's test sail in an 1800's replica Mackinac Boat. Did the old timers know something about boats? "A little Ferrari," says one enthusiast of this 18-footer that was the Lake Superior boat that replaced the birch-bark canoes. See this Marlin Bree feature in the July/August 2008 issue of Small Craft Advisor.
Way of the Tiller a four page, full color extravaganza with color photos of the author in action and two artful drawings in the splendid February 2008 issue of Small Craft Advisor Marlin argues that the best sailing is done with a tiller, not wheel steering. Featured are the author's innovations in fitting out the proper tiller on Persistence.
Sailboat across the top of the world You shouldn't miss the humongous golden Bering Sea waves in Marlin Bree's story in Cruising World (March 2008)as Minnesota sailor Roger Swanson and his intrepid crew push their 57-foot Bowman ketch through ice-filled waters of the Northwest Passage. Cloud Nine's Passage was the first American sailboat to cross the infamous Northwest Passage, despite icebergs, storms, fog and "bergy bits" that could sink the fiberglass boat but never showed up on radar.
Classic Craft gets a face lift Here are gorgeous color photographs and a detailed article of the author's rebuild of Persistence's 25-year-old transom, using the latest in epoxies and gels and such. That's in the March/ April 2008 issue of The Ensign magazine.
Cockpit Comfort This year, the author begins a four-part schedule with DIY Boat Owners Magazine on some (what else?) do-it-yourself projects. First one up was the author's Armchair Comfort for your cockpit, which came about as a result of the author's heart-felt search for more comfort while sitting long hours sailing solo in Persistence. Next up was Marlin's tale of hatch ventilation, which showed how the author built a see-through portlight which combined light and ventilation into Persistence.
Plus several others, as soon as schedules and contracts are finalized for Cruising World, Small Craft Advisor, Ensign, and DIY Boat Owners magazine.
Published Magazine Articles & Other Stuff
Midnight Crossing A fine personal adventure of the author and a crew in a 35-foot catamaran crossing Superior heading for the Shipwreck Coast in the September/ October 2007 issue of The Ensign.
Author Appearance: Marlin Bree took part in the 11th Annual Wooden Boat Festival and Summer Solstice celebration in June 2008 at the Northhouse in Grand Marais, MN, situated along Superior's westernmost shores. Bree analyzed his tale of The Old Man and the Inland Sea that won a First Place award in the 2008 Boating Writers Inernational Writers Competition.
Warriors of the Storm: The May-June 2007 issue of Ensign, magazine of the U.S. Power Squadron, published Marlin Bree's story the remarkable turn-of-the-century life saving teams on Lake Superior along the Shipwreck Coast.The author had sailed the Shipwreck Coast in a 35-foot catamaran and was struck by the history of the stormy, ship-breaking area. This article was excerpted from Marlin's nonfiction book, "Call of the North Wind."
Lake Superior Titanic The St.Paul Pioneer Press's Don Boxmeyer took on a favorite Marlin Bree theme in his Nov. 10 column, "Tracing A Superior mystery: The final hours of the 'Fitz.' The newspaper columnist told of the author's work to reconstruct the final hours of the doomed 729-foot ship, the Edmund Fitzgerald. He quotes the author's work over the years and cites specific references to Broken Seas and the chapter, "The Edmund Fitzgerald's Last Race." The columnist writes: "He just has to know -- and now, 31 years after it happened, he still thinks he's come the closest of anyone in discerning the last moments of the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald as the ship plunged to the bottom of Lake Superior with her entire company of 29 sailors." He writes: "For Marlin Bree, it's 'that thing that goes bump in the night.'" For a look at Don's column, click on the PDF link at the left.
Small Craft Advisor In the September/ October 2006 issue Marlin Bree analyses the classic problems of record-setting ultra-small boats. See "Small Craft, Big Challenges: Lessons and Statistic Crunches from Successful Minicruisers" on page 17 - 21. Here the author writes about the North Atlantic records of the current and former record setters he knows about, including Gerry Spiess and Hugo Vihlen, and their monumental design problems in getting everything they need in their 5 foot - 4 inch to 10 - foot LOA's from North America to England's often stormy shores. This should be must reading for anyone interested in mini cruisers. NOTE! This article won third place in the 2006 annual Writing Contest, Technical Writing Category, of Boating Writers International. The award brought with it a plaque (see front page) and $200 in cash to the author.
The Old Man and the Inland Sea: A tale of extraordinary courage and resourcefulness on Lake Superior: The Ensign devoted seven glorious pages of its newly redesigned magazine to Marlin Bree's tale of heroism and hope on the world's biggest freshwater lake. The January/February 2007 magazine article was developed from the author's book, Broken Seas. To read this Ensign feature, click on the PDF link at the left,Old Man and the Inland Sea. (This is the artricle that won a First Place BWI Award.
Northern Breezes In the October/November 2006 issue, the author takes a look at the myth and reality of the much maligned two-cycle outboard engine and its performance from Lake Superior to the North Atlantic and the South Pacific. The article on pages 12 -16 is entitled "Keeping Outboards Running, Maybe Forever." If you have an old two cycle outboard -- this will be must reading for you. The author has, by the way, only run two cycles in all his adventures. Quoth one repairman: "If you'd had a four-cycle, you probably wouldn't have made it back." Food for thought. Go to the article (with photos)at www.sailingbreezes.com.
Duckworks Surprise! The author really liked a new book called Cheap Outboards: The Beginner's Guide to Making an Old Motor Run Forever. In this online magazine, he did a complimentary book review in the August online magazine, no doubt because the author is keenly aware that his two-cycle outboards are getting a little gray under the hood, but he plans to keep them running for a while. Cheap Outboards has inspired him.)
Soundings: Derecho storms: the newest weather threat appeared in Sounding's issue of July 2006. Containing color photographs of derecho storms and damage, Marlin Bree's magazine article explains the dangers of the derecho storm and tells how it can affect boaters. "Derechos can surprise. Sneak storms, they arise quickly and typically can't be forecast until they've formed. By that time it's often too late for boaters to seek shelter in the minutes before they hit," the author's Soundings article warns.
Top Writing Award! The West Marine Writers Award was presented to the author at the Fort Lauderdale, FL, International Boat Show. The top award is the first given to a Lake Superior writer and boater.
Top Award for Best Boating Article
From: Boating Writers International
Contact: Greg Proteau, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL: -- Marlin Bree, a freelance writer, lecturer and author of several boating books, has won the top award Boating Writer's International gives to a boating writer -- The West Marine Writer's Award.
Bree, of St. Paul, MN., received the award, consisting of a $5,000 check and a lucite tower trophy, from West Marine's Director of Marketing, Randy Bsarberis and BWI President Michael Sciulla, during the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Bree's article, "A Solo Sailor Meets His Storm of the Century," published in June 2003 by The Ensign, tells the story of his encounter with a storm on Lake Superior during the summer of 1999. Weather conditions were benign when Bree set off for a solo holiday cruise aboard his 20-foot home-built sloop. Though he expected an easy run, he prepared the boat for the open waters of the big lake, closing hatches, tying lines and tightening rigging, setting marine radios, and buckling into a safety harness.
His parecautions proved lifesafers as a powerful "green storm" raced from shore with reported 110-mph. winds resulting in one of the biggest blow downs ever recorded. Bree's lucid and stunning report of the battle to save his craft and himself provides a "pot-boiler" story and an account of survival when best-laid plans aren't enough.
Judges for the West Marine Writers Award are associated with Northwestern Unviersity's Medill School of Journalism and have had careers in newspapers, magazines and broadcasting. They include Richard J. Roth, associate dean and associate professor; Greg Stephan, adjunct lecturer at Medill; and Trish Richardson, a former reporter and editor and current senior director of development at the DePaul University College of Law.
The judges decribed the article as "A real page turner. Compelling, engaging writing that is as fast moving as the storm that engulfed this sailor on what started off as a clear, calm day on Lake Superior. The writing is vivid in detail about what the sailor was seeing, feeling and thinking -- all of that providing insights snd lessons for others who could as easily find themselves in the eye of the storm.
Bree's article was in the Seamanship, Rescue & Safety category earlier this year, one of 38 award winners in the 2003 Boating Writers International annual Writing Contest. The top three awards in each of 13 writing categories were automatically entered for this grand prize.
West Marine, Inc., is the nation's largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and apparel, with 365 stores in 38 states. In addition to its retail stores and Port Supply wholesale divisions, the company serves boaters in more than 150 countries worldwide through its mail order and Internet divisions. It maintains a number of resources for boating writers on its Web site, www.westmarine.com.
BWI (www.bwi.org) is a non-profit professional organization consisting of writers, broadcasters, editors, photographers, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry. Members include active marine journalist across the U.S., in Canada and around the world, supporting marine manufacturers and service enti5teies, and assocites in commuinication roles.
Items of Note
Persistence Pays -- the magazine article --In the September - October 2005 issue, Small Craft Advisor presented a seven-page feature on the author's Persistence, with the subhead "This hand-built 20-footer proves a little extra effort can carry you a long way." The article tells of some of the author's adventures in his boat on Lake Superior and how he built his small craft and designed some of its special features. Included is a test drive, "Come aboard for a sail on Persistence," which takes a reader on a hands-on voyage of the boat and how the ultra-lightweight sloop handles during a blustery day. Much fun, highly recommed reading -- check out this fine SCA issue now available in Barnes & Noble.
Marlin Bree's adventures in his home-built boat during Superior's "Perfect Storm" are featured in a nonfiction book from International Marine publishing called, Treacherous Waters: Stories of Sailors in the Clutch of the Sea. The anthology features stories of survival from the oceans of the world and the excerpts were garnered from "the best writing about sailing and the sea from the past 40 years." Bree's adventure is the only one selected from the Great Lakes. Editor Tom Lochaas introduces Bree's account of his ordeal as "pure action and struggle, a fight to surive against the elements, which have suddenly become overwhelming." Bree's adventure was excerpted from his book, Wake of the Green Storm, (Marlor Press, 2001
Stands right up there with the best, writes library book review KLIATT: "This assembly of true seafaring adventures stands right up there with the best. For one thing, author Marlin Bree does not simply tell a good tale: he recapitulates it. In each of the six cases, he begins by setting up the situation with a prologue, then presents a narrative of the vessel's final voyage, and finishes with a section with his own conjectures in which he describes his visits with the survivors. When there are none, and the boat did not survive, he speculates intelligently about what really must have happened 'out there.'" (for more on this fine review, check out this web site's Broken Seas section)
Summer Reading Pick Lake Superior magazine (July 2005)selected Broken Seas as one of three "Books for the Beach" and recommended it as one of "three things worth bringing to a Lake Superior beach this summer." Editor Konnie LeMay describes the book as a "collection of gripping tales about the perils on the inland sea." She concludes: "As a sailor and journalist, Marlin Bree writes with authority and detail."
Down to the sea in a good book. That's the headline for the Kim Ode column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in which the columnist reviews Marlin Bree's new book, Broken Seas. Kim liked the sailing stories about Gerry Spiess and his voyage across the Pacific in his 10-foot sloop, Yankee Girl, and said the chapter of Mike Plant was "heart rending." Mike disappeared on the North Atlantic in his 60-foot sloop, Coyote. But the most "compelling story" to the columnist was about Helmer Aakvik's attempt to rescue a fellow fisherman off Superior's North Shore in the face of a November storm. Kim wrote: "It's a story about ice. Ice from the breaking waves encased his engine, and, ultimately encased Aakvik."
Wild on Superior The April 2005 issue of Cruising World contained seven color pages on the author's lone voyage aboard Persistence into the Northern Arc of Lake Superior. Included was a cruising guide to the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior plus some of the author's curmudgeonly do's and don't's. "Mesmerizing account," said one CW reader.
For business leaders: The Forbes Book Club has made Broken Seas a selection for its book club for business leaders.
*Marlin Bree is in the latest edition of Who's Who in America. He is also profiled in Who's Who in the Midwest. His profile is also in the International Who's Who of Authors and Writers, 2004. He is also included in the 2005 Who's Who in the World. For more info, click on the author's BIO.
Two chapters from Wake of the Green Storm, Chapter 1: Dream of the Islands, and Chapter 2: Getting Ready, are posted free to viewers on Amazon.com. and also on Amazon.ca (Canada's Amazon). Go to Books. Type in Wake of the Green Storm. Click on the posted chapters to open them. A segment of the prologue to the book also is posted on Amazon.uk. Wake of the Green Storm was on Amazon.com's regional best-seller list for more than a year.
*Several selections from Broken Seas as well as Wake of the Green Storm are shown in these web pages. Just click on the book title above.
Who would have thought? The author's boat, Persistence (see Das Boot section), was selected to be a Great Boat in Cruising World's December issue (2003). With the headline "Persuaded by a Little Persistence," the magazine published four color photographs of the little boat and an article by the author on how he built his boat, its sailing characteristics, and, some of its adventures in storms on Superior. The boat was selected by CW's editor, Herb McCormick (who is also boating editor for the New York Times). Persistence, incidentally is the first Lake Superior boat selected as a Cuising World Great Boat. It is also one of the few trailerables and one of the smallest in the interesting CW feature.