A newsman turned boating writer
About Marlin Bree:
Marlin Bree is an American 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 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 Amazon.com and was the internet bookseller's regional best-selling books for more than a year. When it debuted in 2010 as an Amazon.com 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. Both are nonfiction tales of thje author's adventures on Lake Superior.
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.
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.
His Marlin Bree imprint at Marlor Press 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 West Marine Writer's Award. He is the first Great Lakes author to receive this 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. In 2018 he was the keynote speaker for the United States 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. He also served 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 bring home scrap 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 took a job of driving a truck in Western Nebraska for a "gypsy" grain harvesting crew. In the fall, in Montana, he received his 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. As a riflema, 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 army 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 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. 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. Bree was transferred into the Inactive Reserves for an additional two years, and, in 1961 he received his Honorable Discharge.