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Permalink 02:56:58 pm, Categories: Book Review, 39 words   English (US)

SS Meteor

There's an article in today's Star Tribune about the work to clean up the SS Meteor for the spring commissioning. Here is a link for you:

The museum opens for the season today.


Permalink 11:18:25 pm, Categories: Book Review, 497 words   English (US)

Apostle Island Fleet Action '08

I thought I would put some postings regarding this event here so that there's a central place for the information should an e-mail address get dropped or something gets missed. This will probably be more of a recap of e-mail messages sent but there may be a couple of things not critical that may be in here.

Greetings and salutations,

Over the last few years discussions have been held about doing a group sail over to the islands. This year we have a date range for doing so and figure we might as well put it out there for anyone that would want to participate. The dates are Saturday, August 23rd through Tuesday, the 26th. The plan is to leave about 8:00 on the 23rd and sail out for Sand Island (anchorage/rendezvous point to be determined), spend a couple of days in the islands, to either spend with the group or explore on your own or in smaller groups. We’ll Rendezvous Monday night for an early Tuesday morning departure (probably 8:00 again).

Let me know if you will be interested and able to go and I will keep your address in the mailing list. I will only be sending e-mail messages to those folks interested in receiving them. This isn’t an official yacht club event (hence the message from my account), everyone is encouraged to participate.

I will be posting information in the blog site ( as well so there will be a repository of the information sent out though I may put some check lists and stuff that may be beneficial (let me know if you think something should be included that I missed).

I’m excited about sailing out with a bunch of folks, power boats included (though power boats may wanna just go dead slow to keep with the fleet). Whimsea will not be dropping the hook until the last boat is cruising into the anchorage. I love it at the marina but it is nice to stretch the legs once in a while. Since we have a longer weekend we have some leeway with the weather window. If the weather proves a bust we may be able to do something in September though August would be nice.

So, just to recap;

- let me know if you’re interested and I’ll keep you on the list, if I don’t hear from you by 9th, I’ll exclude you from the mailing list (though you’re still welcome and can read the updates on the blog)

- if you know of anyone that would like to do it and I missed in this message, let me know and I will include them (though include their e-mail address please) or have them e-mail me

- the dates are 8/23-8/26

I think this will be a lot of fun and a great adventure!! I hope y’all can make it!!

Fair winds,

Troy & Karen

Permalink 10:47:06 pm, Categories: Events, 234 words   English (US)

Maritime Festival Tall Ships Event

Here's the message I sent out;


It’s looking like the ships are expected in the Duluth Piers sometime around 4:00 (1600) Thursday, July 31st. Figuring a speed of 6 knots will put them off Knife River about 1:00 (1300). So, we’re figurin’ on sailing to the NE about 10:00 to see if we can intercept. I’m thinking they should be between Sand and Eagle Islands about 10:00. We should be able to catch up with them when Bark Point is abaft their beam.

Today, the weather service is predicting NE winds 5 to 15 knots becoming E 10 to 20 on Thursday. If this holds true it’ll be the best point of sail for all three of the tall ships and the Niagara will probably be flying at least top gallants (though possibly the royals as well if closer to 15 knots than 20).

I’m attaching as PDF’s the information I have. Let’s meet at the boat about 9:30. Whimsea is well found even having a life raft but if you have a favorite life jacket, you’re more than welcome to bring it. If we sail all the way down to Duluth with those tall ships we may not be back to the marina before 8:00 (2000). We’ll have coffee, tea and lemonade and muffins in the morning and some snacks. Otherwise, bring some refreshments. Let me know if you have any questions or anything.

Fair winds,

Troy & Karen


Permalink 01:47:01 pm, Categories: Book Review, Events, 174 words   English (US)

McDougall's Dream

Posted by Troy A. Brown

Superior Public Museums is holding the second annual fund raising event to preserve the SS Meteor Whaleback on Saturday, September 16th.

Being familiar with the Lake Superior Marine Museum's work ( it makes sense to also familiarize ourselves with similar happenings on the other side of the St. Louis bay.

"The dinner and silent auction is on-board the SS Meteor and includes; Optional 5 pm tour, entertainment, silent auction, cash bar, gourmet buffet featuring a variety of savory canapes and fresh summer salads, along with pan seared bistro steak, grilled pork tenderloin, pan fried whitefish and assorted deserts prepared by Kirk Batrud of the Boathouse Restaurant."

Karen and I have invited my mom along to sail with us from Knife River to Barker's Island Marina to spend the night and attend the event. We've toured the SS Meteor a few times and thought this would be a lot of fun to have dinner aboard and help preserve this interesting ship development sidebar.



Permalink 11:04:46 pm, Categories: Movie Review, 809 words   English (US)

Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World

Posted by Karen A. Brown

When we heard there would be a movie released that was based, however loosely, on the Patrick O'Brien series that stars Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin we were overjoyed. We are, after all, snowbound sailors and are suffering through this winter away from the water. We usually spend our winters reading sea faring stories, researching areas we want to visit in the upcoming season and generally pining away while we wait for spring. The idea of seeing a movie that contained sights and sounds of sea battles and warfare was exciting. If we can't be on the water, we'd like to see others on the water.

The theater we chose to view the movie at is pretty new. It's located in Coon Rapids not far from our home. It was snowing that night and the stores were filled with people still trying to find the "perfect gift" for a special someone. With all of those reasons, we shouldn't have been surprised to see the theater lobby as empty as it was, but I have to admit I was surprised to see the theater we were in was completely empty. We were the only two people in the theater throughout the entire movie. It was a somewhat disconcerting experience and it didn't bode well for the future of O'Brien movies.

We've long been fans of all stories of a seafaring nature including the Patrick O'Brien Aubrey/Maturin series, Alexander Kent's Bolitho series, C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower (including the A&E renditions on DVD), Julian Stockwin's Kydd series and even Raphael Sabatini's various piratical stories like Captain Blood. Every time we stumble across a new book, new author, or new series that has even the remotest connection to sea stories we gobble them up. We buy the books to keep the market open, keep it flourishing, keep people writing in the genre. Keep authors getting paid to write these stories. When Peter Weir and Russell Crowe decided to bring the genre to the silver screen, if done right, it could guarantee its continuation.

So, with some trepidation, an empty theater and the weight of the future of the sea writing industry resting on it's shoulders, Master and Commander started off. As a film introducing someone to Patrick O'Brien the film does an admirable job. There are chases, drunken singing, adventures upon the Galapagos islands, death, dismemberment and beauty. There are, most importantly, the sights and sounds of the sea. The feeling that the water is rushing past the walls, the wind is filling the sails, and the smell of the sea is in the air. It is addicting.

Unfortunately, if you are a true believer in the authenticity of the series, you may find yourself disappointed by Weir and Crowe's rendition. The depiction of Captain Aubrey as a sentimental drunk is somewhat insulting to Aubrey (yes, I know he's a fictional character, but after reading the series he becomes quite real). There is a closeness between Aubrey and the crew that is implied in the movie that is not felt from the books. There are scenes where Aubrey is moved by the loss of a hand that naval officers would not and could not indulge in.

The title of the movie, Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World is also somewhat misleading. O'Brien has given us books with each title, Master and Commander is the kick off to the series and first introduces the reader to its characters as well as initially introduces the characters Maturin and Aubrey to each other. This is not true in the movie as Aubrey and Maturin show a closeness of relationship that speaks of years together both under sail and in playing music together.

The subtitle, The Far Side of the World, is far more apt. This is the book where the duo visits the Galapagos Islands. They have been together some time at that point, they have a familiarity that shows through in the movie as well as the book. They make the trek around the horn and are chasing the enemy. These scenes have merit, at least from the book series.

Overall, I think the movie was a good one. It had, perhaps, to much sentimentality for me, but as an introduction to O'Brien for the rest of the world, it made a good impression. It was worth the money to see the sailing scenes on the big screen. It is a movie that will be added to our DVD library to help fill those wintery days and nights where we sit and pine for our inland sea (Lake Superior). Though I would always recommend that people read the books because they provide so much more then a movie ever could if you're looking for an introduction, this is one you shouldn't pass up.

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