The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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June 1, 2014

'Landlubbers' no more

Creating a life-long sailing tradition one vacation at a time

My wife Lisa and I hardly consider ourselves “old salt” sailors. Neither of us grew up around sailboats: Lisa on the plains of southwestern Minnesota and I in the rolling hills of southern Wisconsin. It took a chance encounter for us to shake our landlubber status.

A good friend asked us to help chaperone a church youth retreat on a sailboat in the Apostle Islands near Bayfield, Wisconsin. We jumped at the opportunity as longtime lovers of all things Lake Superior, and after five minutes standing on the boat we had chartered, the “Jolly Swagman,” we were hooked and a tradition was born.

Each summer since then we would travel to the Apostle Islands for a three-day cruise aboard a chartered sailboat, dreaming of one day having our own. Each summer we wished we could bottle up one of our star-filled nights in a peaceful anchorage and take it home with us. When we can we share the joy of sailing with our friends, adding them to our sailing tradition

Fifteen years after that first foray aboard a sailboat, we can hardly think of a summer without hearing the wind whip the sails and water slide past the hull. Lisa and I even sailed to Stockton Island in the Apostles in 2013 to renew our wedding vows.

The day came this summer during another chance encounter, this time with a used sailboat classified ad website, to broaden our sailing tradition. Lisa saw “Dream Catcher,” a 30-foot Catalina sailboat, for sale by an older couple in Iowa. They couldn’t make it to Lake City, Minn., very often anymore and wanted to get out of sailing and the work involved in maintaining a boat from nearly four hours away.

When Lisa said, “I even like the name,” I knew we would figure out a way to make “Dream Catcher” ours.

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