Boating in Minnesota

A few months ago we packed up and moved from southern CA to the greater Minneapolis area.   Took the opportunity for a road trip, 2K miles through some really cool desserts and mountainous scenery.


While a friend was towing my Garage Sail east through Nebraska, a cop pulled him over.  “Why you pull me over?” he asked.   It was because he had never seen a boat like it and he simply wanted to check it out.  One really annoyed friend, but seems a great story to me!  Despite the mileage, the boat survived just fine.  Amazingly clean actually, though a few flat surface had a nice layer of dead bugs that easily wiped off.

Lakes.  So many lakes here.  The first lake experience was a small lake around the corner with my older Mill Creek 15 – first time in years taking it out as MN certainly seems better suited for it than the Pacific Ocean.  Second time was on the St Croix River.   The concept of being able to kayak down 10+ miles of a calm (it keeps on going – that just where our car was), flat river while never having to even worry about dragging on the bottom just doesn’t seem possible coming from drought plagued California.

photo 1-4photo 2-3photo 3-4

Got the more spacious boat (all relative here) out a couple times to nearby Lake Independence.  The first time out I was worried, being Labor Day, that the lake would be chock full of motor boats going every which way.   Though there were plenty of boats, was not a problem at all.  Not to say that the boat doesn’t stand out here, with comments such as “so what do you do when you need to go back up wind?”, but still a great lake for an easy afternoon sail.    The next time out was with fellow pocketship builder Larry & his wife on another beautiful day with the start of some fall colors.



After the past few years of zoning out to the mention of boat “winterization”, I am finally taking notice.  Soon she’ll be all wrapped up for winter.




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Moving East


After almost 4 years back in California, we are now moving to the Minneapolis suburbs. With all the work of packing up and moving your household, sailing time had become a bit more scarce. Not to mention blog writing time. Garage sail all packed up with sails, cover, outboard etc all stored down below all ready for the long drive.

Looking forward to getting settled and exploring at least a few of the thousands of lakes out there before the cold sets in. No more winter sailing posts from me!

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First Overnighter


Heading out of Santa Barbara Harbor

In building your own cruising sailboat, it is easy to start dreaming of all the places you could go well before you even start building.  And not just go, but spend the night places so you can go further.  After a year’s experience with the boat I took my first over night trip.


Steering Lines

With the typical light winds in fall, the motor was used much of the time.  As I tired of sitting sideways manning the tiller, I rigged up some lines tied to the tiller to steer while sitting in the companion way door.  Will have to get a nice comfy chair set up next time.  Certainly not a steering wheel, but made the distance more comfortable.


Sunset at Anchor


Anchor Light

Though the Santa Barbara coastline is largely protected from much of the Pacific Ocean swells, there is also a notable lack of natural harbors or protected anchorages.   There are a few anchorages that work fine for your typical fair weather nights, including the one I used tucked in behind campus point.    Using a bow and stern anchor made for a comfortable night, though I did need to re-set one of the anchors during the night as the off shore swell direction changes making it bumpier than ideal.  Though not in the forecast, we also had some very thick fog roll in, instantly turning everything dripping wet.  The cabin worked really well keeping everything dry, with the vents keeping the air moving enough to keep the condensation from dripping (through all interior surfaces were wet to the touch).  Here I was very glad for the anchor lights, especially when I heard a lobster boat cruising around me early in the morning.  The dense fog made for a lazy morning, and once the sun had a chance to dry things out a bit, made my way a bit farther for up the coast to try a bit of fishing around the kelp beds.


Morning fog

My initial thoughts on boat camping in a small boat is like backpacking in term of comfort, but where you can bring much more stuff.  An ipad to watch a movie at night, no problem.  At least for short trips, there is plenty of room to carry as much water and food as you want.

On the return trip home, a pod of dolphins swam alongside for a good 5-10 minutes giving a great show.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera, my phone died (taking to many pictures), and ended up taking videos of them with the ipad, which took surprisingly good video.

dolphin 1

Dolphin 2

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