Bound: A Father and Daughter Circumnavigate the
Greatest Lake in the World
By Carl Behrend
CHAPTER 6—SAILING ON LAKE
You don’t just put your 16-foot sailboat into Lake
Superior one day and say, “I think I’ll sail
around Lake Superior today.”
It wasn’t long after my divorce that I bought a
house near Munising-a small town on the shores of
Munising Bay-that I would launch my sailboat in
Lake Superior. At the time, I actually had two
catamaran sailboats. One was a 16-foot Hobie Cat.
The second boat was a 15-foot Sol Cat. I kept the
Hobie Cat down on Indian Lake where I still sailed
with Steve and the Indian Lake Yacht Club. I kept
the Sol Cat on Lake Superior.
Many days were spent sailing on Munising Bay. The
water of Lake Superior, although it’s cold, has an
almost irresistible attraction. The water is clear
and seemingly alive with an invigorating energy
all its own. It wasn’t long and I was spending
most of my time sailing on the lake. It just so
happened that my girlfriend’s brother Jimmers was
into racing Hobie Cats. That winter he invited me
to go with him to Mexico and work as a crew for
him in the Hobie Cat midwinter’s west races.
Actually, he had invited his sister Cindy. But she
declined. So as a noble gesture, I volunteered.
Off to Mexico we went. When we arrived, we set up
camp at a campground on the beach at San Felipe on
the Sea of Cortez. There were hundreds of boats.
Altogether, I think there were 215. Their brightly
colored sails were lined up along the beach. It
was quite a spectacle. We set up our boat and we
were ready to race.
The next morning, the races began. Jimmer was a
pretty good sailor and I learned a lot of new
tricks from him. We placed 8th, 4th and 1st. We
probably would have gotten a trophy, but the last
race was cancelled due to problems with the race
committee’s boat. Although I enjoyed the races, I
really rather would have spent more time exploring
the coastline of the Baja Peninsula. The serenity
was awesome. There were huge mountains and
beautiful desert meeting the shoreline. They
invited me to explore. But alas, we only sailed
circles in a bay congested with boats and people.
I was a country boy and it was in my heart to
explore. So I did rent a small 3-wheeled
all-terrain vehicle and did some exploring. But I
really thought it would be nicer to explore by
|My son Caleb on our first attempt around
the Lake at Vermillion life saving station.
The next summer, Jimmers was planning on coming up
to Munising with his boat. He said he found a good
deal on a Hobie 16 that was in good shape. So I
sold both my Hobie 16 and my Sol Cat 15-footer and
bought the newer Hobie. Jimmers made a set of
“wings” which were like two benches on each side
of the boat. They were made from aluminum tubing
with canvas stretched over the top for seats.
These wings greatly increased the usefulness and
comfort of the catamaran. That summer, we spent
about two weeks sailing together. But, the
highlight of the summer was a sailboat trip along
the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to Grand
It was a beautiful summer day. We sailed out of
Munising at about 9 a.m. We had two Hobie Cats.
Jimmers and my son Caleb were on one boat. My
second wife Cindy and I were on the other. We left
the shelter of the harbor. We ventured out into
the open waters of Lake Superior. This was a dream
come true to be traveling on Lake Superior’s
“Shipwreck Coast.” We were riding along some of
the most awesome scenery in the world. We were on
16-foot boats powered only by wind. All I can say
is the experience was indescribable. Our boats
seemed dwarfed by the giant rocky cliffs.
We passed Grand Island-that great island of beauty
and adventure. We moved along the massive rock
cliffs of Pictured Rocks. The winds were light as
we sailed past Miners Castle and Miners Beach. But
as we rounded Portal Rock, the breeze freshened.
We took off like a rocket. The only difficulty we
had was as we passed Au Sable Point Lighthouse.
Terrific offshore winds coming off the Grand Sable
Dunes rocked our boats. The winds almost caused us
to capsize. But we sailed on.
One thing I learned about sailing with Jimmers is
that you’re always in a race. So when Cindy and I
reached Grand Marais about 15 minutes ahead of
Jimmers and Caleb, I think he gained respect for
me as a sailor. We were having dinner at the
restaurant by 1 p.m. We covered the 40 or so miles
in only four hours. Not bad. Traveling at 10 mph
for a sailboat was quite impressive. We finished
lunch and headed out to our boats only to find a
thunderstorm moving in. Securing the sailboats, we
crawled under them for protection from the rain
and wind. Then we all took about an hour-long nap
while we waited out the storm.
The weather quickly improved and we were soon on
our way back to Munising. As we started out the
weather only gave us light winds. So travel was
slow at times. But, about the time we reached
Miners Castle, a sudden gale blew in from the
northwest. In an instant we were in huge waves.
Jimmers and Caleb were ahead of us this time. They
were also farther out at sea. Rather than getting
beat up in the huge waves, Cindy and I opted to
land the boat at Miners Beach.
One advantage of the catamaran is that with the
wind pushing on the sails we were shoved right
through the treacherous breakers onto the beach.
Landing in a conventional boat would have been
very dangerous. The Hobie Cat’s shallow draft made
the twin hulls seem like a pair of sled runners
that helped make landing possible in heavy seas.
We pulled the boat far up on land, grabbed the
sails and our life jackets and bummed a ride home
with some tourists. Our hair was wild and our
faces wind-whipped. But we were beaming with
smiles as we recounted the tale of our journey to
When we returned to Munising, we waited on the
dock at Cindy’s parents’ place. We had lost sight
of Jimmers and Caleb. We were concerned that they
may be in danger. It was getting dark and we could
see no sign of them. Finally, we heard them answer
our shouts. We were soon all reunited on the
shoreline, happy that all of us had survived the
It was the success of that day’s journey that was
the beginning of an idea. I began to think that if
a person were to pack right, why couldn’t they
make a journey around all of Lake Superior? What a
trip that would be! I would love to pilot a
16-foot sailboat around the lake that has claimed
hundreds of ships, including the mighty Edmund
Fitzgerald. To be able to pull the boat up out of
the water and camp on the most beautiful and
rugged shoreline in the world would be great.
Imagine. What a trip that would be!
This is the fourth of a series of excerpts from
Carl Behrend’s book Adventure Bound. For more
information on how to purchase books, CD’s or to
arrange bookings call
(906) 387-2331 or visit www.greatlakeslegends.com.