8 things you learn sailing on General Patton’s yacht

This past Sunday, I was delighted to make my debut in my other hometown newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, writing about my journey from Marquette to Duluth aboard the When and If, the yacht belonging to General George S. Patton. Click here to see the PDF and get all the history on this amazing boat, the oldest and most authentic to visit Tall Ships Duluth.

1. Making friends is easier when your boat is famous. Everywhere we went, from, people wanted to ask about the boat, talk about old Blood ‘n’ Guts, find out where we’d been, and learn our stories.

2. It helps to have a professional photographer on board. I wish I could have Emma Louise Wyn-Jones with me all the time! Check out more of her amazing photos on her Facebook page.

3. Even in August, swimming in the middle of Lake Superior is colder than you could possibly imagine, even when you’re diving headfirst from the legendary Black Rocks in the Upper Peninsula capital of Marquette.

4. A boat is the only way to get around the wild, unspoiled, and gorgeous Apostle Islands (which, despite living mere hours away, I had never visited before this summer).

5. Being a crewmember (even a guest one) at a Tall Ships Festival is like being a gorilla in a zoo (and I mean that in the best possible way). Luckily, we had intern Ben Shaiman (Official Blogger of Tall Ships America) onboard to show us the way.

7. Lake Superior is not to be taken for granted. The Edmund Fitzgerald is just for starters of shipwrecks.

8. Pasties are delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What it takes to be a Daughter of Neptune

The bell onboard the SS Sorlandet. It’s part of the Class Afloat program, which I’m sadly too old for. Nuts!

Toronto Star staffer Andrew Livingstone gets a pirate’s eye view aboard the SS Sorlandet. Testimony from real-life pirate princess and Class Afloat alum Celina Diaz: “Before you cross you’re a pollywog and when you cross you become a shellback,” she said. “It’s like once you become a shellback you’re part of this society, you’re under King Neptune’s protection.”

If you, (unlike me, at least in the pirate ship world) are still a youngster, find out more about the Class Afloat program!

Under the Northern Cross on the Schooner Manitou




Four days on the Manitous, sipping wine or gazing at the stars, sounds like a dream.



Tall Ship Manitou offers multi-day sailing experiences. The Manitou, operated by the Traverse Tall Ship Company, is a traditional topsail schooner, just like the one I sailed on. The price is around $700 for a four day trip, but if you have the doubloons, I recommend going to gaze at the stars or sip wine. Few real ships have overnight voyages open to people of all ages, and until you’ve gazed at the stars from under the mainmast.