Owner Peder Nelson explained the background of his new ship while on a recent afternoon cruise, along with the typical staff of a captain and two crew members.
The 62 foot traditionally gaff-rigged schooner has wooden deck and rigging, cedar planks and thick pine masts. With a capacity of twenty-two passengers, the boat offers large groups a way to get out and enjoy the summer sun. Her draft (or underwater depth) is seven feet including her keel, which has been a potential problem with the ever-fluctuating water level. Nelson remarked that when leaving and returning to the marina, the passageway has only several inches of extra room between the Edith M Becker and the sand.
The light breeze and intense yellow sunshine made for the perfect conditions for a shoreline tour of Door County. Once we casted off of the dock, we safely motored out of the marina until well out into the deeper waters of the harbor, where the large canvas sails were hoisted. Unlike modernized ships with winches or self-furling sails, these sails were raised by good old-fashioned elbow grease. The two young crew members pulled the sail manually to the top of the mast, carefully easing and raising under the direction of their captain.
Although it has the traditional lines of a ship built centuries ago, the Edith M. Becker was built by professionals Herb and Doris Smith in 1984. It is a registered tall ship, meaning it follows the traditional style of ship dating back many generations. Named the Appledore 3 (a small island near Doris’ hometown), it was personally sailed by the Smith family in their adventures circumnavigating the globe. Sailing Three Oceans, Doris and Herb’s novel, chronicles the ship’s trek.
“They had a great sense of adventure,” Nelson smiled. The ship was beloved so much that when the family sold it, they created a sister ship The East Wind, which they still own.
Purchased by Sail Door County after several owners, the boat was brought back from Gloucester, Massachusetts after weeks of restoration and repair.
After settling in the fresh waters of Lake Michigan, Peder decided to rename the boat after his great grandmother, who came to America from Germany when she was young and put down roots in Sister Bay.
This is Nelson and the company’s thirteenth year in business, but only their seventh in Sister Bay. Before the waterfront expansion in the town, they were located further south in Egg Harbor.
The charter appointments are available throughout the day and during sunset, but the later time slots are quite popular, so it is suggested to book in advance. Simply call 920-495-SAIL or visit their kiosk at the Sister Bay Marina for an unforgettable sailing experience!
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