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Minnesotans’ Fabulous Boats

June 26, 2008

By Kristin Tillotson, Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Jun. 26–IT’S SUMMERTIME — finally — and for many Minnesotans, that means boat-as-second-home time. We asked readers to send in photos of their own beloved “boat with personality,” and some of you got really throttled up about it. From handmade sailboats to zippy little speedsters and even a canoe that played Cupid, we share some of our favorite responses here.

OF WAVES AND WORDS: Writer and sailor Marlin Bree named his 20-foot centerboard sloop, built over seven years at his home in Shoreview, Persistence. After a three-month maiden voyage on Lake Superior, the pretty-but-tough sailboat and Bree have had many adventures that produced four books, most recently “Broken Seas.”

ECO-TROLLING: Candy Lewis-McComb of Minneapolis (that’s her in the driver’s seat, on Lake Osakis near Alexandria, Minn.) named her portable party machine “Sparky” because it runs on batteries. Sparky gets eight hours per charge, goes 8 miles an hour, and uses 8 cents’ worth of electricity an hour.

PADDLIN’ PASSION: Oh, if this old canoe’s wooden ribs and caned seats could talk. In the early 1940s, Harry Mixer wooed his wife of 65 years, Delores, by hauling along a portable wind-up phonograph and playing Frank Sinatra’s “I Love the Kisses of Delores” on their paddles up the St. Croix River. Built in 1917, the Old Town canoe has been in the family for six generations. “The Courting Canoe” is now retired to the rafters of the couple’s Golden Valley garage.

RRROOOWWWR!: Kevin Schafer’s favorite toy in the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD is racy “Rojita” (you must roll the rrrrrr when you say it!). This made-in-Minnesota 1979 Hydrostream Viking is in “Dorothy’s red slipper condition,” said Schafer, of Minneapolis. “I kind of like stuff that is fast and loud; she’s both. Plus, she matches my favorite guitar.”

CRAFTED WITH CARE: Amateur boat builder Dennis Pease of Spring Lake Park launched his from-scratch “Water Music” on Lake Harriet in 2002. A Whitehall design, its plans were copied from a set in the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Conn. My wife says her personality is “Elegant Lady,” Pease said.

THE BASS BEATER: Bass fisherman Bill Resman isn’t saying his run-of-the-mill 16-foot Alumacraft Magnum is pretty. It’s all in the special rigging he’s added, including gas-lift pedestal seats, two fish finders, GPS system, front and rear mounted longnose pliers, even a stick-on 3-foot ruler on the gunwale for measuring catches. “After 67 years of fishing and four boats, I finally got it right!” he writes.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Star Tribune, Minneapolis

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