Daily Cruises Begin Saturday June 7th
Last spring I was fortunate enough to be invited on the Tall Ship Manitou not once, but twice. And I can say with all honesty that one trip can be very different than the next…so you’ll need to go more than once!
My first trip was a publicity tour for local media and members of the tourism industry. I knew only a handful of the passengers, and the boat was close to capacity. We sailed on a clear but cool evening in June. Once aboard the ship you quickly become part of the crew. In fact, this new crew has one major responsibility: raising the sails. It took two teams on either side of the ship, some to Heave, and some to Ho. The large ropes quickly pile up on deck as you watch the sails slowly work their way up the giant wooden mast. The seasoned deck hands take care of the hard work, and it’s really a lot of fun to participate.
We sailed slowly around West Grand Traverse Bay on the calm waters that evening. It was perfect for an event like this. While I only knew a handful of the 60+ passengers, by the end of the sail I had met dozens more. This calm evening cruise was perfect for enjoying a glass of Leelanau Tall Ship Chardonnay, which happened to be on board along with a member of the winery staff! When it was time to head back to the dock we let the crew handle the sails. Captain Dave however, was happy to share the wheel with those interested in a photo op, or indulging their thirst for power on the not-so-high seas.
The second trip, not even a week later as it happened, was altogether different. A friend chose to spend her birthday aboard the Tall Ship, and invited several families to join her. Since this was an afternoon sail I took my oldest son with me, while my husband slaved away at work. There were twelve of us in the group, more than half were children under 6 years old, along with many other passengers on a hot and sticky afternoon. The breeze had started to pick up so we were counting on putting the sails to good use. We had no idea.
Raising the sails with so many kids on board was much harder than the last time, but even more entertaining. The captain explained we would have a box lunch and beverages were available, so just ask the crew. We were free to wander about the boat, which included below decks where the bed & breakfast guests are rocked to sleep at night. It wasn’t long however before the winds really picked up. One of the crew explained that a cold front was moving in and that meant big wind. And boy was it ever.
The rest of the trip was one fast ride. Luckily the captain allowed our group to venture into the galley to enjoy the homemade chocolate cake we brought on board for the occasion. On deck the wind whipped, the sails cracked as the boom swung across the deck with each tack, and we all held on for a true sailing experience on Grand Traverse Bay.
So whether your winds are fair or fierce, your company few or many, a trip aboard the Tall Ship Manitou is one you’ll remember and enjoy.
Tall Ship Special Cruises include Moomers Mondays (3pm sail), and Wine Tasting Cruise Tuesdays (6:30pm sail)