Ride of a lifetime: Sailboat tours on SuperiorIf you chose to dream up a new life for yourself, doing it while on a yearlong sail from the North Shore to the Bahamas wouldn’t be a bad way to do it.
If you chose to dream up a new life for yourself, doing it while on a yearlong sail from the North Shore to the Bahamas wouldn’t be a bad way to do it.
For Katya and Mark Gordon, the decision to drop everything in 2007 and take on the 5,000 miles wasn’t easy, but it was definitely needed.
They knew it wouldn’t be all a vacation. They were taking their daughters, Cedar and Lamar, age 2 and 4 at the time, with them. And they wanted to return with a plan to incorporate their love of sailing on the water with their burgeoning life as parents.
“We thought there’s got to be a better way than being gone all the time,” Mark said this month.
The couple has been taking calls at their Two Harbors home all spring about what they finally came up with: Amicus Adventure Sailing.
They wanted to provide sailing adventures for groups and families between Duluth and Grand Marias.
It’s a business model not readily found on the North Shore and the couple hopes to have a regional appeal across the Great Lakes. Their trips can run from two-hour joy rides to much longer hands-on learning adventures.
That trip to the Bahamas proved to be enlightening. Katya says the kind of “sailing camps” they offer are common on the coasts but the family trips they want to offer are unique. “We talked with a lot of sailing families and no one had heard of family charters.”
Mark has 17 years behind him as a captain. Both have extensive experience with wilderness adventure camps, especially for teenagers.
They want to incorporate all of that know-how into infusive sailing trips. “With our background in social services, we felt we had something to offer in longer trips,” Mark said.
The family returned from the Bahamas, bought a home in Two Harbors, and started making plans. They would need a bigger boat. They would need to plow through all the paperwork to get set up as a business.
“We want to bring the Lake Superior cruising experience to families, youth groups, young adults,” Mark said. The couple wants people to take on the wind and water but also find “time to reflect” and learn something about the nature that is the lake and how to incorporate sustainability and other lessons into their lives.
They now have Amicus II docked in Knife River Marina and ready for this giant adventure. It’s a much larger boat than the original Amicus they used on the yearlong trip. “It’s built for expeditions,” Mark said. Amicus II sleeps eight and is novice friendly, he said. It’s also “eco-friendly,” with solar and wind power capabilities and a composting bathroom. It means trips won’t be limited by tank storage or power supply.
They already have a package set up with the North Shore Scenic Railroad excursion trains that run to Two Harbors on summer weekends. They are offering special event sails, such as a ride to see fireworks on the Fourth of July or accompany the tall ships that are coming to Duluth next month.
Anyone who can provide proof that they live in Lake County can get a two-hour sail for $10 on Tuesdays. The regular trip cost is $40. The couple said it’s important to offer an opportunity for those who live with the lake year-round to gain some on-water perspective and appreciation.
To book a trip, all you have to do is call ahead and then meet in Knife River.
For all of the sailing around the continent, the couple says the North Shore of Lake Superior more than holds up to any exotic locale out there. “Never in 5,000 miles did we see anything like the North Shore of Lake Superior,” Mark said.
“There is almost no coastline left like Lake Superior,” Katya said. “Pristine, wild, and clear.”
“We are offering an authentic experience,” Mark said.
Take in a sail
- There is no limit to what Mark and Katya Gordon say they are willing to offer on trips aboard Amicus II out of the Knife River Marina. They will customize longer trips to fit your needs.
- They specialize in youth and family trips but offer regular scenic sunset tours and the like. A typical two-hour trip is $40 per person but there are group rates and longer trip packages. l For people from Lake County, there are $10 per person sails on Tuesday evenings.
- Call about trip options at (218) 290-5975 or email email@example.com. To learn more, visit www.amicusadventuresailing.com