Marge and David Back, of Brule, Wisconsin, live what many boaters would consider the ideal lifestyle. They moved to northern Wisconsin to be minutes from the shores of the world’s largest freshwater lake (largest in terms of surface area); they sail regularly and for extended periods in their 28-foot sailboat; and they have a Sea Eagle 330 Sport Kayak to explore nearby sea caves…and to use as a yacht tender, too.
What’s a yacht tender? It’s the small boat the owners of a large boat use to go from shore to their larger craft and back again. Or as Marge puts it, “We sail on Lake Superior for weeks at a time in our 28-foot sailboat. Our Sea Eagle 330 is our main transportation when we’re at anchor.”
Many yacht and sailboat owners choose a larger, wider yacht tender specifically designed for hauling tons of gear, groceries, and guests between ship an shore – like the Sea Eagle Yacht Tender. But Marge and David, like their 330 just fine. “We love our Sea Eagle kayak,” says Marge. “It tracks well, it is light enough for me to handle, and is easy for us to carry. We can tie it on board inside the bow rail. When we’re at anchor, just put it over the side and go.”
Marge explained further. “A bigger yacht tender can require ‘dinghy davits,’ she said. Dinghy davits are a hoist system that lift your dinghy out of the water and secure it while you’re underway. Marge and David don’t need that hardware: they simply lift their 26-lb. 330 on board and lash it down.
Sea cave exploring
There’s another plus, says Marge. “We explore the shoreline of Lake Superior and the sea caves on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in our kayak.”
There are 22 islands in Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands group — the “Jewels of Lake Superior.” All but one are part of the National Park Service. The islands, particularly Sand and Devil’s Islands, are famed for their outstanding sea caves.
Sailboating friends got Sport Kayaks, too
Picking up on the Back’s yacht tender-and-sport kayak idea, their friends John and Melanie went the Sea Eagle route, too. “We encouraged them to come up to Northern Wisconsin to sail with us in their 35-foot sailboat,” Marge told us. “They thought our Sea Eagle solution worked so well that they bought two of them – a 330 and a 370 Sport Kayak.”
More sailboating friends – Dave and Leslie – joined the crowd with a 330 of their own to go to-and-from their 30-foot sailboat….and to go exploring, too.
The Back’s Sea Eagle is 10 years old and “looks pretty much like new,” she says. Marge knows boats. She’s sailed for over 30 years and runs a boating-related home business in Brule, Wisconsin. “Brule Acres Sewing Loft” manufactures sail covers, docking covers, and boat upholstery.
David and Marge frequently sail on Lake Superior from Duluth, Minnesota to Knife River, Minnesota; and from Cornucopia, Wisconsin to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. “Weather permitting,” says Marge.
Only five months ‘til boating season!
You’ll find the Backs farther afield in boating seasons to come. “Next year, we want to explore more of Lake Superior,” says Marge. “We may go to Canada and around Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”
At this writing, winter’s closing in. But Marge, like all avid boaters, looks at the bright side. “Boating season’s only five months away!”
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