I arrived at the Duluth Tall Ships Festival just when it was closing. Workers were pounding and pulling stakes out of parking lot asphalt once covered by tents, and festival T-shirts were being offered for half-off by a desperately vocal vendor.
But the nine tall ships were still in port and that’s what I was after. I was looking forward to a close-up view of the tall ships via a short, regular sailboat berthed in the ship canal in downtown Duluth. However, the craft was neither short nor regular but a gorgeous 42-foot Beneteau with cabin floors varnished so thickly it was like walking on water, and a nimbleness of handling that belied its more than adequate size. Named the Makena, the craft was one of two in the Moon Shadow Sailing fleet, which offers tours of Lake Superior and the harbor.
Joining me were a couple from Rochester, Minn., and a couple from Duluth who were friends of the captain. The sun finally smiled upon the festival, a light breeze blew; it was a perfect night for sailing. With a warning ring, the Canal Park pedestrian bridge raised and we were off.
Pictures will probably do more justice to the experience than words. Let me just say that the company was outstanding and it was an experience I won’t soon forget. Happy Sailing!