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Day Sail on Lake Erie

Crew members about the Lettie G Howard securing the rigging.Ever since I moved here over 17 years ago, I have wanted to go out and do something on the lake.  When the Brig Niagara is in port, I knew there were day sails available, but summertime is usually so busy for me, it is difficult to plan in advance.  Last year, the Niagara League entered into a two year agreement allowing the “Lettie G” to dock here in Erie during the summer months for two years.

So now I finally did it!  What fun!  There are a couple of options for sails, including 1 1/2 hour, 2 hour and 2 1/2 hour…with something available almost every day.  The longer sails go out of the bay and into Lake Erie itself.

The Lettie G Howard is one of the last surviving wooden fishing schooners; built in Essex Massachusetts in 1893.  She fished off the Northeast Atlantic and Gulf coasts.  She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989, and is on loan from the South Street Seaport Museum.

It was a gorgeous summer day, and after spending an hour Innkeeper Peggy at the wheel of the fishing schooner Lettie G re-visiting the Erie Maritime Museum  we lined up (there were 20 of us) to go onboard.  After a brief safety update, we motored out of the dock…and then we were all called upon to help unfurl the sales.  There are four sails on this beautiful boat, but it takes a lot of (woman)power to get them all the way up.

The time went by very quickly; we stayed in the bay, but could see Presque Isle State Park in the distance…the views of the city were grand.  It was fun to watch the crew handle ALL the many lines of rope required.   AND, I got a chance to actually steer the ship!  Don’t worry, we weren’t near anything, so we weren’t in danger of crashing…but it was amazing to see the boat respond to turns of the wheel.

This is a DEFINITE to do item!  If you are choosing the sunset or longer sails, the suggestion is to book early, as those sell out fast.   And invite me, I would love to go again!

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