2006 Minnesota Messabout
at Lake Pepin
| By Bill Paxton - Apple Valley,
Minnesota - USA
Sometimes everything just goes right. Such was the
case last June 2-4 at Lake Pepin when area boat builders
The days were sunny and warm with a good sailing
breeze, while the nights cooled off to what we call
“good sleepin’ weather.” The large,
shady campsites overlooked the lake, and were surprisingly
Skat, Arcebus, IMB and Doevkie
images to enlarge)
Messabouts are magnets for never-before-seen activities.
For example, when Craig Bursell went to launch his
nifty Skipjack Black Bark it gradually dawned
on him that he had left the boat’s gaff at home.
Normally this would be a disaster since you can’t
sail a gaff-rigged boat without a gaff. (The sail
gets all floppy and doesn’t perform well. Trust
me on this.) A lesser mortal would have been stumped,
but Craig is a boat builder. He hunted along the shoreline
until he found just the right piece of driftwood,
and fashioned a new gaff right before our eyes. His
boat performed beautifully as he sailed all over Lake
Pepin with his driftwood spar, even when the lake
was covered with white caps.
can’t be stopped.
Another odd event happened at the traditional Saturday
night potluck. About halfway through the meal a gentleman
strolled up to our picnic table, said Hello, and as
he stood gazing down at our boats on the beach, began
to disparage our crafts. He had never seen the likes
of Arcebus or an IMB. He was a traditionalist, and
very few of our boats looked “normal”
to his eye. However that didn’t stop him from
accepting our hospitality and enjoying our chow. After
he left, a messer who shall remain anonymous, referred
to the stranger as “old, rude, and he eats our
But maybe the most unique happening was when the
smallest boat rescued the largest boat.
It was just after the potluck when Kirk and Lynn
Erickson decided to beach their 31’ Norwalk
Island Sharpie and join us for a while. As the boat
neared the shore, Kirk put out his stern anchor, and
somehow the anchor line jumped out of his hands and
fell into the lake. As you can imagine, this is a
good-sized anchor, and Kirk wanted it back. Somebody
appeared with a divers mask and snorkel and began
diving for the anchor. By this time John Goeser had
launched his 8’ Mouse and paddled out to the
scene of the treasure hunt. Suddenly the diver broke
the surface, shouted “I found it!” and
went down to bring it up.
Have you ever had to bring up a large anchor from
the bottom of a lake? Me neither, but apparently it’s
quite a job, as the diver was sputtering and working
hard to get the wayward anchor to the surface. Somehow
John was able to get the anchor, chain and line between
his feet on his Mouse, which seriously changed the
craft’s center of gravity. But John was a man
on a mission, and saved the day by reuniting the anchor
with its owner.
Fist, the Norwalk Island Sharpie,
and Goldfish, the Mouse.
The rest of the weekend was filled with the stuff
that makes messabouts just plain fun: riding in each
other’s boats, asking and answering lots of
questions, chatting with strangers who just had to
see what this was all about, glowing campfires at
night, a breathtakingly beautiful lake, and friendly
camaraderie. But don’t take my word for it.
Check out the pictures.
Read about last year's Lake Pepin