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Sail Training Trip: Cruise the North Shore, Grand Marais to Knife River

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Course Overview

Minnesota’s north shore is a 100-mile stretch of open water renowned for its scenic cliffs, water depth and clarity, and exposure. Excellent protection for mariners exists, but only sporadically along the shore, rending access difficult for daysailors or beginners. However, with a seaworthy sailboat and a seasoned captain, the north shore becomes a spectacular destination and an opportunity for extended open water sailing. Join us for an adventurous sail training expedition from Grand Marais to Knife River, a 90-mile stretch along Minnesota’s north shore, with a probable stop along the south shore of Wisconsin near the end.

As a participant you will have the total sailing experience, as much or as little as you choose: sail handling, coastal and celestial navigation, anchoring, steering, liveaboard skills, and engine maintenance. Rigorous sailing on open water, interspersed with light-air sailing or calms, is to be expected. Weather will almost certainly play a role in the schedule, as thunderstorms and strong adverse winds are common. Nights are spent at all-weather anchorages and marinas which dot the shoreline. Other activities include hiking, kayaking, rowing, and swimming. We will arrange transportation for those who leave their cars at one end or the other, though you are welcome to make independent plans for pick-up.  Youth ages 13-17 are welcome with an accompanying adult.  Due to the nature of this course, the intergenerational discount does not apply.

Required Tools

  • Your instructor will contact you with a complete packing list.

Optional Tools

  • Feel free to bring your favorite tools and whatever materials you might feel appropriate for this course.

Session Information

Lead instructor for this course is Mark Gordon, Captain. Mark with his wife Katya are co-owners of Amicus Adventure Sailing, a family-owned charter sailing business that operates out of Knife River, Minnesota. Mark has more than 30 years’ experience leading wilderness trips for people of all ages and over 25 years as a licensed Captain and EMT. He has sailed thousands of miles on Lake Superior and beyond. Learn Mark and Katya’s story, credentials, and details about their sailboat at their website

While no sailing experience is required for this course, participants should understand the rustic nature of the accommodations aboard Amicus II and the potential for challenging weather conditions. There is no shower onboard. While Amicus II is a spacious 40 footer, participants will have limited “personal space.” Berths are enclosed by privacy curtains and double as living space during the day. Temperatures can range from the 70s right down to the 30s out on the Lake this early in the season. Proper clothing is a must. There will be 5-7 people aboard altogether. Tuition and materials fees include all food, lodging, and marina fees throughout the trip. 

A small discount is available to couples, or friends willing to share a double berth ($50 per person, available by phone only). Due to the length of this sailing trip and the difficulty in finding replacement passengers on short notice, participants cancelling more than four months in advance of the trip will receive a 50% refund. Participants cancelling fewer than four months in advance will not receive a refund.


Sat, Jun 25th, 2022  –  Tue, Jun 28th, 2022

Course Details

Hours: Day 1: 1pm start; Day 4: ends at 3pm
Tuition: $850.00

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon
Two Harbors, MN

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Sail Training Trip: Cruise the North Shore, Grand Marais to Knife River