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Sail Training Trip: Isle Royale Circumnavigation

Course Overview

In the northwestern portion of Lake Superior is a unique and remote island archipelago. Isle Royale National Park preserves 132,018 acres of federally designated wilderness. The Park consists of one large island surrounded by over 450 smaller islands, located in the largest freshwater lake in the world. Set sail for an adventure that only miles of wilderness, a seaworthy sailboat, and a seasoned captain can provide. North House partners with Amicus Adventure Sailing to provide a 10-day circumnavigation of Isle Royale. 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. As well, you are provided daily opportunities for education via visits to scientists and historians on Isle Royale (including the indefatigable Rolf Peterson, chief scientist for the famous wolf-moose studies) and our own observations of Lake Superior’s unique ecosystem in a rapidly changing climate.

This sailing trip involves approximately 200-250 miles of daytime sailing, including two full-day passages to and from Grand Marais. Once we are there, hundreds of secluded bays and inlets are ideal for coastal sailing. With two kayaks and a dinghy lashed to our cabintop, exploring close to the water is a daily event. Hiking inland to lighthouses, museums, overlooks, and former mines are offered when possible as well. Bring your sense of adventure and get ready to discover one of Lake Superior’s most precious gems. At this trip’s end, you will have developed a new appreciation for Isle Royale, formed a unique bond with your shipmates, and put hundreds of sailing miles under your belt. Instructors for this course are Captain Mark Gordon and First Mate Katya Gordon. Mark and Katya are co-owners of Amicus Adventure Sailing, a small, family-owned charter sailing business that operates out of Knife River, Minnesota. Mark has more than 40 years’ experience leading wilderness trips for people of all ages and over 25 years as a licensed Captain and EMT. Katya is also a lifetime outdoors leader and sailor. Together they have sailed thousands of miles on Lake Superior and beyond. Learn their 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. Proper clothing is a must.

There will be 5-7 people aboard altogether. Tuition and materials fees include all food, lodging, and fees throughout the trip. A small discount is available to couples, or friends willing to share a double bunk ($100 per person; available by phone only: 218-387-9762). Cancellation Policy 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. Youth ages 13-17 are welcome with an accompanying adult.  Due to the nature of this course, the intergenerational discount does not apply.

Currently Scheduled Sessions

No sessions currently scheduled for this course.