Heritage 23 Recent News Postings
Promoting Community Boat Building,
Rowing &
Sailing on the Heritage
Coast of Michigan
Website Search

For Information Contact
David Wentworth or

Leo Chartier
989 460-2642

About Us
Contact Us
Press Releases
Tourist Info

Recent News Postings
Press Releases and Newsletters

2019 Mackinaw Boat Conference
September 28, 2019 (Saturday)
Contact Person Randy Stevenson rstevenson3252@gmail.com

Agenda for
The 2019 Mackinaw Boat Conference

(Sponsored by: Heritage Coast Sailing & Rowing)

Conference Proceedings for Saturday, September 28, 2019

Conference Charge: $20 – Includes lunch, as well as coffee, and light snacks through the day Fees will be collected at the door on the day of the conference

Speakers will not be charged for lunch

Dinner: The cost of dinner will be the responsibility of the attendee There should be at least two entrees from which to choose

East Tawas Community Center

760 Newman St, East Tawas, MI 48730

Morning Session

8:30 – 9:00

Viewing of Boats - Outside of Conference Facility

9:00 – 9:10

Welcoming Remarks

Randy Stevenson – Conference Chair

9:10 – 9:55

Mackinaw Boats & Fishing in Northern Michigan

Laura Quackenbush & Brendon Schroeder

Great Lakes fisheries – fish and people who fish – have significantly benefited coastal communities, the Great Lakes region and the nation throughout history and today. Explorers, travelers, coastal residents, and fishers across the region found Mackinaw boats a seaworthy and useful watercraft well-suited to the Great Lakes. Mackinaw Boats – as the ‘pick-up trucks’ of their day - played a pivotal role in the transition of historic Great Lakes fisheries. They reflect the cultural, economic, and technological evolution of the Great Lakes fishery in the 19th century as it moved from subsistence fishing to a commercial activity for the Anishinaabek and Euro- Americans. Learn how the new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website offers opportunity to share some of these stories about people, Great Lakes fishing, and the iconic Mackinaw Boat.

10:00 – 10:45

Seven Generations of Family Involvement in the Fur Trade & Commercial Fishing In Northern Lake Michigan

John Gierke

The author’s family had involvement in the Great Lakes fur trade starting in the 1820s. This transferred over to commercial fishing as the fur trade declined. The family resided in several locations spanning the area from Minnesota to the Straits of Mackinaw. The commercial fishing involvement culminated in a final location in Fairport on the Garden Peninsula lasting until the 1950s. The first boats owned were sailboats--including Mackinaw Boats--and the last an inboard powered gillnet tug.

10:50 – 11:35

The Mackinaw Boat’s Role in the Gill Net Fishery of Norther Lake Michigan

Joshua Grove

The presentation will cover the traditional fishing grounds of the area, as well as giving a brief description of when and how each area was fished. Data gathered in the 1880's shows rough estimates of how many Mackinaws were in operation at the time. The presentation will also touch on the various monopolies that controlled the local fishing industry, providing gear, lodging and distribution to smaller operators in their territory.

11:40 – 12:30

Lunch – Served to All at Conference &

Viewing of Boats

Afternoon Session

12:30 – 01:15

The Origin and Evolution of the Mackinaw Boat: 1812 to Present

Roger Swanson

The emphasis of the author’s research has been on the Mackinaw Boat as a vernacular craft: It is a boat designed and/or adapted to meet the economic and cultural needs of people living and making their livelihood in a particular area, built by local craftsmen using, primarily, locally sourced materials. An explanation of its identifying traits and the reasons for having been incorporated into the type. Attention will be given to defining, from today's perspective, what a Mackinaw Boat is - and is not.

01:20 – 02:25

Mackinaw Boats of Manitoulin Island (Displays Included)

Bill & Mary Caesar

The authors’ presentation traces the development of the fishing industry, as practiced from the early settlement on Manitoulin Island, dating from eight thousand years ago to recent times. The local adaptation of building birch bark canoes to the construction of the numerous Mackinaw- style sailing craft is explored. Primitive building techniques, and the use of natural resources contributed to the unique craft. The presentation shows how these remarkable vessels became the "water-taxis" of the North by providing social networking for the scattered bands, the delivery of settlers and their families to remote villages and farms, and the carrying of loggers and miners to their camps around the Georgian Bay.

02:30 – 03:15

Considerations in the Adaptation of Traditional Boat Designs for the 21st Century

Richard Pierce

The 20th Century spawned numerous new forms of boat construction, often superseding methods unchanged for the previous millennium. Some older building methods, skills and materials may no longer be available, or might call for maintenance and repair needs inappropriate for craft now used only occasionally rather than every day. Design issues include the variables of scale, ballasting, handling, accommodation, and not least, the expected operating weather and sea conditions and crew skill, all of which must be addressed. The presentation will touch on computer assisted design for assessing load cases, stability, trim and aesthetics. It is important to consider all these factors before embarking on a replica build.

03:15 – 03:30

Refreshments & Break

03:30 – 04:15

Title to Be Announced

"Tuffy" & Bonnie Cross

Evening Activities 6:00 – 9:00

Drinks & Dinner

Buckhorn Inn: 483 West M-55, Tawas City, MI


Presentation of Boats: Short Expositions on Boat Building Experiences

(Note: "Presentation of Boats" may be moved to the evening, after dinner, if there is an additional speaker)

1.0 The Construction of a (Nearly Completed) Mackinaw Boat (Need a Name)

Ken Bowen

The author describes his path to the construction of the Mackinaw Boat, "Need a Name"

2.0 The "Gracie L"

Laura Quackenbush

Details on the history and construction of the Mackinaw Boat, "Gracie L"

3.0 The "Munising Boat" (Need a Name)

Roger Swanson

Details on the history and construction of the Mackinaw Boat, "Need a Name"

4.0 HCS&R Sailing Program

Dave Wentworth

Details on the Youth & Adult Sailing Programs Developed by HCS&R

Biographical Information 2019 Mackinaw Boat Conference

 Laura Quackenbush

Laura Quackenbush's interests are in Great Lakes maritime history Đ studying it, living it, and writing about it. Recently retired from a career as a Museum Curator and Director in Northwest Michigan, she continues to participate in maritime-related projects. As a Mate and crew trainer on the historical Great Lakes Schooner Madeline, she has sailed for decades on all the Great Lakes. She contributes to the collaborative Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website as author and editor. Laura has degrees from Northern Michigan University (BS), Lansing Community College (Assoc.), The University of Oklahoma (MLS), and East Tennessee State University. Brandon Schroeder Brandon Schroeder is an Extension Educator serving northern Lake Huron coastal communities with Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension. His Sea Grant Extension expertise and efforts involve fisheries science, biodiversity conservation, sustainable coastal tourism, and Great Lakes education, working with coastal communities in Michigan to apply science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes issues locally. Brandon's background is in fisheries science and aquatic education, with Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. 

John Gierke 

John Gierke grew up in Fairport, Michigan, on the end of the Garden Peninsula in Delta County, Michigan. His Dad and Uncle had a commercial fishing operation until the mid 1950's. The town was primarily commercial fisherman. After graduating NMU in 1970, he worked for the F.D.I.C. for 30 plus years, but still spent a lot of time in Fairport. His grandfather moved his fishing operation from Wisconsin before 1900. His grandmother's family had been fishing on St. Martin's Island in the 1860's. Her ancestors lived in St. Ignace, and moved to Rock Island first as Light Station Keepers in the 1850's. 

Joshua Grove 

Joshua Grove was born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Mr. Grove has been fascinated by the region's history since childhood, and by age 14, began researching the Blaney Park Resort complex. This search eventually led to a curatorial position at the St. Ignace Public Library, where he started his career with the creation of an in-depth exhibit about the history of the Michigan State Ferries. Mr. Grove joined The Munising News as a Reporter in 2018. He met Maritime Historian Rodger Swanson while covering the resurrected Mackinaw Boat Mary, and they began coordinating on Mackinaw Boat research shortly thereafter. Mr. Grove currently resides in Manistique, Michigan, where he is writing a book on Orville, Michigan, a 19th century fishing village that once sat along the north shore of Lake Michigan. He is also in the process of completing an exhibit on the Mackinaw Boat and its relationship to the Straits of Mackinac for the St. Ignace Public Library. 

Roger Swanson 

Roger Swanson grew up in a farming community in Eastern North Dakota. He learned carpentry and cabinet making from his grandfather and uncle, and later applied these skills to learning wooden boat making. He obtained a Master's Degree in Sociology, with a minor in Sociology, and worked in the vocational rehabilitation field for 25 years. He moved to the Saginaw Michigan area in 1969. Friends introduced him to rowing and sailing small traditional boats. He moved to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in 1979. A fascination with Mackinaw Boats developed, and he has continued to study their history, forms and functions. He is on the Board of Directors of Hands on Deck, a youth outreach program located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which uses boat building as the activity to connect with atrisk youth. In 2017 and 2018, he supervised the construction of a replica of the Mary, a seventeen-foot small Mackinaw Row Boat, built by J. Wells Church at his location on Sugar Island, Michigan, in 1885. Mary is currently being systematically evaluated regarding handling under a range of the same conditions she was designed to function in and is proving to be an excellent experimental learning platform. 

Bill & Mary Caesar 

Mary and Bill Caesar have lived on Manitoulin Island for the last fifty years. Emigrating from England in 1969, they left London, with eight million people, to settle on Big Lake, with a population of eight. They have sailed extensively on the Baltic, the North Sea, the I Jsselmeer, and the English Channel. In more recent years, they have explored the coasts of the Aegean, the Adriatic, and parts of the Caribbean. Their favorite cruising area, by far though, is the North Channel, which separates Manitoulin from the Mainland. All their children and grandchildren share a passionate love for the area. They have taught history and physical education to highschool-aged students for 35 years - most of that on the Island. Almost half of their students were from the six First Nations living on the Manitoulin. During their teaching years, they taught sailing to senior students, both in Canada and England. They both hold the rank of coxswain in the Royal Navy, certifying them to captain any craft up to seventeen feet in length. The last twenty years of retirement has been spent publishing heritage booklets on Manitoulin Fossils, Shipwrecks of the Manitoulin, Boatbuilders of the Island and Killarney, and a centennial book on the Island's fabled swinging bridge. They are delighted to have been invited to the United States of America to take part in the 2019 Mackinaw Boat Symposium. 

Richard Pierce 

Richard Pierce formed the Franklin-Eldridge partnership at Windermere England in 1978 to design and build one-off boats for oar, sail, steam and electric power. At the forefront of the late 20th Century renaissance in wooden boat construction in the UK he has developed boatbuilding systems that do not rely on traditional skills. Primarily using modern wood engineering techniques, his objective is to create leisure craft with a traditional character, yet free of the need for onerous maintenance. The 80 yachts and small craft launched from his yard range from 8ft dinghies to 35ft steamers and racing yachts. Tuffy & Bonnie Cross Tuffy Cross was a commercial fisherman from 1952 to 1969. He worked on the Department of Natural Resources Research Vessel, Chinook, covering Lake Huron. He retired as a Boat Captain in 2002. He and his wife, Bonnie, owned a business called C2C Net Service, which fabricated research gillnets. Also, Mr. Cross has been working for 6 years on the Katherine V exhibit for the Besser Museum in Alpena. He is on the Board of Directors at the Besser Museum, and has served on the Board at the Alpena Yacht Club, where he was twice commodore. He and his wife have published two books on commercial fishing. The first book was published in 2014, titled History of Commercial Fishing on Thunder Bay 1835 to 2014. The second book, History of Commercial Fishermen, Iosco & Alcona County 1935 to 2019, was published in 2019. Ken Bowen Biography Forthcoming.


PO BOX 221
Tawas City, MI 48764-0221

989 460-2642


February 9, 2017

From: Stephanie Wentworth


It's only February but not too early to plan for Appledore sailing in Tawas Bay

The Schooner Appledore V will be sailing into Tawas Bay May 21st for a month long port visit. Heritage Coast Sailing & Rowing Inc has teamed up with BaySail, City of East Tawas, East Tawas Business Association, Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to make the boat available for educational and pleasure sails. Appledore will be at the East Tawas State Dock from May 21 until June 18.The schooners Appledore V and Appledore IV are owned and operated by BaySail, a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Bay City. Tall ship adventures aboard Appledore further BaySail's mission to foster environmental stewardship of the Saginaw Bay watershed and the Great Lakes ecosystem and to provide personal development opportunities for learners of all ages through shipboard and land-based educational experiences.  Since its founding in 1998, more than 42,000 young people have experienced a BaySail education program.

Allen Tubbs, East Tawas Business Association president, is contacting area schools within our nine county region for onboard class sessions tailored to Tawas Bay. Tubbs said those teachers planning a trip should  book as soon as possible. By its very nature, the ship has a limited capacity, he said. We have 21 days for classes and they will fill quickly. This is such a great opportunity for our kids to learn about the the blue water highway, Lake Huron.

Rebecca Buchanan, Chair, Heritage Coast Sponsorship Committee, is seeking sponsors to offset the cost for the schools. The Science under Sail program, for students of all ages, is $500 per sail. Buchanan said "We hope you will consider helping to make this opportunity for the communities"  youth a success with your sponsorship as we hope to make this an annual opportunity..

In addition to the Science Under Sail programs, there are plenty of opportunities to sail for fun. There will be Stargazer & Moonlight Sails, Tawas Bay day sails, (two hour sail from the East Tawas State Dock into Tawas Bay), as well as opportunities to plan your own group cruises.

David Wentworth of Heritage Coast Sailing & Rowing Inc.said, HCS&R is delighted to bring the Appledore to Tawas Bay. We hope that this is the first year of an annual event that will put on display Tawas Bay Đ our wonderful water resource. We also hope that it will recreate our historic link to the Great Lakes as a key to our economic history. We hope that the event will add strength to the area economy.

In addition to the Appledore, HCS&R will conduct a Symposium June 9, 2017. This will be a meeting of Great Lakes historians and traditional boat enthusiasts who will discuss the origin of the Mackinaw boat. Mackinaw boats were the pickup trucks of the Great Lakes for over a century. The Heritage 23, the boats built by HCS&R and available for community sailing and rowing, are Mackinaw boats.

On June 10,2017 HCS&R will hold its third annual Traditional Craft Sailing and Rowing races. Bring your own boat or put together a rowing crew and sign up to race one of HCS&R boats.

For more information, contact Scott Ellis (scotte@baysailbaycity.org), BaySail (989 895-5193) or the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce (989 362-8643).


December 30, 2016
From: Stephanie Wentworth




Wayne Childs, from Hope, Michigan, was the lucky winner of the Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing E. M. White designed guide canoe raffle. The winning ticket, number 446, was purchased on June 4th at the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market in Tawas City. Childs has been a regular vendor at the market for years and his vegetable booth happened to be located next to the canoe.

"I thought it was really quite pretty and thought why not get some tickets. Guess it was a good move", Childs said.

HCS&R members built the wooden, handcrafted, 18 foot 6 inch guide canoe with paddles and sold raffle tickets. Funds generated from this project will feed material for future construction and growth.

HCS&R Inc is a Michigan not-for-profit corporation and a federal 501(c)3 organization. Their purpose is to encourage boat building, sailing and rowing in traditional regional boats. The group is actively looking for interested persons to join in building, sailing and rowing programs. No experience necessary.

Construction has already begun on the 2017 raffle prize, a 17 foot Great Auk seakayak.

Photo: HCS&R member David Wentworth, right, delivered the canoe and paddles to 2016 raffle ticket winner Wayne Childs and his wife Kathy. Childs and his family were extremely pleased , and there was some, but not unanimous, talk among the family members about putting it in their living room.

May 3, 2016

From:  Stephanie Wentworth




The latest exercise trend is rowing, which offers incredible workouts in a short amount of time.  “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is not quite as “gentle” as the nursery rhyme suggests. 

Heritage Coast Sailing & Rowing has boats to row on Tawas Bay.

Rowing offers a total body workout, working 23 different muscle groups, low impact, is easy to learn and fun for all ages and levels.  Local gyms and health clubs have inside rowing machines.   HCS&R has boats in the water for public rowing use.

The boats will be in the water at the State Dock in East Tawas.  Membership is required.  The cost is $25 for the 2016 season or a day use pass of $1 (limit 3).  Membership allows participation in boat building, rowing and sailing. 

The idea of the Heritage 23 was dreamed up in 2011 when a small group founded HCS&R, Inc. David Wentworth, HCS&R chair said “We built our first Heritage 23 boat in 2011 and now have a fleet of three.   The boats are strongly built and very stable for operating in open waters.  Fun to row.  Easy too!  Incredible exercise!”

There will be a coxswain class Saturday, May 21 taught by Jodie Carpenter, water sport instructor at the Bay Front Center in Erie, Pennsylvania.  A second class on how to row will be May 28.  Classes are free to members.

HCS&R Inc is a Michigan not-for-profit corporation and a federal 501(c)3 organization.  Their purpose is to encourage boat building, sailing and rowing in traditional regional boats. 

The 2016 Rowing and Sailing program is posted on the Heritage Coast website.   www.heritage-23.org    For additional information, call 989.460.2642.



December 30, 2015




Doreen Muzzarelli was the lucky winner of the Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing “Wee Lassie II” canoe raffle.  The winning ticket was purchased during the Paul Bunyan Days celebration in September in Oscoda.

HCS&R members built a wooden, handcrafted, featherweight, 13 foot 8 inch single person canoe with paddle  and sold raffle tickets.  Funds generated from this project will feed material for future construction and growth. 

HCS&R Inc is a Michigan not-for-profit corporation and a federal 501(c)3 organization.  Their purpose is to encourage boat building, sailing and rowing in traditional regional boats.  The group is actively looking for interested persons to join in building, sailing and rowing programs.

The 2016 Sailing and Rowing program will be posted on the Heritage Coast website.  www.heritage-23.org.  For additional information, call 989.460.2642.


Photo:  HCS&R members left Ken Rogers, David Wentworth and Joe Czaika delivered the canoe and paddle to ticket winner Doreen Muzzarelli , her husband Douglas and dog Rusty.   Ms. Muzzarelli said “This was one of the best Christmas presents ever!  I cannot wait to use it with our six grandchildren.”.

March 22, 2013

The Heritage 23, a Mackinaw Boat, is being displayed in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

Heritage-23 on display at Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena Michigan

Ground level view of Heritage 23 in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

View of the Heritage from the Mezzanine of the Maritime Heritage Center.  Note the Buoy and Kayak suspended from the ceiling.

Broadside view of the H-23 as seen from the Mezzanine.  Note the stern of the replica wooden Great Lakes schooner in the lower left of the photo.  A view of the H-23 from the stern of the replica wooden Great Lakes schooner.  Note the schooner’s lines and sail in the top of the picture.  The two display boards and five information sheets are shown.

A stern view of the H-23 from the museum’s mezzanine..

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center staff members

Stephanie Gandulla, Media & Outreach Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator and C. Patrick Labadie, Historian are pictured by the H-23.  Stephanie was instrumental in displaying the boat at the Center and Pat was of vital assistance in providing Mackinaw boat information to the H-23 designer, Richard Pierce.

A poster describing the Heritage Coast Offshore Grand Prix sponsored by Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing is prominently displayed.
Additional information can be seen on The Alpena News and the Detroit News.

Oar Design Seeks Comments and Kit Design Improvements Meeting
September 24, 2013

Many rowing organizations have created a unique method of branding their oars.  They do so by designing an oar “logo” and painting the oar blades with an easily recognizable logo.  Marking oars with a unique pattern not only makes it easy to recognize a boat in a fleet but also a single oar.  Many examples of oar blade painting are displayed on Oar Spotter. Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing is experimenting with blade painting and has marked on set of oars with a “sunrise” pattern.  A pair of "sunrise" oars are shown below.   Comments and alternate designs are sought.  Send your email by clicking here.

Sunrise oar design

Leo Chartier, Dave Wentworth, Jim Kirchner and Dave Gilles watch a sequential slide show of construction photos as they work on kit improvement suggestions for the Heritage 23 kit.  The recommendations have been forwarded to kit designer Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats and boat designer Richard Pierce.  They will be reviewed and as many as possible included.  The kit improvement process for the Heritage 23 is unique.  Builders, boat designer and kit designer all worked on completing the prototype boat.  Many improvements have already been incorporated and others will still be incorporated before boat 2 is started.  Changes that would normally take several boat builds to incorporate in the boat are now in the kit.  The construction of boat two is planned for this winter.  Construction will start in late November or early December.  Volunteer builders and donations are sought.

September 10, 2012


The second Heritage 23 will be constructed this winter.  Like the first build, it will be a combined sailing and rowing version.  Volunteer builders are sought to work on the boat this winter.  Individuals of varying skill levels are welcome. Construction is to start in November.  We hope to have two building groups each day.  One during the day and an evening group for those who are interested, but are committed during the day. 

Second Mackinaw boat starts in the fall of 2012

Fund raising has begun and we are off to a good start.  The total material cost of the boat is approximately $8,500 including sails and oars.  Funds for our various programs are not mixed.  Boat funds are for boats.  Race funds are for races. 

The new boat will join the first boat serving the community by providing low cost access to our beautiful bay.  Again, rowers and sailors are welcome, regardless of skill level.

To contribute to the boat fund, please send a donation to:
        Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing
        Boat Fund
        1929 Douglas Drive
        Tawas City, Michigan 48763

Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing is a Michigan not-for-profit corporation.  We are in the process of completing our application for Federal non-profit status.  We hope to submit the forms within a month.  It is difficult to predict the time required for approval, but we hope that we will hear this year.


This fall will be a busy time for us.  In preparation for next year, we working on a detailed plan and budget for next year.  WCS&R was formed in February of 2012.  We  designed and built a the Heritage 23, based on the historic Mackinaw boats,  based on modern plywood and resin construction, and based on pre-cut (kit) methods.  We organized and ran the Heritage Coast Offshore Grand Prix which brought high-tech, high-powered and high-speed racing boats to Tawas Bay for a wonderful family oriented event.  We maintained good financial control using old fashioned shoe-box methods. 

Although effective, these financial controls are being replaced with an accounting and budgeting system.  We are very fortunate to have Joe Reitz assisting us in this area. 

In our planning process, we will be fine tuning and reviewing the :

    ✓        Heritage Coast Offshore Grand Prix
    ✓        Membership structure for boat use
    ✓        Boat building cost
    ✓        Sailing and rowing instructors/coaches
    ✓        Methods to expand the program



Watch for an article on the Heritage 23 in Wooden Boat Magazine’s December 5, 2012 issue.  George Jepson a writer from Wooden Boat was here on a very windy, blustery day in August.  The Heritage 23 performed well and demonstrated her flexibility and strengths.  Our thanks to the crew of Richard Pierce, Dave Gilles and Chuck Somers whose skill made the sail look easy.  The rowing crew added John Wilson and Dave Wentworth.  The lee of the State Dock makes a nice rowing area.

Return to Top of Page

For questions or comments on the Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing Inc web site, please contact the webmaster.

Find us on Facebook