Since the same questions come up over and over again let’s see if we can answer most of them here! Always feel free to contact me directly.
Cost: Two hours, $200, up to 6 people (plus the Captain). Three hours for $300, Four hours for $350. This is a private trip for only your party, and times are very flexible. Morning, afternoon, sunset – we customize the adventure to you.
How do I get there? Click here for directions to Pepin. We’re about 90 minutes from the MSP airport or LaCrosse, an hour from Rochester or Eau Claire. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to make sure, as sometimes traffic can slow you down. By traffic I’m talking about the occasional tractor, or tourists driving 40 in a 55 to gawk at the scenery.
The Boat: Her name is Rudder Chaos, and she’s a 30′ Chrysler TMI (Texas Marine) sloop. She has roller furling (sailor talk for easy to handle), a full head (bathroom), refrigeration, sleeps 6 and has a nice cockpit that comfortably seats 7, even 9 for friendly folks. If your only sailing experience was at Y Camp as a kid, know that this is completely different! No “wet butt” sailing on RC.
Sailing Experience Needed: NONE! She’s rigged so I can sail her myself, but I always appreciate any help provided. I love to sail and prefer to sail with others. Whether you have sailed forever or have never been, you’re welcome aboard. I enjoy sharing my boat with old salts and beginners alike. You’ll have the opportunity to participate as much as you like or just sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s great fun for me to hand the helm (the wheel) over to other people so they can have the experience of driving the boat. She has a wheel instead of a tiller, so it’s easy for everyone to give it a go.
Wisconsin law: Children under the age of 13 must wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) when onboard any vessel.
While you’re welcome to wear a life jacket (we have plenty aboard), the two people who started out with one on both quickly figured out that she’s very comfortable and safe and took them back off again. Know that my highest priority is your safety and comfort so feel free to bring your own jacket or wear one of mine. If you are bringing a kid and they are under 13 years old they must wear one. I do have two child sized jackets aboard, but usually they are happier if they bring their own.
What to Wear: Layers, and comfortable shoes. Know that it can be cooler on the water, so a jacket is a always smart. And when I say jacket, I’m talking more about keeping the wind out than anything else, so think windbreaker, with maybe fleece underneath if it’s spring or fall. Know that high heels are just a poor choice, but doable if you must. Flip flops are fine, but if you want to walk around the boat or help from the dock you will be taking them off. Your call, just want you to consider your choices. There are blankets and extra jackets aboard, but most people like to have their own stuff. A hat and sunglasses are often helpful.
Bathroom: She has a full head (bathroom) and so no worries there! Working a marine toilet is a bit different than one on land, but it’s completely private and nothing too odd about it. How to say this is just to say it – #1 is absolutely ok, #2 would be better done ashore if at all possible.
Will we tip over? No. Many people went sailing at Y camp as a kid, on a small sailboat that was very tippy. Rudder Chaos is a 30 foot boat with a 10 foot beam (her width) and a deep cockpit, which means is she’s very stable and she will stay upright. Someone asked “How do you keep the water out” and all I can say is the goal is to keep the people in and the water out. She’s a big boat. She weighs 8600 lbs, and 3600 of that is under the boat in the keel. The keel is the counterbalance that keeps the boat upright, among other things. Sailors often say “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down“, and if you know what a Weeble is, you’ll know what that means.
Sunshine: We are on the water which always accentuates the sun effects. Yes, there is some shade in the cockpit, and you can always go below to get out of the sun. Bring sunscreen and a hat and sunglasses!
Miscellaneous to bring: None of this is required, but may make your day more enjoyable. I have most of this aboard as well, should you forget. Sunscreen, a hat, hat clip (keeps hat attached to your shirt so it’s harder to lose overboard), sunglasses, camera, binoculars (for birders) and if you have sailing gloves bring those too.
Drinks: Being on the water will make you dehydrated. While I always have water aboard, it’s up to you to provide your own beverages. Yes, you may drink alcohol, although of course in moderation and since most people come from outside of Pepin by car, know that I have firm opinions about drinking and driving. 🙂
Snacks: Most people bring a snack to share with others, but of course there’s no requirement – this isn’t a pot luck! – but just want you to know what my experience has been.. Know that sailboats heel – they move through the water at an angle, it’s a good thing! – and so snacks that require silverware, or easily spill, may be a poor choice. Bring stuff in containers with covers, and we do have refrigeration but often people bring things in coolers. We can also provide catering if you wish.
Cell phones: While coverage is often actually better on the lake than in town, I do ask that everyone shut off the ringtone. If you are going to be using your cellphone on the boat please know that you may be asked to step below so the rest of us can be comfortable. Feel free to say “I’ll be out of touch for the afternoon” and know that I won’t tell on you.
Seasickness: While some people might be prone to this, it’s very rare on the lake here. Many times the nausea someone feels is because that is also the first sign of dehydration, so keeping yourself hydrated is very important. We always have lots of water on the boat, but of course bringing your own is always a good idea. Outside of that there are several things you can do to minimize the effects, Bonine (the non-drowsy version of Dramamine) seems to work the best, although there are non-chemical things that can be done as well. If you’ve had issues in the past, or are worried about it, contact me and let’s talk it through.
Swimming: Upon occasion we find that the wind is hiding from us, and this question often comes up on days like that. Yes, we can swim off the boat, and we have a nice swim ladder to climb back aboard. This is rare, but of course you can wear a swimsuit or bring it just in case the wind dies and you want to take a dip.
Licensing: In order to captain a boat for pay in the United States you must have an OUPV license from the US Coast Guard. I obtained the license in 2014, including the towing and sailing certificates.